Thursday, September 23, 2021

Tottenham 1-0 Manchester City: Key Talking Points As Spurs Stun The Champions

Tom Dunstan in Editorial, English Premier League 16 Aug 2021

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Opening up the defence of their Premier League crown with a trip to North London, Manchester City really failed to lay down the marker that they would have been hoping for.

With all of the headlines heading into the weekend’s opener stolen by the future of Sky Blues target and Tottenham talisman Harry Kane, Spurs managed to land themselves what was a shock 1-0 win on home soil as Son Heung-min opened his tally with a thumping second-half finish.

Beginning a new chapter and unable to call upon the England skipper on Sunday, it is hard to argue that The Lilywhites were not a more than worthy winner as they welcomed back fans to a noisy Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

On an afternoon that saw Pep Guardiola’s side come crashing down at the first hurdle, we have taken a look at what were the major talking points from Sunday’s heavyweight showdown.

Santo’s reign starts with a bang

While many Tottenham fans were left far from pleased after it was announced that Nuno Espirito Santo would be the man replacing Ryan Mason on a permanent basis, the North London outfit couldn’t have wished for a better start.

Overcoming what was a nervy start where they largely failed to get out of their own half in the opening exchanges, the former Wolves boss saw his side put in what was a rugged display in the capital, despite his starting XI raising a few eyebrows prior to kick-off.

With academy graduate Japhet Tanganga putting in a monumental display up against an all-star City attack, the likes of Eric Dier and Davinson Sanchez offered the defending champions very little in the final third as both sides headed into the break.

Coming out and bossing proceedings from the start of the second-half, Son managed to send the North London crowd into overdrive as he cut inside Nathan Ake and fizzed a curling effort into Ederson’s far post.

Linking up well with the impressive Lucas Moura, Spurs almost grabbed themselves a second as Steven Bergwijn sent his effort the wrong side of City’s post after being played through one-on-one with Ederson’s goal.

Getting their new chapter under Santo off to a high-flying start, Tottenham will be next seen when they make the trip to Portugal in midweek as they open their Europa Conference League qualifying run.

Guardiola’s Tottenham nightmare

Watching Leicester secure a shock 1-0 win when City made the trip to Wembley on August 7th for the annual Community Shield event, Guardiola’s side were desperate to try and prove that was a minor blip as they returned to the capital on Sunday afternoon.

However, despite a bright start that saw The Sky Blues almost camp out in Spurs’ half for large spells of the opening exchanges, Guardiola’s side failed to find their sparkling best with much stability.

Opting to leave the defensive duo of John Stones and Kyle Walker on the bench, despite their heroics with England over the summer, the decision to start Benjamin Mendy at left-back was a call that certainly didn’t pay off.

With Guardiola suffering his first opening weekend defeat since his time at Barcelona 11 years ago, City’s boss also Sunday’s defeat in the capital extend on a woeful record against Spurs.

In fact, Guardiola has now lost more away games against Spurs in all competitions than against any other opponent away from home (5). All five have come while in charge of Manchester City, with each of the last four coming at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

City crying out for a striker

While Guardiola might have seen Kevin De Bruyne make an immediate impact after coming off of City’s star-studded bench with 15 minutes left on the clock, there is no doubt that the former Barcelona boss would have once again been concerned by his side’s toothless display in the final third.

Once again opting to play with a false nine and leaving their only recognised striker in Gabriel Jesus on their bench from the start, the defending Premier League champions failed to muster a single shot in target throughout the whole of the first-half.

Leaving North London without forcing Lloris into a save of any real notability, Sunday’s guests drew another blank after failing to find the net in May’s Champions League final defeat against Chelsea and their Community Shield loss earlier in the month.

Desperately calling out for a clinical number nine to replace Sergio Aguero, all eyes will now turn back to Manchester City’s expected second bid for a wantaway Kane in the coming days.

Match Report:

Tottenham: Lloris (7.5), Tanganga (9), Sanchez (8), Dier (7.5), Reguillon (7.5), Skipp (7.5), Hojberg (8), Dele (7.5), Son (8.5), Moura (9), Berwgin (7),

Subs: Romero (N/A), Doherty (6), Lo Celso (7)

Manchester City: Ederson (6), Cancelo (6), Diaz (6), Ake (4), Mendy (2), Fernandinho (7), Gundogan (6.5), Mahrez (6.5), Sterling (6), Grealish (7), Torres (7)

Subs: Jesus (5), De Bruyne (7.5), Zinchenko (5.5)

Goals: Son 55’

Yellow Cards: Tottenham: Lucas, Sanchez – Manchester City: Grealish

Red Cards: N/A

Referee: Anthony Taylor

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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