Tottenham top after beating Man City, Villa fades in EPL

LONDON (AP) – With his team top of the English Premier League, Jose Mourinho enjoyed bragging rights over Pep Guardiola in their longstanding rivalry as Tottenham beat Manchester City 2-0 on Saturday.

Chelsea moved up to second while Aston Villa’s strong early form continued to fade.

A typical Guardiola vs Mourinho game saw City enjoy the lion’s share of possession, only to be frustrated by Tottenham’s compact defense and sliced apart on counter-attacks.

“Everyone worked their socks off,” Tottenham forward Harry Kane told Sky Sports. “We knew in the second half that chances would be available and thankfully we took some in the end.”

Kane has either scored or assisted at least one goal in each of his last eight league games. Mourinho was marking a year in charge at Tottenham, while Guardiola acknowledged he had work to do to turn City’s season around after signing a two-year contract extension.

Tottenham’s manager Jose Mourinho cheers Tottenham’s Son Heung-min during the English Premier League football match at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, England. PHOTO: AP

Son Heung-min gave Tottenham the lead in the fifth minute when Kane pulled both City centre-backs out of position, leaving the way clear for the South Korean to latch onto Tanguy Ndombele’s pass and score. With a one-goal advantage, Tottenham was happy to sit back and deflect City’s attacks.

City has yet to score at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in three visits since Spurs moved in last year. Aymeric Laporte briefly thought he had ended that run, but his goal was disallowed because Gabriel Jesus controlled the ball with his arm before passing to Laporte.

City pushed up and left space for Tottenham to counter. Kane had three passing options on a 65th-minute break and he opted for Giovani Lo Celso, who scored with his first action after coming on as a substitute.

Tottenham has 20 points, two more than Chelsea and Leicester.

VILLA LOSES AGAIN

After its high-flying start to the season, Aston Villa looks increasingly earthbound.

Solly March’s goal from the edge of the box gave Brighton a 2-1 win at Villa, but it could have finished differently after a stoppage-time incident.

March reached for the ball and caught Mahmoud “Trezeguet” Hassan and the referee gave a penalty, only to reverse his decision after watching the incident again. Video review indicated March played the ball.

Villa has lost three of its last four league games, while Brighton claimed its first win since September 20 and now has a six-point cushion to the relegation zone.