Manchester City headed into the weekend with a perfect record. Pep Guardiola’s start to the Premier League had mirrored his efforts at both Barcelona in 09/10 and Bayern Munich last season. He had picked up a total of 18 points from a possible 18, with six league games unbeaten and a total of ten in all competitions.
Tottenham stepped up on Sunday and spoiled that record, announcing their title credentials with a 2-0 win over league leaders Manchester City.
This was City’s biggest test since their derby win at Old Trafford, with the rest of their league opponents coming from the bottom half of the table. It’s safe to say it is a test they failed miserably.
Aleksandar Kolorov’s own goal and Dele Alli’s strike before half time saw the curtains come down around Pep’s formidable season start. City’s fate could have been even worse if it wasn’t for Claudio Bravo’s penalty save.
It is not the first time Mauricio Pochettino has got one over on the managerial mastermind, though. The Argentine began his managerial career with Espanyol in 2009 and his first win came soon after, against Guardiola’s Barcelona in the Camp Nou.
Pochettino’s side were bottom of the table, and Pep’s were top. At the time, Barcelona went into the weekend 10 points clear and Guardiola was yet to be beaten at home. The game ended up being his first ever defeat there, as Poch masterminded a 2-1 win.
It may have been the only time in nine Spanish meetings that he tasted victory against Guardiola, but he certainly served it to him in the Premier League.
As Spurs now retain their status as the only unbeaten side in the league, tucking in behind The Blues on 17 points to their 18. It’s safe to say Guardiola can feel the breath on his neck.
18 points after 7 league comes in at fourth on the rankings of Pep’s start to a season, behind Bayern Munich 15/16 (21), Barcelona 09/10 (19), and Bayern 13/14 (19).
City fans need not worry just yet, in Barcelona’s 2010/11 season, they had notched up 16 points at this stage and still went on to win both the league and the Champions League, alongside the Spanish Super Cup and finishing runners-up in the Copa del Ray. Sir Alex Ferguson described this squad as the best he has ever faced in his career.
Although City have not matched Pep’s last season at Bayern Munich – where they went unbeaten until December 5th – his Barcelona side of 09/10 were just one point ahead with 19. It seems they have little to worry about just yet.
Following the international break, City face Everton in the league and Barcelona in the Champions League. A victory against The Toffees will allow Guardiola to realign his record with his previous league-winning efforts.
For now, despite all of the well-wishing, we imagine Pep will be happy not to see Pochettino’s face for a little while.