Pep Guardiola’s side remain five points behind the leaders Arsenalbut have now played a game more after a lackluster display in which they failed to meaningfully test Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.
Kane’s 15th-minute strike saw him surpass club legend Jimmy Greaves on 267 goals for Spurs, who now sit just one point outside the Champions League places in fifth place. Then Cristian Romero was sent off four minutes from time for a second yellow card offense following two poor challenges, the first on Erling Haaland inside the opening half an hour and the second on Jack Grealish.
1. Man City missed a golden opportunity
Arsenal opened the door for Manchester City, but they couldn’t walk through it. The Gunners’ 1-0 defeat at Everton a day earlier meant City could turn up the heat in the title race on Sunday, but despite dominating possession against Tottenham, they created very little of note in a sterile performance.
Arsenal produced arguably their poorest display of the campaign yet at Goodison Park, and they will have watched nervously as City attempted to close the gap. However, even though City are proven over course and distance after four titles in five years, they looked curiously flat here.
There is still plenty of time in the season, but Guardiola voiced concerns after last month’s reverse fixture — in which Man City were 2-0 down only to come back and win 4-2 — over his team’s hunger for the fight, and questions will resurface after they were outfought by a Spurs side trying to revive their own Champions League ambitions.
Curiously, perhaps there is something about this ground for the visitors: City have played five times at this expensive new stadium, losing all five without scoring a goal.
2. Kane breaks Tottenham record
It’s official: Kane is the most prolific goalscorer in Tottenham’s history. Collecting Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg‘s 15th-minute pass inside the box, the 29-year-old showed his trademark composure to dispatch a low finish beyond Ederson for his 267th Spurs goal, taking him clear of Jimmy Greaves. In doing so, Kane became only the third player to score 200 goals in the Premier League era after Alan Shearer (260) and Wayne Rooney (208). Kane is also the fastest to reach that milestone, having required 304 games compared to Shearer (306) and Rooney (462).
In an on-pitch interview afterwards, Kane described it as a “magical feeling” reflecting on joining the club as an 11-year-old, citing the “hard work and dedication” to get to this point. The England captain continues to rack up personal achievements, but the nagging issue in Kane’s career is that he has no silverware to show for his individual talent. A lack of trophies was Kane’s motivation in trying to force a move to City in 2021 — a move that Spurs blocked despite the player’s desire to leave, leading Pep Guardiola to switch his sights to Erling Haaland.
Kane’s options have narrowed should he still want to leave — Manchester United are regularly mooted as a possible destination — but regardless, Tottenham must find a way to win major honors with a regularity befitting one of the game’s finest forwards.
3. Guardiola’s tinkering confuses the issue
The City boss is one of the greatest managers in history, yet one of the few consistent criticisms he faces is a tendency to overcomplicate his team’s approach to big matches. This felt like another game to add to the list.
Leaving out Kevin De Bruyne — City’s best passer of the ball, and one of the finest the Premier League has ever seen — was a decision that palpably backfired, but more than that, Guardiola’s 4-2-4 setup did not have the desired effect. It was presumably designed to pin back Tottenham’s wing-backs, except that it heightens the importance of avoiding wastefulness in possession playing out from the back. Yet that was precisely how City lost this game: Rico Lewis lost the ball near his own box and Tottenham pounced.
De Bruyne was introduced just before the hour mark, but City only marginally improved and the suspicion remains that despite his ferocious start to life in England, City are yet to find a way to consistently involve Haaland. He managed just 27 touches — the fewest of any outfield player to play 90 minutes — failing to register a shot of any description, a first since he arrived at Manchester City last summer.
By contrast, Spurs were without manager Antonio Conte as he continues his recovery from gall bladder surgery and his assistant, Cristian Stellini, stepped up admirably in his absence. Constantly cajoling his players from the touchline, Stellini helped Spurs battle to a hard-fought win, extending his own individual record having helped Tottenham find a way past Marseille in November to qualify for the Champions League knockout stages.
Best and worst performers
Harry Kane, FW, Tottenham: Barely had a kick before having a chance to open the scoring, and he took it in clinical fashion to give Spurs something to defend.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, MF, Tottenham: Epitomised Tottenham’s battling qualities with another all-action midfield display, pressing superbly to create the only goal and recovering the ball eight times (more than any other Spurs player).
Eric DierDF, Manchester City: Defended resolutely and helped Spurs maintain their defensive shape while City dominated the ball.
Rico Lewis, DF, Manchester City: It’s reasonable to be sympathetic of a talented 18-year-old asked to perform an unusual role, but Lewis lost the ball for Tottenham’s opening goal that put his team on the back foot.
Cristian Romero, MF, Tottenham: Sent off for two reckless challenges, particularly the first when scything down Haaland 70 yards from his own goal.
Jack Grealish, MF, Manchester City: Saw plenty of the ball, but was unable to create much as City struggled to penetrate in the final third.
Highlights and notable moments
Here is Harry Kane’s historic moment on Sunday as he became Tottenham’s all-time leading scorer. Oh, and it was the goal to beat Manchester City, too.
HARRY KANE WITH @PREMIERLEAGUE GOAL 200!
— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) February 5, 2023
However, the home side had to endure some nervous moments after defender Cristian Romero picked up a second yellow card in the final minutes…
Cristian Romero sees RED! ?
— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) February 5, 2023
After the match: What the players/managers said
“It’s a day I’ll never forget. It’s hard to put into words; just a magical moment. I was desperate to do it with a win as well, and in front of the home fans. There’s been so much talk about it in the last two weeks and I wanted to get it done as soon as possible. To do it here against one of the best teams in the world, it’s a special feeling.” — Harry Kane, Tottenham forward, on scoring his record-breaking goal
“We started really well, as usually happens against Tottenham home and away, but after we made a mistake, they punished us. We dropped three points.” — Pep Guardiola, Manchester City manager, speaking to Sky Sports
“The key was the capacity to suffer when City has the ball. We know when we play against this team we have to suffer because they have the ball a lot but we moved well in the defensive situation and defended the goal in a brilliant way. We knew very well that in that game (at City) we lost our key – our capacity to suffer. We lost that last time, we spoke about that situation and that we had to be angry, motivated. To reach our target, we have to suffer more, to fight. When you are winning against City, they can play with great pace. You have to be strong and we controlled the space very well.” — Cristian Stellini, Tottenham assistant manager
Key stats (provided by ESPN Stats & Information research)
– Harry Kane becomes Tottenham’s all time leading goal scorer with his 267th goal for the club (all competitions).
– Kane also becomes the third player in PL history to score 200 PL goals after Alan Shearer (260) and Wayne Rooney (208).
– Tottenham will have won all 5 meetings against Manchester at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium (all comps) without conceding. It is already Pep Guardiola’s longest losing streak against an opponent in his managerial career.
– Man City have lost three straight road games in all competitions for the first time in over six years. (It last happened in Oct. 2016 and was also a three-game streak.)
– This was the first time since joining Manchester City that Erling Haaland failed to attempt a shot in a game. The last time he failed to attempt a shot in a club game that he started was Borussia Dortmund‘s 5-0 win over MSV Duisburg (Sept. 14, 2020) in the DFB-Pokal.
Tottenham: Antonio Conte’s side are idle until they visit Leicester City in a potentially tricky Premier League clash on Feb. 11. From there, they travel to Milan for the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 clash (Feb. 14).
Manchester City: Guardiola & Co. have a week to prepare for the visit of Aston Villa (Feb. 12) in the league before a potential title decider as they visit Arsenal on Feb. 15.