close
close

Tottenham Hotspur 0-2 Manchester City: Spurs couldn’t do Arsenal any favours

A decisive match. That was the headline surrounding Tottenham Hotspur’s final home game of the season against Manchester City. A Spurs win meant a likely Premier League title for Arsenal, while City managed to take their destiny into their own hands with a win at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Spurs fans were understandably mixed in their feelings about this match, torn between wanting to see their team take home three points with the Champions League technically still in play and not wanting to see their rivals from north London taking home the League trophy.

Yves Bissouma was the next Spurs player to be hit with injury, ruled out for the rest of the season, and that led to some interesting changes in the starting line-up. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg came into the XI in what looked like a similar change, but with Rodrigo Bentancur and Radu Drăgușin also earning starts in what was a slightly unusual tactical reshuffle by Ange Postecoglou.

An early change from Hojbjerg created the first chance of the match. The Dane found Brennan Johnson on the right with an accurate pass before the Welshman pulled Bentacur back at the top of the box. His shot was well struck but saved by Ederson. A tight clearance from Hojbjerg almost created a goal for City at the other end, but Guglielmo Vicario was the keeper to pull it off this time with an excellent save.

As the half wore on, Tottenham controlled most of the ball, with City still looking dangerous. However, neither team could create clear-cut chances, with Spurs often breaking dangerously but unable to find the final pass, while City picked apart the Spurs defense on several occasions only to be flagged for offside in the build-up.

The second half started much like the first, with chances for both sides. Hojbjerg delivered the ball into his own box, Kevin de Bruyne forcing a brilliant save from Vicario; before Son was played in by Brennan Johnson, with the Spurs captain cutting across the City box to meet the Welshman’s cross but being promptly smothered by Ederson. However, it was City who opened the scoring in a short time. Bernardo Silva played in Kevin de Bruyne down CIty’s right before the Belgian slotted across goal for a tap-in for Erling Haaland.

Postecoglou made an immediate change, bringing on Dejan Kulusevski for Bentancur and signaling a change to Spurs’ more familiar 4-3-3 formation. Spurs continued to look dangerous, not just for City’s goal but for Ederson as well, with Cristian Romero stretching to reach a curling ball behind the City backline. He rattled the City keeper, picking up a yellow for his troubles and prompting the Brazilian to be substituted as a precaution in case of concussion.

Both defenders soon came to the fore, with Kulusevski played in by Johnson and weaving his way past the City defense before unleashing a shot. New City’s goalkeeper Stefan Ortega did well to go big and prevent an equaliser, while Ederson cut a dejected figure on the bench. More substitutions for Spurs meant Giovani Lo Celso and Oliver Skipp saw minutes late on as Spurs still looked for a way back into the game and Spurs could have Son spurning a huge chance. Manuel Akanji gave the ball away under pressure to Brennan Johnson and Son went one-on-one in a situation where you would normally expect him to score. Instead, sub-keeper Ortega made a huge save and City soon found a second.

A quick change from Phil Foden found Jeremy Doku in space against Pedro Porro. Doku showed quick feet to fool the Spaniard, who brought Doku down inside the 18-yard box. The referee pointed to the spot and Haaland dispatched the penalty to give City a two-goal advantage. A late Premier League debut was handed to 16-year-old Mikey Moore, which must have been hugely exciting for the youngster. Unfortunately, Moore didn’t get many chances to get involved late on as City cruised to a 2-0 win.

SIDE

  • In some ways, this result ended up being the best of both worlds: a fairly solid performance from Spurs with some interesting tactical changes, but with Arsenal arguably denied a Premier League title. Unfortunately, Spurs’ loss also spells the end of any Champions League hopes.
  • MIKEY MOORE ON HIS PREMIER LEAGUE DEBUT!
  • The initial setup was a really interesting one from Postecoglou. Out of possession, Spurs were nominally still in their 4-2-3-1 / 4-3-3 formation, with Pape Matar Sarr occupying the striker role. In possession, however, things got funky. It was somewhat of a fluid 4-2-2-2 with James Maddison and Sarr both almost in false 9 roles but also switching with the other midfielders who would also make forward runs.
  • Overall, the approach worked quite well, with Spurs controlling most of the first half and City struggling to track down the Spurs runners. The final ball continues to be a problem, though.
  • The new-look background line worked pretty well, but had some issues. Both Dragusin and van de Ven were guilty of drifting at times, with the Romanian sometimes losing his footing and Micky at times apparently forgetting he was playing left-back, leaving the flank wide open.
  • At least now the discourse about us losing on purpose can stop.
  • Relegated Sheffield United are next to end the season.
  • COYS!