Yesterday’s early game saw top of the table and title challengers, Manchester City, travel to White Hart Lane to face Spurs, where in recent years they have had a great record.
Manchester City took an early lead and you might have thought it would be another away win, but Tottenham bounced back and won the game 4-1.
Manchester City came into the game after winning in the league cup midweek against a struggling Sunderland, while Tottenham lost to North London rivals, Arsenal in the same competition, with plenty of question marks over Mauricio Pochettino’s team selection.
So there was some pressure on Pochettino today to get a result, and well he will be pleased he did yesterday, but also with the performance too. A lot of talk will be about Manchester City’s missing players such as Joe Hart, Vincent Kompany and David Silva, but they replaced Kompany with £32 million, Nicolas Otamendi and £54 million Kevin de Bruyne replaced Silva, with Willy Caballero replacing Hart in goal, so that can’t be an excuse. Oh and they still had Samir Nasri and Jesus Navas on the bench too.
Manchester City started off the better side, as Tottenham were allowing them too much space in the middle. City took the lead in the 25th minute through de Bruyne, at a time when Tottenham had begun putting pressure on City. There was controversy in the goal, as de Bruyne was offside when he received the ball from Yaya Toure, but the linesman didn’t give it. The goal came from a Tottenham corner, which would have disappointed them, as they would have been better off sitting a bit deeper to ensure a quick counter like that didn’t happen.
At this point you couldn’t help but wonder if it was going to be another beating for Tottenham, who have twice in the past few seasons conceded five at home from City. However, just before half time they levelled the score.
And again, there was controversy in this goal too, as there was an offside in the build up to this goal. Kyle Walker received the ball in an offside position and crossed the ball in for Son Heung-min who probably should have scored, but still forced a brilliant close-range save from Caballero, with City looking for the offside flag, which never came. City however failed to clear the ball and Dier just hits it from outside the area and it went in. Not much Caballero could do about it, he had so many bodies in front of him blocking his view.
Going in at halftime, the score was 1-1 and Martin Demichelis got booked after arguing with referee, Mark Clattenburg, about the offside decision.
Second half, Spurs came out a different side and it didn’t take them long to go 2-1 up. Five minutes into the second half, Harry Kane won a free kick out wide right after chasing down what appeared a lost cause and forced Otamendi into committing a foul. Erik Lamela put in a good cross which Caballero comes to collect, doesn’t get it and Toby Alderweireld headed it in. It was poor goalkeeping, and many people pointed out that Hart collects that ball.
Five minutes after the goal, Man City made their first change, Toure off for Navas, with Toure perhaps coming off because of an injury or precaution.
Manchester City gave away another free kick in a dangerous position in the 61st minute, with Demichelis lucky not to see a second yellow after his challenge on Lamela. There was a bit of controversy in this goal as well, with Christian Eriksen’s free kick hitting the bar, Kane, who was in an offside position when the free kick was taken, put the rebound in the net. Again, the goal stood and it was 3-1 to Tottenham. This was Kane’s first Tottenham goal this season, and England manager Roy Hodgson couldn’t hide his delight.
Manuel Pellegrini made an attacking change in the 69th minute, with Fernandinho making way for Nasri. City had a couple of half chances but nothing was taken and then in the 79th minute the unthinkable happened, Tottenham scored again to make it 4-1 to them.
The goal was scored by Lamela, who hasn’t exactly shone in a Spurs shirt. Lamela collects Clinton Njie’s cross and he managed to avoid a poor attempt of a challenge from Demichelis and put Caballero on his backside before slotting the ball into the net. Honestly, it did look like Lamela had messed it up at first, he got the ball and it looked like he should have just hit it first time, but he ended up taking a touch, but Demichelis lack of a proper challenge on the ball enabled him to keep position and turn away from Caballero.
It was 4-1 and finally a goal with no controversy. Pellegrini subbed off Aguero after that and brought on Patrick Roberts, experience and perhaps to rest Aguero for midweek. I do wonder if Aguero is fully fit and it does make you wonder why they got rid of both Edin Dzeko and Stevan Jovetic.
This was back to back Premier League defeat for Manchester City and it enabled Manchester United to go top of the table, as they beat Sunderland 3-0 later that day.
There was a lot of talk about Manchester City early this season after their good start, but it should be a worry that without Kompany and Hart that they are so fragile, especially with the transfer fees spent on their backups.
As for Tottenham, well I think perhaps there will be some forgiveness for the league cup defeat to Arsenal, but only a little, or it might make them more annoyed as if the had gone for it more they could have gotten one over their rivals.
A good win for Tottenham in the league after what was a slow start to the season. It is just the case of doing this more now, but what a confidence boost this could be.