Just three months after Spurs announced themselves as title contenders with a resounding 2-0 victory against Manchester City, their title bid was well and truly unravelled by the very same opponents they beat so convincingly.
Pep Guardiola’s side were the better team the minute the first whistle was blown, and while the story may have been different if Harry Kane’s powerful free-kick found the goal instead of the post, City were better in every single department.
Spurs were comfortably beaten by Rodri’s penalty, albeit unconvincingly, opening the scoring and Ilkay Gundogan carrying on his outrageously good form scoring City’s second and third goals, as well as his 10th and 11th goals of the season, to finish of the contest.
While Guardiola’s side never looked like they were going to let their advantage slip, Mourinho’s introduction of Gareth Bale did inject some much needed quality and urgency which did give City some uncomfortable moments.
The Welshman’s return to Spurs was one of the biggest stories of the summer, but his form on the pitch has been a huge anti-climax for much of the campaign.
However, Bale’s entrance to the game was impressive and, if it were not for some outstanding goalkeeping by Ederson, he would have fired Spurs onto the scoresheet in spectacular fashion.
The ball fell nicely into Bale’s path and the Welshman’s balance, quick feet and awareness saw him dance through Rodri, Bernardo Silva, Aymeric Laporte and John Stones, before firing a strong effort which needed a fingertip save from Ederson to keep out.
It was Spurs’ biggest moment of inspiration after Kane’s first half free-kick and Bale was definitely the Lilywhite’s best player in the second period.
Arguably, that singular moment of quality was perhaps Bale’s best moment in a Spurs shirt this season, and he did it against a defence which has not only been the most impenetrable, but will very likely go on to win the Premier League.
Spurs are now languishing in ninth place and are in need of some new inspiration and quality – Bale’s time could be now.