Tottenham 0 Man City 2: Haaland double puts Pep’s men on verge of fourth title as Arsenal fans rue Son Heung-min miss

THESE are likely to be a historic couple of weeks for Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City machine. 

But before they could complete an unprecedented fourth successive English league title and before they could seal an unprecedented ‘double Double’, City had to score an unprecedented Premier League goal at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. 

Erling Haaland's double means Manchester City are one win from the Premier League title

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Erling Haaland’s double means Manchester City are one win from the Premier League titleCredit: Rex
Haaland tapped in to break the deadlock in North London

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Haaland tapped in to break the deadlock in North LondonCredit: PA

After 405 minutes of trying, it was Erling Haaland who became the first City player to strike in the league here.

Then the Norwegian added a late second from the spot, leaving City needing only to beat West Ham at home on Sunday to retain their crown. 

This was the least hostile environment any title chaser could ever have faced so late in the season outside of the pandemic.

Spurs supporters were clearly subdued by the knowledge that any positive result for their side could hand the title to Arsenal.  

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That led to a sterile atmosphere – even though a win would have kept alive Tottenham’s chances of qualifying for the Champions League.  

Instead, Aston Villa are confirmed as being back in the European elite for the first time in 41 years.

It was an eighth straight league win for City and it is barely imaginable that David Moyes could sign off his Hammers reign by denying them their fourth title, and a sixth in seven years, before the FA Cup final against Manchester United the following weekend. 

City were not at their formidable best and there was no doubting the integrity of Tottenham’s players, if not the loyalty of their supporters.

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Remarkably, City had lost on all four of their previous league trips to Daniel Levy’s impressive new stadium – but those had all been on occasions when Spurs fans were more worried about their own team’s fortunes rather than those of Arsenal.

The idea that Spurs – or any other team – could choose whether or not they were going to beat City was always laughable, in fairness. 

But Spurs did not lack bite – as both Kevin De Bruyne and Ederson discovered when the victims of second-half challenges which saw them substituted due to injury. 

It was the weirdest of the weeks in North London – Arsenal fans singing ‘When The Spurs Go Marching In’ on the train back from Old Trafford on Sunday and plenty of Tottenham fans hoping their team would lose. 

Did that sentiment represent tinpot bitterness or genuine fandom?  

Either way, Postecoglou and his players were having none of it, especially with Champions League qualification still up for grabs,

The Aussie opted to start without a centre-forward, Pape Matar Sarr operating as a deep-lying false nine, but there was nothing defensive about Tottenham’s start. 

Instinct took over when Rodrigo Bentacur let rip early on and every Spurs fan willed the shot in, only for Ederson to tip over. 

Away from any goalmouth action, the atmosphere was eerily quiet, yet City were struggling to gain their usual stranglehold. 

A Phil Foden volley was brilliantly saved at point-blank range by Guglielmo Vicario but there was little else from the champions. 

Brennan Johnson cut in from the right and had a shot beaten away by Ederson at his near post. 

At times, there were Covid-levels of quiet and, if anything, the lack of hostility seemed to hinder City. The stadium felt flat and City looked flat. 

They are not used to playing with the volume turned down – it barely matters whether or not the noise is supportive. 

De Bruyne was lacking accuracy, Foden lacked devilment, Haaland lacked menace.

Just before half-time, Bernardo Silva and Haaland had shots blocked but an offside flag had been raised anyway. 

Guardiola needed to lift his men at the interval because the situation was becoming perilous. 

Within a minute of the restart, a De Bruyne snapshot had Vicario saving at full stretch. 

But then Son was thwarted by Ederson from a smart low Johnson centre. 

Yet on 51 minutes, the historic moment arrived, thanks to the classic De Bruyne-Haaland axis. 

Bernardo slipped a pass to the Belgian in the right channel and he centred low for City’s leading scorer to tap in a classic poacher’s finish. 

There was authentic rapture from the away end but little misery from the home support. 

Soon after, De Bruyne was hurt while falling awkwardly after a shove from Sarr. 

Then Romero caught Ederson late as he attacked a low centre, causing apoplexy among Guardiola, his players and coaching staff – but VAR cleared the Argentinian of any red-card offence.  

De Bruyne and Ederson were both swiftly removed by Guardiola – the keeper letting his frustrations boil over with a fit of rage as he returned to the dugout. 

His understudy Stefan Ortega was soon thwarting Dejan Kulusevski but De Bruyne’s replacement Jeremy Doku forced another excellent stop from Vicario. 

Spurs continued to pour forward, whether their supporters wanted them to or not.

Son Heung-min was sent clean through but Ortega saved brilliantly with his feet, Guardiola collapsing in his technical area at the tension of it all.

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Then in the 90th minute, Haaland sealed the deal by thumping home a penalty after Pedro Porro had tripped Doku. 

City are almost there now – but history has rarely been achieved amid such a hush. 

A few Tottenham fans carefully selected their sky-blue shirts

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A few Tottenham fans carefully selected their sky-blue shirtsCredit: Sky Sports
Rodrigo Bentancur stung the palm of Ederson with a rasping drive

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Rodrigo Bentancur stung the palm of Ederson with a rasping driveCredit: Getty
Guglielmo Vicario denied Phil Foden with a smart stop

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Guglielmo Vicario denied Phil Foden with a smart stopCredit: Alamy
Radu Dragusin made a superb headed goal-line clearance just before half-time

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Radu Dragusin made a superb headed goal-line clearance just before half-timeCredit: AFP
Rodrigo Bentancur was furious after being subbed off on 55 minutes

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Rodrigo Bentancur was furious after being subbed off on 55 minutesCredit: Sky Sports
Haaland was all smiles after his easy goal

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Haaland was all smiles after his easy goalCredit: PA
Ederson was clattered by Cristian Romero

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Ederson was clattered by Cristian RomeroCredit: Getty
The Brazilian goalkeeper let out his anger on the touchline

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The Brazilian goalkeeper let out his anger on the touchlineCredit: Sky Sports
Pep Guardiola fell to the floor as Son raced through

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Pep Guardiola fell to the floor as Son raced throughCredit: Rex
Haaland smashed his penalty into the top corner

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Haaland smashed his penalty into the top cornerCredit: Reuters

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