Harry Kane scored his first club goal of the season as Tottenham Hotspur condemned Manchester City to a third defeat in four games with a 4-1 victory on Saturday.
Kane’s struggles in front of goal had been a cause of growing concern for manager Mauricio Pochettino, but his 61st-minute effort helped Spurs record a third successive Premier League victory and drew applause from watching England manager Roy Hodgson.
Prior to Kane’s strike, which ended his eight-game scoring drought, Tottenham had been forced to recover after falling behind to Kevin De Bruyne’s opening goal.
The home side levelled through Eric Dier before Toby Alderweireld’s header put them ahead and Erik Lamela completed a surprisingly comfortable win.
For City, who arrived at White Hart Lane at the head of the table, the manner of defeat was alarming, with goalkeeper Willy Caballero — in for the injured Joe Hart — enduring a troubled afternoon.
This defeat came on the back of last weekend’s home loss to West Ham United –- their first league defeat of the season –- and the Champions League loss to Juventus, with only the mid-week League Cup win at struggling Sunderland punctuating that worrying run.
Having appeared so dominant in the opening five games of the league campaign, when they did not concede a goal, Pellegrini’s side suddenly appear vulnerable, casting doubt over their title credentials.
There were few signs of what was to come when City took control of the game.
With De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling testing the Spurs full-backs and Yaya Toure bossing central midfield, City were dominant and their superiority was underlined when they took a 25th-minute lead.
The move stemmed from a Spurs corner, with Toure leading a breakaway from deep inside his own half.
The Ivorian ran beyond halfway before sliding the ball inside left-back Ben Davies and allowing De Bruyne to place a right-foot shot across Hugo Lloris and inside the far post.
Tottenham had offered little up to that point, but forced Caballero into action immediately after the goal when the Argentine was forced to react to keep out Son Heung-Min’s angled shot.
The home side’s problems were summed up when first Lamela fired high into the crowd and then Kane went for goal when the better option was to play in Christian Eriksen.
They needed a break if they were going to get back into the game and it came immediately before half-time when they were the beneficiaries of an incorrect offside call and poor goalkeeping from Caballero.
There had been an element of doubt to De Bruyne’s goal, with the winger having possibly drifted into an offside position before he received Toure’s pass.
But if that was a marginal call, there was no doubt Kyle Walker had strayed beyond the City back line before collecting Eriksen’s through ball and squaring into the path of Son.
The South Korean’s close-range shot was well saved by Caballero, but he was slow to react when the ball broke free and Dier drilled a low shot through a crowd of players and into the net from 25 yards.
There was worse to come for City five minutes after half-time when Caballero again was badly positioned and unable to keep out Alderweireld’s near-post header from Lamela’s free-kick.
Pellegrini’s side suddenly appeared fragile and although they were not helped by the loss of Toure to injury, the way they capitulated was alarming.
Kane added Spurs’ third when he followed up after Eriksen’s free-kick bounced back off the bar and Lamela wrapped up the win 11 minutes from time, collecting Clinton Njie’s pass and rounding Caballero to score.