City dominated in both possession and chances but goals from Son Heung-min and substitute Giovani lo Celso – 35 seconds after his introduction – sealed a fourth successive league win for Spurs.
Captain Harry Kane set up Lo Celso with his ninth assist in as many league matches midway through the second half, after Son had slotted in his ninth goal of the campaign five minutes into the contest from Tanguy Ndombele’s lofted pass.
Both sides had a goal disallowed in the first half, as Kane strayed offside at the end of a sweeping team move and referee Mike Dean retrospectively penalised Gabriel Jesus for handball in the build-up to Aymeric Laporte’s strike.
Spurs are two points above Chelsea and Leicester City, though the Foxes can reclaim the top spot with a victory over champions Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday (19:15 GMT).
The defeat leaves City 10th and eight points off the early pace – but with a game in hand.