Manchester City were at their attacking best on this day in 2013, beating Tottenham Hotspur 6-0 in a Premier League encounter.
When talking about sides that have dominated English football over the past decade, it is impossible to look beyond Manchester City. Once dubbed Manchester United’s “noisy neighbours” by Sir Alex Ferguson, they have grown into a winning juggernaut.
The Abu Dhabi-led takeover in 2009 helped considerably, and by 2013 City were already Premier League winners. Besides that, they were also one of the toughest teams to face.
They had a wealth of attacking talent who gelled well on the field; this meant plenty of goals was always on the cards when they played.
And never was this more evident than on this very day in 2013. City, who were seen as title favourites that year, hosted Tottenham Hotspur at the Etihad Stadium. And they put on a clinical masterclass of goalscoring.
City, then managed by Manuel Pellegrini, scored six goals – three in each half – while Spurs could muster nothing in response. As far as matches go, this one was as one-sided as they come.
With 8 years having passed since then, it is a good time to look back at a match that showcased City’s title-winning credentials – and spelt the end of a certain managerial appointment.
The match was the first after an international break, and both teams badly needed a win. Before the break, City had suffered a shock defeat to Sunderland. And Spurs were beaten 1-0 by Sunderland’s rivals Newcastle United.
To make matters worse, questions were being asked about Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas. Too often their wins were unconvincing, and they had lost two high-profile games – against local rivals West Ham United and Arsenal.
There is one caveat worth noting: this was the summer Spurs had sold Gareth Bale and signed a whole bunch of new players. As such, there was always going to be some teething struggles to begin with.
And there were some positive signs too: their record away from home was pretty good. They had only conceded the one goal away from home, and that too came in a 1-0 loss to Arsenal.
Thus, they had not conceded any goals outside of North London. They didn’t know it at the time, but that was going to change in a hurry.
There were signs of trouble as soon as the match got underway. Spurs kicked off the match, and went backwards 5o avoid City’s press. However, they ended up in trouble when Hugo Lloris’ mis-timed long ball went straight to Sergio Aguero.
The Argentine fired off a shot that Lloris saved, but the rebound fell to Jesus Navas on the right side of the penalty box. The Spanish winger lobbed what seemed to be a cross, but it was also mishit.
Luckily for him, it looped over Lloris and into the goal. Manchester City were ahead with only 15 seconds on the clock. Spurs needed a response, and fast.
They did muster up a fight to begin with. Centre-back Martin Demichelis was forced into a goal-line clearance after goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon was beaten by a Kyle Walker cross that found Erik Lamela in space.
Sadly, that was as good as it got for the away side. And their misery was compounded in the 34th minute of the first half.
Samir Nasri played a cross in for Aguero in space, who was again denied by a good Lloris save. However, the rebound fell to Alvaro Negredo, who fired an acrobatic effort towards goal that deflected off midfielder Sandro; it was credited as an own goal but either way, Spurs were 2-0 down.
It did not get better as, just before half-time, Spurs conceded a third – which all but killed off the game.
Pablo Zabaleta played Navas through on the right wing, who placed a perfect low cross at the feet of Aguero inside the six yard box. Predictably, he did not miss. City had a 3-0 lead going into the break.
The second half brought even more misery for Spurs. A give and go between Negredo and Yaya Toure put the Ivorian midfielder clear through on goal. He was pushed wide by Walker, but squared it to Aguero to make it 4-0.
Shortly thereafter, Nasri almost got in on the act but his chipped shot found the crossbar. That was not, however, the end of Spurs’ misery; far from it, in fact.
On the 55th minute, Fernandinho receieved the ball in midfield and played it through the Spurs’ defence. Negredo received the ball and, with a clever turn, made himself some space and unleashed a shot past Lloris.
After that Manchester City pretty much lifted their foot off the gas, but there was time enough for one more. James Milner played a ball from defence which put Navas clean through. The winger made no mistakes, slotting home in injury time to finish the game on a high.
The match pretty much spelt the beginning of the end for Villas-Boas at Spurs. He followed this with a 2-2 draw to Manchester United and further pressure mounting.
Narrow wins over Fulham and Sunderland eased the pressure, but a 5-0 thrasing at the hands of Liverpool proved to be the final straw.