Riyad Mahrez steps up to Raheem Sterling’s new level

Spurs 0 Manchester City 1 

Mahrez 6

After 10 games, three teams are unbeaten.

Man City and Chelsea and Liverpool.

The only goal of the game was an early one that came from a mistake by Kieran Trippier, who tried to head the ball back to Hugo Lloris.

Raheem Sterling showed wonderful maturity and coolness by wriggling towards the goal and playing the ball sweetly into the long diagonal run of Riyad Mahrez to the near post. A sustained sprint by a hungry player who raced 50 yards to get in front of Aguero and score from 8 yards.

A lovely assist from Raheem, England’s two-goal hero in Seville.

Although I recently noted that the signing of Shakiri was a very astute signing by Jurgen Klopp, I hadn’t realised until last night that Mahrez is an equally astute acquisition by Pep  Guardiola. He’s one of the few players in this league who can improve this team of champions.

Mahrez is 27 and in his prime. Having made history by winning the title with Leicester in 2016, he could play a a vital role in helping Citeh to retain the title in 2019. He gives them more power, more invention, greater flexibility. If he improves as much as Sterling’s done, he’ll become a world class goalscorer.

Raheem used to be patchy, flaky and infuriating. But he’s now showing a mature confidence. He’s always been gutsy and fast but suddenly he’s become the real deal, a reliable warrior who produces in crucial games

But back to the match. When Laporte comprehensively mis-headed to Lamela in centrefield, the Argentine released Kane into the box but he took a bad touch and keeper Ederson pounced on the 50-50 ball

Man City had to demonstrate defensive resilience last night, especially after Dele Alli and Eriksen came on.

Dele looked sharp but when he played a beautifully weighted pass into the run of Erik Lamela, the ball bobbled slightly on the NFL pitch and hit his left shin and the shot flew just over the bar.

Last night I was disgusted to see a Premier League game being played on a  surface scarred by an alien sport from 3000 miles away. Yes, THFC should have built their stadium on time, as Arsenal did.

 On reflection, the match surprised me. I thought there would be more goals. After the Mahrez goal, I reckoned City would score a couple more, although I did not entirely rule out an equaliser. Spurs were decent and Davinson Sanchez played very tenaciously.

Mentally, this Spurs group are pretty strong, even if they’re not peaking individually

Ultimately, it was a memo from Manchester City : We’re still the best team  and we can dig out a 1-0 away win AND, if we have to,  defend a one-goal lead from six minutes into the 94th.

Citeh , with 26 points, are above Liverpool on goal difference.Both have 26 points.

Chelsea are third on 24 points

Arsenal have 22 points, Spurs 21, Bournemouth 20.

A 2-2 draw at Palace was what Arsenal just about deserved