The Warm Down: Deja Vu as VAR comes to the rescue late on for Spurs as Pochettino's men fight for a point
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - AUGUST 17: Lucas Moura of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates after scoring during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur at Etihad Stadium on August 17, 2019 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

The Warm Down: Deja Vu as VAR comes to the rescue late on for Spurs as Pochettino's men fight for a point

The Premier League table could be looking so different right now if it was not for VAR's intervention which rightly - but harshly, ruled out Gabriel Jesus' injury-time goal.

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Daniel Huggins

Tottenham Hotspur laboured to an impressive 2-2 draw against Manchester City on Saturday evening at the Etihad Stadium.

Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino defied many people by deploying a narrow 4-1-2-1-2 system at the start of the game, the same system which Aston Villa countered so effectively last week, before the switch to a wider 4-2-3-1 system.

Raheem Sterling's first-half header put City in front before Spurs almost immediately fought back and scored out of the blue as Erik Lamela capitalised on City keeper Ederson's poor positioning.

Sergio Aguero put City back in front helped by Kevin De Bruyne's second assist of the game, but Spurs struck back again through Lucas Moura's header - just moments after coming on.

VAR is Spurs' saviour

It was back in April when Spurs beat City in the Champions League Quarter Final with the help of a last-minute VAR goal reversal which ruled out Sterling's effort in the dying moments.

Four months later, VAR intervened again, giving Spurs a point at one of the toughest places in the world to play.

Aymeric Laporte was adjudged to have had the ball strike his arm, deflecting into the path of Gabriel Jesus who finished emphatically, only for it to be chalked off.

The decision, despite how harsh it was, was a correct one, as the new laws state any handball that contributes to a goal, no matter how accidental or unintentional, requires the goal to be overturned.

The narrow system again proving unimpressive

Last week Villa managed to find ways to exploit the narrow 4-1-2-1-2 the Lilywhites played, and frustrated Spurs by staying compact and closing down spaces that Spurs could have played into.

This week, City found new ways of their own to exploit the narrow system.

The Citizens stretched the pitch, with Sterling and Bernardo Silva hogging the touchlines until they received the ball, where they then would move inside to create space for the overlapping full-backs Kyle Walker and Oleksandr Zinchenko.

Furthermore, City's sharp passing and off the ball movement to make runs in behind or show for the ball caused Spurs real problems as they were often caught napping - and two or three players at a time were being taken out of the game.

City's high press also limited Pochettino's side to the ineffective long ball option to start their own attacks, as there were no wingers to aim at.

Spurs really should consider themselves lucky, as City had 30 shots on goal compared to their mere 3 shots.

Ndombele's immediate impact

New summer signing Tanguy Ndombele scored on his debut last week against Villa - and this week he grabbed himself an assist.

His forward thinking whenever he got onto the ball was impressive and a breath of fresh air - as the rest of the Spurs midfield continued to shuttle the ball from side to side or back towards goal before eventually losing possession.

The former Lyon midfielder had a 100% duel, tackle and dribble success while attaining an 87% pass completion - impressive figures especially against a team of the calibre of Manchester City.

The 22-year-old won ten duels and five tackles with four completed dribbles.

However, the Frenchman definitely looked to be tiring towards the end of the game but despite him not looking 100% match fit, one goal and one assist in his first two games is definitely a good sign of things to come.

'World champions of adapting'

Speaking after the game, Pochettino lauded his team's efforts in winning a point against one of the best sides in world football.

"Of course we are going to start our sixth season at Tottenham and I think we're world champions at adapting ourselves to different circumstances," said Pochettino.

"We are going to be one of the best coaching staffs in the world at adapting to circumstances.

"Today when you play against a team like Manchester City, with all the circumstances we have inside our team, I think 2-2 and a point is massive.

"Credit to the team and everyone who is working hard, trying to keep going, working, trying to not be focused on the circumstances, just positive, faith and hope.

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