Tottenham impose defensive quality against Manchester City

Harry Kane, Tottenham Hotspur (Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images)
Harry Kane, Tottenham Hotspur (Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images) /

Tottenham maintain positive record against Manchester City at home with high level of competitiveness at important time of season

Looking to build on Arsenal’s shock defeat against Everton the previous day, Manchester City had the opportunity to reduce their lead in a tough clash against Spurs at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Without Antonio Conte in attendance, Tottenham took to the field with seven changes from their win against Preston. Lloris returned in goal, while Romero, Dier and Davies also came back into the line-up. Perisic drops back to wing-back, while Emerson and Hojbjerg also slot back in.

At the other end, Pep Guardiola made four changes from the FA Cup win against Arsenal. Walker came into the backline in place of the injured John Stones. Silva returned to the line-up in place of Kevin De Bruyne. Alvarez earned a chance in the final third alongside Grealish, Mahrez and Haaland.

Tottenham’s defensive positioning outweighs Manchester City attack

The first half tactically lived up to expectations as Tottenham played primarily in the backfield, organised defensively against Manchester City who worked more on possession.

The Citizens managed a few shots without danger precisely because of the lack of space in the offensive field to exchange many passes in the final third. Little by little, Spurs were advancing their lines, trying to obstruct the exits.

It was precisely in this situation that we had Harry Kane’s historic goal. Hojbjerg won possession on the edge of the City box with pressure on Lewis from a loose Rodri pass and set up the highest scorer in Tottenham history, with space, to score the goal in the bottom-left corner and reach the 200-goal mark in the Premier League.

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City came close to replying before the break when Riyad Mahrez rattled the underside of the bar, finding more space after the 30th minute due to Tottenham’s physical exhaustion. Still, it was not enough before halftime.

Spurs hold off Citzens with one player down thanks to Emerson Royal

Among the problems observed in the first half, the main adjustment in Pep Guardiola’s team should be to fill the void between the midfield and the attacking line, with no options to receive at the back of Tottenham’s midfielders. Numerically, there were four defenders and two midfielders, giving Spurs superiority in controlling the pitch.

The opening moments of the second half maintained the same tempo as the opening stages with City working more on possession without finding the desired spaces in the final third.

However, the match gained a sense of lack of control between minutes 65 to 80 after Tottenham abandoned their defensive strategy and opened up more spaces.

The best scoring opportunity came from Spurs after Kevin De Bruyne missed the time to head the ball and set up a counter-attack. Ederson makes a good stop before Kane gathers the rebound in the inside-left channel.

Tension gripped the final minutes at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium after Romero was shown a red card for sticks out a leg and brings down Grealish on the charge, but Tottenham held on for victory thanks to well-executed strategy and a sensational performance from Emerson Royal.