Mauricio Pochettino flooded the centre with players to stop Manchester City from being able to build-up through the middle, with Christian Eriksen shadowing Ilkay Gundogan, but Pep Guardiola had his players attack through the wings. Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva kept very wide, hugging the touchlines, while David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne kept near them, often on the outside of Spurs’ midfield, and Sergio Aguero would move across to help work the ball forward.
For City’s first goal, they have the ball with their centre-backs, De Bruyne pulls wide and the ball is passed to him.
Dele Alli moves across to close him down but De Bruyne has the time to pick out what is a pretty poor pass inside to Aguero. Victor Wanyama has done little to move across and screen Aguero but he nearly ends up picking up the ball just because the pass is inaccurate, with Aguero having to drop off to pick it up. The Argentinian holds off Wanyama though and completes the one-two with De Bruyne.
De Bruyne receives the ball back again and drives forward despite being surrounded by three Spurs players. He’s already lost Alli, but none of Eriksen, Wanyama or Moussa Sissoko put a foot in despite being close to him, allowing him to easily spread the ball wide to Sterling in space.
Sterling picks up the ball in what doesn’t appear to a threatening position. Kieran Trippier is in a good position to defend and Sissoko is on hand if he cuts inside. The movement of Silva wins his teammate some space though: the Spaniard makes a run down Trippier’s blindside and Sissoko follows him rather than trusting Toby Alderweireld to pick him up, opening up space for Sterling to cut inside and finish.
For their second, City again have the ball with their centre-backs. Aymeric Laporte sends the ball out to Benjamin Mendy on the flank and Sissoko moves out to close him down, cutting off the forward pass into Aguero.
The pass inside to Silva is open though, so Mendy uses that option. Wanyama again doesn’t cover himself in glory, failing to get goalside of Silva. The rebounded pass into Aguero is again poor, but he manages to control it and drives forward with Wanyama unable to get close.
De Bruyne makes a run down Jan Vertonghen’s blindside to keep the attention of Danny Rose, opening up the pass for Aguero into Bernardo Silva in space.
Rose actually does really well defensively. He’s been forced into tracking De Bruyne but is clearly wary of the pass into Silva and as soon as Aguero takes it Rose turns, barely having to shift his weight to dash across. This excellent footwork means he gets across in good time and doesn’t have to dive in, in a good position to block a shot, but he gets unlucky when Silva’s is deflected off his calf, wrong-footing Hugo Lloris at the near post.
After City’s third went in – another combination out wide, this time between Silva and De Bruyne – Pochettino gave Tottenham’s midfield more defensive width by changing to a 4-4-2, although this meant giving Gundogan more space and thus City more control.