|DATE||Sunday 2nd February 2020|
Pep Guardiola is continuing to chase the lucky league leaders,
however hopeless that seems, so we can expect no let up in the City
approach. They are looking vulnerable on occasion, but with
the likes of De Bruyne and Aguero, Jesus and Mahrez, Sterling and
the Silvas, I am sure their fans do not regard it as an
embarrassment of riches. Their attacking retinue makes them a
force to contend with, but their defence can be a weak point,
despite having a fine goalkeeper in Ederson. With Pep
experimenting with different formations, the side are perhaps a
little unaccustomed to playing in these new ways. How he will
line up on Sunday will be interesting, as many teams (especially
Liverpool) seemed to regard a win at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium
as a crucial one in their season.
Spurs are not the team of two seasons ago and we are still trying to find our identity under Jose. With new signings coming in during the recent transfer window, it will still take time to settle into a pattern of play that they and the manager are comfortable with. Time is of the essence to do that, both to give us a chance to get into the top four, but also to have the opportunity to have the team together to work on the training pitches. The major thing to sort out is our defence, which used to keep clean sheets for fun, but now are struggling to keep out the opposition ... and that doesn't bode well in facing City.
With the precise passing of De Bruyne able to open up any defence, it is vital that we don't allow him time and space to provide the chances for the City forwards. With Sterling running at players on their left wing and Mahrez on the other flank, Serge or Japhet will need to be on their toes to stop him getting forward and into the box, while either Silva will try and pull the strings from the number 10 position. There is also a battle to be won in the midfield, where we can't allow City to start their build-ups from a deep position.Laporte has had some shaky games against us and just returning from injury, he may be a little rusty, while Kyle Walker, for all his pace, still is liable to a mistake or getting caught out of position. Zinchenko on the other side of the defence is quick and likes to get forward, but has the ability to recover his defensive role. Otamendi is a penalty waiting to happen, as he likes to play the tough defender, but his challenges are sometimes timed badly, as he relies on force rather than accuracy. City do have Gundogan and Rodrigo to protect the back four, which they do very effectively and still have time to get forward.
Tottenham will need to be at their best to push City back. Whether Mourinho will start with Bergwijn, just days after his signing, or will choose to introduce him from the bench could be an important decision. Strong, tricky and quick, he might keep one of the full backs from making advances towards the Tottenham goal. Lo Celso will need to be sharp to try and get us moving forward and the defence will need to be on top form, otherwise the game could get away from us before we know it.
Mourinho's appointment is intended to take us to a point where we
can win a trophy, but also to improve our record against the top
six. So far this season, we have taken one point from a
possible 18 against teams above us in the table. Maybe it is
too early in his tenure to expect an instant improvement, but a
point at least here would go a way to showing that there is hope.
I think it's too early though.
|PREDICTION||Tottenham Hotspur 1 Manchester City 3|
HOTSPUR TEAM NEWS :
Jose Mourinho may throw new signing Steven Bergwijn straight into the team against Manchester City, but will be without the injured Harry Kane (hamstring), Moussa Sissoko (knee) and Ben Davies (ankle).
MANCHESTER CITY TEAM NEWS :
Benjamin Mendy (match fitness) is an unlikely inclusion in the squad to face against Spurs, but will be subject to a late fitness test, as will Fernandinho and Aymeric Laporte. Leroy Sane (knee) is still unavailable.
|Premier League||Kick off 16.30|
|Tottenham Hotspur 2 (0)||
Alderweireld (confrontation with Zinchenko) 42
Lo Celso (foul on Walker) 66
Sterling (foul on Alli) 12
Walker (foul on Moura) 33
Zinchenko (confrontation with Alderweireld) 42
Rodri (foul on Lamela) 90+4
|Crowd : 61,022||Weather : Mild, dry|
|Referee : Mike Dean (Wirral)||Assistant Referees : Mr. Ian Hussin; Mr. Dan Robothan|
|Fourth Official : Graham Scott|
|Video Assistant Referee : Kevin Friend||Video Assistant Referee Assistant : Harry Lennard|
|Manchester City kicked off and played towards the Park Lane end in the first half.|
|Game time : - 90 + 11 minutes.|
|Tottenham Hotspur :||kit||Manchester City :||kit|
Hugo LLORIS (c)
24 Serge AURIER
4 Toby ALDERWEIRELD
6 Davinson SANCHEZ
39 Japhet TANGANGA
8 Harry WINKS
18 Giovani LO CELSO
23 Steven BERGWIJN (11 Erik LAMELA 70)
20 DELE Alli (28 Tanguy NDOMBELE 70)
7 Heung-Min SON
27 Lucas MOURA (15 Eric DIER 84)
2 Kyle WALKER
25 FERNANDINHO (c)
30 Nicolas OTAMENDI
11 Oleksandr ZINCHENKO
7 Raheem STERLING (20 Bernardo SILVA 84)
10 Sergio AGUERO (27 Joao CANCELO 64)
26 Riyad MAHREZ ( 9 Gabriel JESUS 72)
17 Kevin DE BRUYNE
8 Ilkay GUNDOGAN
|Manager : Jose Mourinho||Manager : Pep Guardiola|
|Sponsor : AIA||Shirt sponsor : Etihad Airways|
|Kit Supplier : Nike||Kit Supplier : Nike|
Well, I wasn't expecting that ! Beating City 2-0 was a surprise to a lot of people and the penalty save helped; the sending off helped; City's failure to finish helped; Bergwijn's fine debut goal helped; Son's deflected shot helped; but what really helped was a growing belief that City were there to be beaten.
Tottenham's record against sides in the top six is nothing more than pitiful. And if City could have hit a cow's arse with a banjo, they might have run up a big win. But they couldn't, but they still had to be beaten and Spurs hadn't really tested Ederson, apart from a couple of rushes outside his box, until he was left helpless by the new signing's volley. Son's finish was crisp and with two goals from three shots, it shamed City's 18 efforts with nothing to show for it.
The game began with Steven Bergwijn lining up in the attacking midfield three, while Giovani Lo Celso dropped deep to play alongside Winksy in the defensive two. The early action showed that the idea of Gio playing deep was to take possession and run it forward, as he did at Southampton. As City got possession, Spurs got players around the man with the ball and tried to intercept balls heading for the black-shirted visitors. City's slicker passing was creating openings, with Mahrez setting up De Bruyne to fire a shot over the top and then Davinson Sanchez got in the way of two Aguero shots. Sterling broke into the area and went to ground, which surprised no-one.
Spurs were sitting deep and when a long ball down the left was being chased by Otamendi, Bergwijn showed his pace to get there at the same time to send the ball spinning towards Ederson. The keeper dallied and Lucas Moura raced to close him down, blocking the clearance, but it dropped for a defender to hoof it away. A crucial moment in the match came in the 12th minute, as Dele tried to control the ball Sterling came flying in, missed the ball, went over the top and sank his studs into Dele's leg just above the ankle. It was a leg-breaker and VAR looked at it, but decided it was not a red card. How the VAR could look at it from a number of angles and decide that it was only a yellow card was a joke. The officials are supposed to be there to protect the safety of the players, so only a booking will send the message to players that they can go out and perform reckless challenges and get away with it. Dean had a good view of it even before it went to the review and it is worrying that harsher punishment wasn't handed out.
With the visitors looking to exploit Japhet Tanganga playing out of position, the youngster stuck at his task and did really well to dispossess Mahrez in the Spurs box and then retrieve the loose ball to start a move. The defence looked tighter as a unit and Sanchez did well to block Aguero again inside the area. When City did get a clear shooting chance, De Bruyne struck a straight shot straight at Hugo from 25 yards out. The defence seemed to panic a little when trying to clear the ball in the box, with Sanchez stopping Mahrez, but his weak clearance went to De Bruyne, but Davinson recovered to block the Belgian midfielder's shot. City seemed to be getting the bounce of the ball and when Davinson had a pass picked off by Mahrez, an attempted straight through pass came off Winks' heel and fell into the path of Aguero, with only Lloris in front of him. Toby slid in to push the City striker to his right, but he got a low shot in and the ball bounced off the foot of the post. It was only when the big screen replays were shown that it became clear that Hugo had got a toe to the ball and diverted it onto the woodwork.
Lo Celso was tracking back well and Winks was chasing and harrying City players into mistakes, but Spurs were still not doing much to trouble the City defence. Bergwijn tried to pick out Dele in the middle of the City penalty area, but Walker got a head to the ball just in front of him to avert the danger. Then the ball was at the other end. A 5 on 5 break by City seemed to have been quelled, as Alderweireld did well to push him wide of the Spurs goal to the City left. He played the ball back to Rodri, who moved it right to Mahrez, who came inside to shoot, but the ball spun off Tanganga to Gundogan, who pulled the ball across the six yard line to Sterling, but his effort was blocked by Toby standing in front of him. The ball again span off the Spurs defender and ran to De Bruyne, inside the box to the left side of D and nudged it forward to Aguero. As he reached the ball he was challenged by Aurier and fell to the ground, where he lay for ages, holding his ankle. Play continued as Dean indicated that the ball had been won cleanly, with City looking to start another attack with Aguero having managed to raise himself although the ball was won back and cleared upfield, when Dean blew his whistle. It had been a couple of minutes since the initial tackle, but Dean's charade indicated it was a TV programme and pointed to the penalty spot. On replay, it didn't look like there was a great deal of contact, but enough for a penalty, but the frustration on players, staff and fans came form the eternity it took the people in Stockley Park to give the award. If it is a penalty, then it is a penalty, so stop the game as soon as they have reviewed it and get on with the game (as UEFA's slogan goes).
Ilkay Gundogan stepped up to take it, but his low shot to Hugo's left was too close to the keeper and wasn't very powerful, so guessing right, Lloris saved the ball and with it going wide, he chased it as Sterling looked to get there first. Again, the England winger fell to earth and Hugo was furious. His obvious view was that there had been no contact and Sterling had dived. As the screen showed VAR were looking at the second incident, it all kicked off with all the outfield players and Lloris involved with a lot of finger-pointing towards Sterling and Toby and Zinchenko involved in a shoving match as they broke away from the main bunch. The review deemed it was not a penalty and seeing it after the game, it could have been interpreted as a touch on Sterling, but other angles seemed to show that Hugo pulled out of contacting the City flopper. So, no penalty and no dive according to the referee, so Sterling escaped a second yellow, but Alderweireld and Zinchenko both got one.
The penalty save stirred Spurs and the crowd, who got vocal and behind the team. Rodrigo committed his second poor foul, but didn't get a card, but the free-kick fro Lo Celso picked out Tanganga at the far post, although his header across the goal came to nothing. City had one more decent chance before the break, with Mahrez played the ball into the box for Sterling, who pulled it back to Aguero, but he couldn't turn the ball in at the near post as Serge slid in, only hitting it into side-netting.
The game was shaping up to be a repeat of the Champions League game here last season ... or so we hoped. A penalty save by Lloris had happened in the first half then and a Son goal winning it in the second. Could history repeat ?
At the start of the second period, Dele received a quick free-kick and his pass to Son was stepped over, but Bergwijn had run further inside than the Korean had thought. There was a new aggression about Tottenham and Aurier was getting to the ball ahead of the City players when played down his side. When Mahrez tried a straight pass down the other side to Sterling, Tanganga got back to block it, but Hugo has rushed out to the edge of his area and collided with the left back. The ball fell invitingly for Aguero, who shot at goal, but Toby had covered and cleared the ball, which again went to City, with Sterling squaring it across the area for Gundogan in the clear to the left. A decent contact would have seen him score, but from six yards out skied the ball over the bar as he stretched for it. It was a cast iron chance and one that would end up costing City big time.
A De Bruyne cross went straight into Hugo's midriff and then a corner from the Belgian was headed well wide at the near post by Rodri, before Mahrez couldn't find a team-mate with a low cross that flashed across goal, but when the same player's cross was blocked by Sanchez for a corner, nobody could have predicted what would happen next. Mahrez played a low corner back, looking for an unmarked Gundogan in the D. What he hadn't seen was Harry Winks waiting to cut it out. Breaking away form his own penalty area, he got to within 10 yards of the halfway line, pushed the ball past Zinchenko, who blocked him off with what he claimed was a shoulder-to-shoulder challenge, but was, in reality, a cynical block with no intention to play the ball or what people now call a "tactical foul". Well, it might well have been "tactical", but Pep Guardiola had to change his tactics when Dean ran up to flourish a second yellow and a red card for the Ukrainian. De Bruyne and Otamendi both demonstrated to the referee that it had been shoulder-to-shoulder, but with VAR unable to get involved as it was a yellow card offence, he had to go, although he dragged it out for as long as he could by hanging around and then slowly making his way off the pitch. Perhaps referees should make players leave by the nearest point if they get sent off, thus running an embarrassing gauntlet of "Bye Bye"s !!
Bergwijn worked hard to win a corner on the Spurs left wing. It was taken short and Winks' ball in intended for Alderweireld at the far post was cut out by Walker, but not cleared far enough away. Lucas picked up the ball ten yards outside the box and played a ball in that was chest high and was taken down expertly by Bergwijn, who then hit a volley out of Ederson's reach to the keeper's left. It was a great technical piece of skill and Tottenham's first effort on target, but it handed the side a 63rd minute lead, just three minutes after the dismissal. The Spurs crowd erupted and while Guardiola had got Cancelo ready to come on before the corner was taken, he delayed it and by the time he came on, his team were a goal behind. What a start for the new arrival and Stevie B was up and running. His joy at scoring and the bundle on top of him by his team-mates and the subs showed that he is already a part of the squad.
When Walker strong-armed Lo Celso off the ball, Gio chased him back and hacked him down to earn a yellow card, but it was an act to show that he will not be bullied. Dele finally was substituted, still suffering from Sterling's foul and Tanguy Ndombele came on in his place, a few minutes before Bergwijn made way, suffering from cramp and tiredness, with Lamela entering the play. Spurs were now giving it everything. Sonny was heading away City corners, Lucas was chasing players down and making them play the ball backwards, Winks was getting over the pitch to make sure that there was no time on the ball for the City players on the ball. When a ball was cleared up in the air, it dropped 30 yards from the City goal, Lo Celso swept the loose ball to Ndombele to his left and although he was tackled, Gio moved the ball to Tanguy again. He had a quick look to size up his options, came inside the ineffectual Rodri and put a pass with good weight on it into Son's feet on the 18 yard line. He took one touch to get it onto his right foot and struck a low shot that took a slight flick of Fernandinho's boot to beat Ederson's dive to his right and Spurs were 2-0 ahead while Walker stood with his arm in the air appealing for offside in vain (which Son was not). Two shots - two goals. Spurs were hitting the high conversion rate and were glad City hadn't been able to replicate the same ratio of shots on goal to goals !
City had reached the point where they were not happy about losing. Bringing on a forward for Mahrez, Jesus - did he have some attitude ! Running into players, pushing and shoving them off the ball, but fortunately, not doing what he was on the pitch to do ... put the ball in the net. Toby was pulled up for a foul on the back of De Bruyne and feared he would get a second yellow for a moment, but it was a foul and nothing more. Tanganga headed the ball out when it was played in, but it fell to Fernandinho, who drove a shot at goal that took a deflection and went wide. City were getting desperate and their neat passing was replaced by lumping the ball into the box. Spurs defended strongly, with a bit of luck with the ball hitting Aurier and going up into the air, which allowed Hugo to come and claim it. Cancelo did put in a low cross from the left, but nobody read his ball in and Son was back there to tidy up.
Dier replaced the tireless Moura for the final few minutes to try and shut out City, while Sterling got a rousing reception when he was substituted for Bernardo Silva and had to walk a third of the way around the ground in front of Spurs fans. A floating cross from De Bruyne looked harmless, but Lloris had to back-peddle to push the ball over the bar, going down and staying down, which was a bit worrying. Luckily, it was only cramp, so he was able to get up and carry on. The agitated Jesus put a cross straight at Lloris, which angered him even more.
The crowd were angered when the fourth official showed five added minutes were to be played. Sonny was still running hard to nick the ball off Walker and then Lo Celso popped up on the edge of the area to play Son in, but his shot was saved by Ederson. It was quite shocking that one of our shots hadn't gone in ! Gundogan tried a low cross, but Tottenham smuggled it away and Harry Winks was back in his own box, getting his head onto a De Bruyne cross that could have ended up in his own net, but Hugo was there to collect it and when he wasn't when Sanchez headed Silva's cross, the crossbar was there to keep the ball out. By then Rodri had been booked for his umpteenth foul and it was a bad foul, going through Lamela because he had the hump about being 2-0 down.
At the end, it was a massive cheer from the Spurs fans that signalled a win that was well-earned, even though City had the balance of play. Guardiola couldn't really complain about the result, although he should have complained about his team's performance in not taking the points. They played well enough, but threw away scoring opportunities and when Zinchenko stupidly got sent off, they were up against it. Surprisingly for Spurs, the win came with ten men, which we were not always good at achieving, although after Southampton earlier in the season, perhaps we are getting better at it.
There were some excellent individual performances. Lo Celso made things tick going forward, with Winks driving on from his deep position. Bergwijn looked very good until he ran out of steam and Lucas and Son were giving it their all. The defence played very well when up against a City side who can take teams apart and deserved their clean sheet, with Hugo playing a big part in that with the penalty save. Dele did well despite being injured for a lot of the match and Ndombele looked positive when he came on. They stepped up in the key moments of the game, whereas City's all-stars didn't.
If Spurs can perform like this is the majority of games until the end of the season we can be up and around the top four, but consistency is going to be the name of the game.
Steven Bergwijn became the 250th player to score on his Premier League debut.
City had 48 shots in the two Premier League games this season
|Match ball sponsors||-|
|Match programme sponsors||-|
|Match shirt sponsors||-|
|How the players did|
|Hugo Lloris||Did everything he needed to and more. Penalty saves are becoming his stick in trade now and the touch he got on Aguero's shot that hit the post was vital. A late push over the bar when he got cramp helped Spurs keep a rare clean sheet.|
|Japhet Tanganga||Good performance from the young defender, who showed good temperament in not diving in and knowing when to make the challenge.|
|Serge Aurier||Gave away the penalty and may have been better standing Aguero up, as he was going away from goal. Otherwise, had a solid game, with some good tackles, headers and interceptions.|
|Toby Alderweireld||Solid again, but had to be careful once Zinchenko had been sent off, as the referee might have looked to even things up. Some very good blocks and seeing players out of the danger area.|
|Davinson Sanchez||Good performance form Dav. Nearly scored an o.g. near the end, but got in the way when City threatened and kept cool under pressure.|
|Giovani Lo Celso||Looking the part in midfield now. Confidence growing now he is getting a run of games and looks dangerous with his passing and willingness to tackle back.|
|Harry Winks||Super game. Winning the ball in midfield and pushing the team forward with his passes. His run out with the ball from a City corner caused Zivchenko to bring him down and get sent off.|
|Dele Alli||Good performance, with some intelligent running and kept his passing effective. Hampered by a tackle from Sterling early on, but managed to continue deep into the second half.|
|Steven Bergwijn||A very impressive debut. Closed down using his pace panicking the City defence and strong on the ball. Took his goal very well and that aspect of his game might come in useful with Kane out injured.|
|Heung-Min Son||His passing had been a bit short, but he didn't stop running and deserved his goal. On a good goal-scoring run.|
|Lucas Moura||Worked hard to shut down City defenders on the ball and worked hard as the lone forward to get things going up top. Had few chances to get near the box.|
|Tanguy Ndombele||Came on for Dele and showed his value to the side. His pass for Son made his finish easier and looked as though he might be ready to resume first team duty after injury.|
|Erik Lamela||Ran with the ball when he came on near the end. Frustrated City.|
|Eric Dier||On for the last four minutes plus added time and did what he was brought on for, to see the game out.|
|What you thought|
|Other scores during this week :|
|Crystal Palace||0||Sheffield United||1||Saturday|
|Leicester City||2||Frank Lampard's Chelsea||2||Saturday|
|Liverpool||4||South Coast Big Club||0||Saturday|
|Manchester United||0||Wolverhampton Wanderers||0||Saturday|
|Newcastle United||0||Norwich City||0||Saturday|
|West Ham United London||3||Brighton & Hove Albion||3||Saturday|
|League Table 2019-20|
|4||Frank Lampard's Chelsea||25||12||5||8||43||34||41||+9|
|13||South Coast Big Club||25||9||4||12||31||46||31||-15|
|15||Brighton & Hove Albion||25||6||8||11||30||37||26||-7|
|18||West Ham United London||25||6||6||13||30||43||24||-13|
Position before match : 7th
Position after match : 5th
Position after the weekend : 5th
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