MANCHESTER, England: Ilkay Gundogan scored two goals for the second straight week as English Premier League leader Manchester City powered to a record-extending 16th successive win in all competitions, 3-0 over Tottenham on Saturday.
The in-form Germany midfielder, fresh from being named as the best league player for January, took his goal tally for the season to 13 by adding to Rodris 23rd-minute penalty at Etihad Stadium.
Gundogan was also responsible for winning the spot kick as he delivered another clinic in arriving late into the penalty area from central midfield, but his match ended prematurely as he went off with a suspected groin injury soon after his superbly taken second goal, which came from a pass from goalkeeper Ederson Moraes in the 66th minute.
The win extended Citys lead to seven points over second-placed Leicester and Pep Guardiola’s men have a game in hand. Their overall unbeaten run in all competitions since losing to Spurs in November stretched to 23 games and their 16-match winning run is a record for an English top-flight side.
City showed intent early with Gabriel Jesus having two shots blocked in quick succession, but Tottenham did not intend to sit deep as Tanguy Ndombele made a driving run into the host’s box.
Spurs went close to taking the lead when Harry Kane hit the post from a free kick in the 14th minute. The England captain had worryingly clutched his ankle after being fouled by Aymeric Laporte but he was soon on his feet.
City made the most of that reprieve to hit the front after Gundogan was brought down in the area by Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg. Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho called it a modern penalty but there was clear contact.
A week ago, Gundogan had been the designated penalty-taker but, after missing that spot kick in the 4-1 win at Liverpool, he deferred to Rodri.
It looked at one point as though goalkeeper Ederson was interested in taking it as the Brazilian wandered up to the halfway line but, despite talk that he may one day get the job, his turn will have to wait. Hugo Lloris almost got a hand to the attempt by Rodri, but the low shot found the corner.
The game became niggly for a period and Jesus got involved in a running battle with Erik Lamela. Mourinho reacted furiously when the Brazil striker won what he considered a cheap free kick at the expense of the Argentine.
Yet City continued to pose the bigger danger and went close again when Gundogan had a shot blocked after a good run by Raheem Sterling and Jesus hit the cross bar with his follow-up attempt.
Gundogan, who netted twice in the second half against Liverpool, got his reward again soon after halftime. He put City in firm control with his first on 50 minutes after another good run by Sterling, who cut into the box from the right. Gundogan took over to finish tidily with an instinctive strike inside the near post, although Lloris was beaten too easily.
Gundogans best was still to come with his second just after the hour. Ederson picked him out in space with a long ball over the top and Gundogans control was so assured that Tottenham defender Davinson Sanchez was completely wrongfooted and collapsed in a heap.
With time and space to shoot, Gundogan slipped the ball past Lloris.
Soon afterward, Gundogan appeared to tweak a groin muscle and was promptly removed.
Mourinho turned to Dele Alli, for his first Premier League appearance in two months, and Gareth Bale, after a week of uncertainty and speculation over his fitness, but the outcome was not in doubt.
Bale did show a flash of what he can do, however, with a jinking run into the box but Ederson parried his strike.
Sergio Aguero was unexpectedly among Citys substitutes after recovering from COVID-19 but the clubs record scorer was not required on this occasion.
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