Friday, October 19, 2018

Tottenham 1-3 Manchester City: Guardiola’s men take one more step towards the title

Dan Steeden in Editorial, English Premier League 14 Apr 2018

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Tottenham welcomed Manchester City to Wembley for a Saturday evening kick-off in the Premier League. This was a clash between two of England’s top sides and Spurs headed into this game sitting fourth, hoping to go level on points with Liverpool with a win. City meanwhile knew that they could win the league with a win here and a Manchester United defeat tomorrow, but any positive result would have done for Pep Guardiola’s men in order to take another step towards glory.

Sane strikes the post early on

The atmosphere was electric inside Wembley at kick-off and Kyle Walker received a good reception from the Tottenham fans, who acknowledged his service to their club. It was the fullback’s new side Manchester City who looked livelier in the early exchanges however and Leroy Sane almost put the visitors ahead inside five minutes. Some good work down the right flank allowed Raheem Sterling to float a cross towards the German, whose volleyed effort cannoned back out off the post having left Hugo Lloris rooted to the spot. It was a chance that sent warning signs reverberating through the Tottenham back line.

Sane looked incredibly bright on the left wing but it was Sterling who went close on the 10-minute mark, firing a shot just over the bar from the edge of the box after a driving run. David Silva was being afforded huge amounts of room in midfield as the Spurs players didn’t seem to be closing the Spaniard down, and the playmaker unsurprisingly began to pull the strings and look to utilise the pace of Sane and Sterling ahead of him.

Eriksen halves the two-goal deficit before the half

As they have been so prone to do, Manchester City utterly dominated the possession statistics and largely pinned Tottenham back into their own half. On their rare ventures forward Mauricio Pochettino’s side did look a slight treat however, especially with the movement of Harry Kane up top. Their main struggle was the fact that Christian Eriksen had to drop deep to mark Kevin De Bruyne, rather than looking to play on the front foot himself, which limited Spurs’ creativity. The constant pressure from City made for a nervy atmosphere amongst the home fans, which only added to the players’ woes on the pitch.

In the end it didn’t take too long for the visitors to break the deadlock and it was a deserved opener. A simple long ball over the top from Vincent Kompany found Gabriel Jesus on the run and the Brazilian was cool when he went one-on-one with Lloris, slotting a finish low into the corner. Things went from bad to worse for Tottenham just moments later as Lloris brought down Sterling to concede a silly penalty. Ilkay Gundogan stepped up a drilled his shot into the left hand corner of the net, doubling City’s lead.

Guardiola’s men continued to control the game until the final minutes before the half but they showed why they haven’t been at their best in recent weeks by allowing Tottenham a way back into the match. A neat pass from Harry Kane fooled the City defence and put Eriksen in on goal and the Dane attempted to lift the ball over the onrushing Ederson. He saw his shot blocked by Ayermic Laporte however but the ball ricocheted back off Eriksen and somehow ended up in the back of the net, giving Tottenham hope as they headed into the break.

Tottenham push for an equaliser

Having been buoyed by their late first half goal, Pochettino’s men came out for the second period looking bright, immediately putting Manchester City on the back foot. Their intensity was noticeably improved and they harried and closed down the City players quickly, winning the ball high up the pitch as a result.

In the opening minutes after the break the visitors gave the ball away cheaply on multiple occasions, lifting the Wembley crowd and adding to their own nerves. The events of last week’s defeat to Manchester United was clearly playing on their minds and the Premier League champions elect looked a completely different side to that of the first half.

Despite their reinvigoration and dominance in the second period, Tottenham actually struggled to create many clear-cut chances when they did have City on the ropes. Eriksen, Dele Alli and Harry Kane all saw much more of the ball but the visitors did well to soak up much of the pressure, remaining solid despite their nerves.

Sterling seals Manchester City’s win 

As the clock ticked on Man City began to grow back into the game, securing more possession and controlling the game by dictating the tempo. They probed the Tottenham goal and both Sterling and Gabriel Jesus had great chances to put the game to bed. The former took the ball round Lloris with great composure, but took one too many touches and allowed the defenders to get back and make the block. Jesus meanwhile went one-on-one in similar fashion to his goal in the first half, but this time the striker fluffed his lines and dragged his shot well wide of the post.

As more and more chances were squandered it seemed as if Tottenham would be able to find their way back into the game as Guardiola despaired on the bench. Eventually however City did manage to convert one of their chances and it was Sterling who made amends for his earlier miss. A poor clearance from a corner allowed Jesus to drill a shot goalwards that was parried by Lloris, but Sterling was on hand to fire it into the net on the rebound, seemingly putting the game out of sight. There was to be no late resurgence from Tottenham and it was Manchester City who left Wembley with all three points.

Final Thoughts 

Tottenham were thoroughly outplayed in the first half by a vastly superior Manchester City side and they couldn’t manage the sort of fight-back that Manchester United mounted last week. Spurs should still secure a top four finish, which will mean Champions League football for next season, but this was a disappointing result, especially as they faced a vulnerable City side.

This result will have delighted Pep Guardiola as it finally put an end to Manchester City’s recent losing streak and put them one step closer to securing the league title. Contrary to last week’s result the Cityzens managed to hang on to their lead, which will give them a lot of confidence going forward and allow them to enjoy themselves for the rest of the Premier League season.

Match Report 

Tottenham: Lloris, Trippier, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Davies, Dier, Dembele (Lucas, 73’), Eriksen, Alli (Sissoko, 84’), Lamela (Son, 64’), Kane 

Manchester City: Ederson, Walker, Kompany, Laporte, Delph, De Bruyne (Toure, 89’), Gundogan, D. Silva, Sterling, Jesus (B. Silva, 76’), Sane (Otamendi, 64’) 

Goals: Jesus (0-1, 22), Gundogan (0-2, 25’), Eriksen (1-2, 42’), Sterling (1-3, 72’) 

Referee: Jonathan Moss 

Yellow Cards: Lloris (24’), Davies (27’), De Bruyne (42’), Jesus (45+1), Kompany (66’), Dembele (70’), Delph (77’) 

Red Cards: None 

Player Ratings 

Tottenham: Lloris 6, Trippier 6, Sanchez 6, Vertonghen, 7 Davies 6, Dier 6, Dembele 7 (Lucas n/a), Eriksen 7.5, Alli 6 (Sissoko n/a), Lamela 6 (Son n/a), Kane 6 

Manchester City: Ederson 7, Walker 7, Kompany 7, Laporte 7, Delph 7, De Bruyne 7 (Toure n/a), Gundogan 7.5, D. Silva 7, Sterling 7.5, Jesus 8 (B. Silva n/a), Sane 7 (Otamendi n/a)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dan Steeden


Dan is a recent graduate of the University of Birmingham and an often frustrated Wigan Athletic fan. When not despairing at events unfolding at the DW Stadium he can be found fangirling over Antoine Griezmann or staying up into the early hours of the morning to cheer on the Seattle Seahawks.

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