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Worst defeat in seven years for deflated Blues; Barclays Premier League TOTTENHAM 4 MANCITY 1.

Byline: STUART BRENNAN

AFTER 44 minutes, anyone who had suggested that Manchester City were about to suffer their worst defeat for seven years and five months, would have attracted some strange sideways glances.

And yet the Blues suffered the kind of collapse that shows just how much nature abhors a vacuum.

For most of the first half, the Blues had recaptured the intense, sharp, slick brand of football that had seen some people prematurely proclaiming them champions.

Fernandinho and Fernando were dominating midfield, Raheem Sterling was quick and dangerous, Kevin de Bruyne subtle, and the defence was hammering into their challenges Harry Kane |his goal with teammate Erik with certainty.

And Sergio Aguero had started to look like he had finally put his boots on the correct feet.

They were doing a good job of disproving the strong theory that without most of their world-class stars - Joe Hart, Vincent Kompany, Yaya Toure, David Silva and Aguero - they are pretty ordinary.

De Bruyne has quickly convinced fans that he can add to that select group, but it was his error that led to the equaliser.

The linesman was also culpable, failing to spot a huge offside against Kyle Walker in the build-up, but the Blues' opener from de Bruyne should also have been ruled out, so there can be no moans.

That changed the tone of the game, and when stand-in keeper Willy Caballero witlessly wandered off his line at a corner and saw Toby Alderweireld's header flash past him, the rot had set in.

When Yaya Toure was forced off with a hamstring problem, just about all of City's 'leaders' were watching from the bench or from home. Someone had sucked the air from this City team, and they crumpled like a crisp bag.

Harry Kane's goal should also have been ruled out, as it was offside, while Erik Lamela's fourth - which made this the heaviest defeat since the 8-1 reverse at Middlesbrough in 2008 - was a result of collective defensive shambles.

celebrates Tottenham Lamela City are sweating over the fitness of key players ahead of their Champions League clash with Borussia Monchengladbach on Wednesday.

The Blues injury list grew following the withdrawal of midfielder Yaya Toure 56 minutes in.

He hobbled off with a hamstring problem, leaving manager Manuel Pellegrini sweating over his availability for the trip to Germany.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Post (Conwy, Wales)
Date:Sep 28, 2015
Words:390
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