After conceding 15 goals in our last three meetings with Manchester City, this was certainly an improvement. Not only did we restrict our opponents to one goal, we were somewhat unlucky to finish up losing.
Spurs had 54% of possession and out-shot our opponents 21 to 15. Some of those were good chances too.
The team was pretty much the one Pochettino has played for most of the second half of the season. I was disappointed not to see some of our fringe players given a chance. With Ryan Mason looking tired and off form, surely Stambouli, Paulinho or Dembele deserved an opportunity?
Early on Tottenham looked lively. Eric Dier went close with a free header from a corner in the third minute. Moments later Lamela played in Kane who dragged his shot just wide.
The City goal was a real sucker punch. Spurs had brought their big defenders up for a corner. The ball ended up in Hart’s grasp and he quickly fed David Silva. With Tottenham players scrambling to get back into position, Silva fed Aguero, so often our nemesis. The Argentine striker fired the ball into the net.
It was a fantastic counter attack but there were opportunities to stop it. Lamela backed off Silva giving him time to pick his pass. Mason completely missed Aguero’s run. Should we have committed so many players forward for the corner anyway given the pretty small chance of scoring from one?
Fernandinho had two chances from the edge of the area after more clinical counter attacks but it was the home side who dominated play. Mason missed when one-on-one with Hart after a great ball from Harry Kane. Hart then made another great block as the Spurs striker found himself through after another searching pass from Dier.
Paulinho came on in the 69th minute and made a surprisingly positive impact. He added energy to a tired looking midfield. Lacking in confidence of late, he often seems to hide, not wanting the ball – here he was demanding it. He made a strong case for inclusion next week against Hull.
Some good work from the Brazilian led to a shot at goal for the otherwise ineffective Soldado. Another move created from a driving run by Paulinho led to a great chance for the equaliser. Unfortunately his shot was too close to Hart.
In recent games it has seemed like Manchester City’s attack was like Kryptonite to the Spurs defence. Here there were chances for the visitors on the break – Bony missed one of the better ones – but there was never the feeling that Tottenham would capitulate.
Special mentions to Dier and Rose – I thought both fullbacks were excellent. Lamela too had one of his better games in a Spurs shirt with two shots at goal and six chances created. Some of the other players are starting to look tired after a long season.
As time expired Lamela had a bouncing shot saved by the excellent Hart. It would have been a deserved point.
Was this a good Spurs performance? Should Paulinho start next weekend? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.