Riyad Mahrez struck after just six minutes to settle the contest and return the champions to the top of the table on goal difference.
Much was made before the match of the state of the turf in north London following the weekend NFL game, and the surface certainly looked in a sorry state despite the best efforts of ground staff prior to kick-off.
Mahrez produced a sure-footed finish from Raheem Sterling's cross to put the visitors in front and they preserved their advantage with relative ease, as Spurs failed to ignite the sparse crowd, with many fans angered by the continued delay in finishing the new stadium.
Spurs started positively but undid their early good work when Kieran Trippier misjudged a long kick from Ederson and allowed Sterling to break into the box and cut the ball back for Mahrez to side-foot home.
The home side responded well, Harry Kane rifling a shot over the crossbar before Fernandinho intervened to deny Erik Lamela a clear sight of goal after Moussa Sissoko had sprinted clear of Benjamin Mendy.
Hugo Lloris saved from Mahrez at the left-hand post and Kane should have capitalised by making it 1-1 11 minutes before the break, but his heavy touch allowed Ederson to block at his feet.
David Silva strangely chose to pass to Sterling rather than shoot at the end of a flowing City move, with the ball eventually blocked by the covering Lloris, much to the frustration of Pep Guardiola.
Sergio Aguero twice tested Lloris as Spurs became stretched in their efforts to find an equaliser, but Erik Lamela blazed over when presented with a golden late chance by Dele Alli, as Mauricio Pochettino's side slipped five points behind the leader.