A Spurs steward declared on Sunday, with barely disguised glee, that “It looks like Manchester City are finished – it’s all over, Pep’s done.”

Then, reliably hilarious Scouse rent-a-gob John Aldridge posited, with solemn empty-headedness, that this “could end up being a sackable season for Pep Guardiola”.

And the betting odds on the Catalan coach still being in charge at the Etihad Stadium at the start of next season have plummeted to evens, with at least one bookie.

Of course, both the malevolent Londoner and the Scouse blatherer have a vested interest in wanting Guardiola gone, while the bookies are more cold-blooded.

But those betting odds reflect the persistent rumours that Guardiola himself will call it quits in the summer, despite his repeated protestations to the contrary, and backing from the City owners, who adore what he has achieved.

City are more concerned about getting him to stay for as long as possible rather than shoving him through the exit.

But there are even City fans, admittedly of the old-school, doom and gloom variety, who think their silver-splashed joyride is coming to an end.

There will be surgery to both the coaching and playing staff in the summer, both deep-seated and cosmetic, as City re-shape their squad for next season’s challenge.

But taking the 2-0 defeat at Tottenham as evidence that the Blues are a busted flush, crushed by Liverpool’s perpetual motion machine, is ludicrous.

Ilkay Gundogan's penalty miss was a pivotal moment in the defeat by Spurs
Ilkay Gundogan's penalty miss was a pivotal moment in the defeat by Spurs

City’s problems are not huge, but they are evident, and in an era where there is no margin for error in the Champions League and Premier League, that has been enough. The solution to the problems is not so obvious.

There was a suggestion from some that Jose Mourinho had tactically outflanked Guardiola, his bus-parking bore-em-to-death pragmatism triumphant against Guardiola’s brilliantly flaky boldness.

That just did not happen. City created enough chances to win half a dozen games, but flunked them all.

When you see Ilkay Gundogan soil his 100 per cent penalty record – courtesy of a goalkeeper who was not penalised for moving off his line early – the writing is on the wall.

And when Sergio Aguero misses an open goal from a few yards out, and then sees two deflections take another attempt onto the post, you might as well pack up and go home.

The red card for Aleks Zinchenko sealed their fate.

In two games with Tottenham this season, City have had 49 goal attempts and scored two goals. It is a mixture of bad finishing, packed defending and sheer bad fortune that has combined to produce that startling stat.

The reverse stat is more troubling. Spurs have had six goal attempts – across two games – and scored four of them. Their 66 per cent conversion rate compares to City’s four per cent.

City's run of bad luck against Tottenham stretches back three games - including Gabriel Jesus' late disallowed 'winner' in the draw in August.
City's run of bad luck against Tottenham stretches back three games - including Gabriel Jesus' late disallowed 'winner' in the draw in August.

And yet this is the same City team which last week became the first team in Europe’s big five leagues to break the 100 mark.

They are second in the Premier League, in the final of the Carabao Cup, still in the FA Cup and face a huge tussle with Real Madrid in the Champions League in three weeks' time.

They have now topped the century mark for the last seven years, three times breaking the English record.

Guardiola knows that the profligacy which has hurt them this season, and visited them in the last two games, will pass. Aguero will start scoring again soon - perhaps the visit of struggling, leaky West Ham on Sunday has come at just the right time to get him, and the rest of the team, back on track.

Stopping the alarming rate at which they concede is a different matter.

Aymeric Laporte should return soon, and that will be a good starting point, but both issues need sorting within the next three weeks. Going to the Bernabeu with a team that squanders its own chances and readily concedes almost every shot the opponent manages, would be an act of self-harm.