Manchester City’s march toward the Premier League title continued apace after a 5-1 win against Tottenham at White Hart Lane. The result moves City above leaders Arsenal in what could prove to be a significant moment in the title race.
Manuel Pellegrini’s side have trailed the Gunners for the majority of the season, but after Southampton managed to hold Arsene Wenger's men to a 2-2 draw on Tuesday night, City now have a one-point advantage.
Chelsea, who City face at home on Monday evening, also dropped points during this round of matches, drawing 0-0 at home with West Ham, and now find themselves three points adrift of the Blues in third.
It would have been a perfect midweek for City but for an injury to Sergio Aguero, who limped out with a hamstring problem just before half-time. He will be assessed tomorrow, and Manuel Pellegrini will be hoping his star striker isn’t out for another sustained period.
Aguero had only recently come back from a month out with a calf problem, scoring seven goals in the five games since his return. It’s a cruel blow to a player in the form of his life.
He was outstanding before going off, his pace and skill too much for Spurs to handle. He hit the bar, had a header miraculously saved by Hugo Lloris and scored City’s opener—his 50th Premier League goal in just 81 games. Only four players have reached that landmark quicker than the Argentine, and Tottenham had no answer to his brilliance before his latest setback cut his night short.
50 - Only four players (Cole, Shearer, van Nistelrooy & Torres) have reached 50 PL goals faster than Sergio Aguero (81 games). Deadly.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 29, 2014
Fortunately for City, Aguero isn’t the only player in their squad in outstanding form. Fernandinho continues to excel in the heart of the midfield, and the relationship developing between Jesus Navas and the imperious Pablo Zabaleta means City have the strongest right-hand side in English football.
However, it was David Silva who stole the show in this victory, and he remains their most important creative player. Silva glides beautifully around the pitch, linking City’s play with neat, intelligent passes, and he will be crucial to their chances of success this season.
And Stevan Jovetic, a player who has suffered horribly with injuries since his summer move from Fiorentina, scored an excellent goal and impressed with his intelligence and awareness.
This was the 14th time City have scored four goals or more in what is turning out to be a fantastic first season under Pellegrini.
They are on a 20-game unbeaten run in all competitions—winning 18 of them—including their last eight in the league. It’s form which has seen them become many people’s favourites for the title, but Pellegrini isn’t getting carried away (via Official Club Site).
I think it’s too soon to be the favourites – there’s a lot of matches to play.
If we continue to play the way we are, we will have chances to win but it’s early.
We played some fantastic football in the first-half – we scored just one goal but we had three or four more clear chances to score.
He's right, of course, to remain calm, but in this kind of form, it will take a monumental effort from their closest challengers to stop them. They finally find themselves top, and very few could argue they don't deserve it.
Rob Pollard is Bleacher Report's lead Manchester City correspondent and will be following the club from a Manchester base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter here @TypicalCity.