Tottenham Hotspur came back from two goals down to rescue a point against Manchester City. The Citizens dominated the game as they looked to have made the perfect come back from their 4-0 defeat to Everton the previous week.
Two uncharacteristic errors from Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris on either side of half time gave City a two goal lead. However, just minutes after City’s second goal Dele Alli met Kyle Walker’s cross to pull Spurs back into the game. Heung Min Son’s 77th minute shot the secured the point for Tottenham.
However, the result came under controversial circumstances as Raheem Sterling was denied a penalty after Walker shoved him in the back. The Manchester City winger was one on one with Lloris, with Walker trailing behind him unable to catch up. The right back consequently decided to shove Sterling in the back unbalancing him as he tried to pull off his shot, which easily found Lloris. The decision then brings on the debate as to whether players should go to ground if they feel any contact to make the decision easier for the referee, which further prompts the discussion as to where the line is for simulation.
Spurs overran by City attack
From the first whistle, Tottenham struggled to keep control over City’s rampant attack. Pep Guardiola’s front five caused unending problems for Tottenham’s three-man defence which in the end resulted in Tottenham moving back to a back four as Eric Dier moved alongside Victor Wanyama to add extra cover for Kevin Wimmer and Toby Alderweireld.
However, this only marginally halted City’s attack which meant that full backs Kyle Walker and Danny Rose were pinned back to their defensive duties. This was a tactic that Mauricio Pochettino had previously used against City back at White Hart Lane. With both teams using their full backs as extra support to help swamp opposition defences it was a key move by City to stop Walker and Rose from running free.
The lack of attacking influence from Walker and Rose meant that Tottenham’s attacking trio Christian Eriksen, Alli and Harry Kane were left isolated higher up the pitch, as Spurs could not get the ball high enough up the pitch for the trio to influence the game. In addition to this the lack of opportunities for Kane, Eriksen and Alli not only cut off a large majority of Tottenham’s goal threat but also meant that the team couldn’t find any rhythm in possession, something that largely influence’s Tottenham’s ability to score goals. When Spurs eventually did manage to get into a passing rhythm they scored two goals.
Tottenham’s defensive problems worsened when Alderweireld was substituted in the 65th minute due to an injury problem. The substitution of Wimmer at half time meant that Spurs no longer had a centre back on the pitch to step in for the Belgium as Pochettino clearly didn’t have enough confidence in youngster Cameron Carter-Vickers to play him of the bench. This resulted in Victor Wanyama playing alongside Dier in defence for the final 25 minutes.