LONDON — Three points from Wembley on Manchester City’s 3-1 win over Tottenham in the Premier League:
1. City end skid, edge closer to the title
Manchester City moved to within three points of clinching the Premier League title by ending their three-game losing streak with a 3-1 victory against Tottenham at Wembley.
Pep Guardiola’s team, who suffered three defeats in the space of six days against Liverpool (twice) and Manchester United, could be crowned champions as early as Sunday if Man United lose to West Bromwich Albion at Old Trafford.
But even if United win their next two games against West Brom and on Wednesday at Bournemouth, City can wrap up the title at home to Swansea City next Sunday to secure their third league championship in six years and Guardiola’s first in English football.
This win at Spurs was a testament to City’s resilience and quality, with the trip to Wembley regarded as one that could have seen them lose a fourth successive game.
From the moment Leroy Sane’s shot struck the post after just three minutes, it was clear that City were up for the challenge of taking on a Spurs team that were unbeaten in the league since losing at the Etihad in mid-December.
Guardiola’s men opened the scoring on 22 minutes when Gabriel Jesus scored following a long pass from Vincent Kompany. Ilkay Gundogan doubled their lead from the penalty spot three minutes later.
Christian Eriksen’s goal on 42 minutes halved the deficit and gave Spurs hope of a second-half fightback, but Raheem Sterling confirmed City’s victory by netting from close range on 72 minutes.
It was a comfortable win for City, and one which could have been against 10 men had referee Jon Moss dismissed either Hugo Lloris or Ben Davies for bad first-half challenges.
2. De Bruyne feeling the strain of heavy workload
This was Kevin De Bruyne’s 48th game of the season for Manchester City and the heavy workload is beginning to show.
Two months ago, the former Chelsea midfielder would have been the only contender for the Premier League Footballer of the Year award, but he now looks set to be eclipsed by Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah following the Egyptian’s remarkable run of form for Liverpool.
De Bruyne has not scored since the end of January — a run which now stands at 13 games following this clash with Spurs — and his dip in form has coincided with City crashing out of the Champions League and FA Cup, as well as the run of results that had seen them lose 5 of 10 in all competitions prior to this game.
The flipside for City and De Bruyne is that he was so impressive during the first half of the campaign that the contribution he made then is why they are now so close to winning the title.
But it is undeniable that the 26-year-old is feeling the heat after a long season and the losers could be Belgium in the World Cup.
If De Bruyne travels to Russia without the chance to recharge his batteries, Roberto Martinez’s team will be weaker for it.
3. Questions increasing regarding Spurs’ Lloris
Lloris has been one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League during his time at Tottenham, but the France No. 1 is becoming a problem for Mauricio Pochettino.
For the third successive game, Lloris was at fault for at least one goal as Spurs lost to Manchester City.
He made a mistake during the 3-1 win against Chelsea for Alvaro Morata’s goal and could also have done better for Mame Diouf’s goal at Stoke last weekend.
Against City, poor judgement by Lloris saw him concede a penalty in the 24th minute when he raced out of the penalty area before fouling Sterling.
The foul was committed outside the box, so the decision to award a penalty was incorrect, but Lloris was ultimately fortunate not to be sent off by referee Moss for the foul.
Throughout the game, he struggled to convince and City’s third goal was also Lloris’ fault, with the keeper failing to hold on to Gabriel Jesus’ shot before Sterling converted the rebound.
Pochettino’s cup rotation policy is likely to ensure that Michel Vorm lines up against Manchester United in next Saturday’s FA Cup semifinal at Wembley.
But the Spurs manager would be justified in considering dropping Lloris for Tuesday’s league game at Brighton on the back of his latest unconvincing performance.
Mark Ogden is a senior football writer for ESPN FC. Follow him @MarkOgden_