Manchester City found themselves on the wrong side of the scoreline once against at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium as Spurs held onto a 1-0 win courtesy of a Harry Kane goal, missing the opportunity to close the gap on Arsenal at the top of the league following their defeat to Everton on Saturday.
Pep Guardiola made a number of changes to the XI that faced Arsenal in the FA Cup. The injured John Stones was replaced by Kyle Walker, while Kevin De Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan were replaced by Julian Alvarez and Bernardo Silva. Ederson also returned replacing Stefan Ortega. Manuel Akanji, Nathan Ake and Rico Lewis filled out the back four. Rodri again sat in front of the defence in midfield with Bernardo next to him. Jack Grealish and Riyad Mahrez were once again out wide, while Julian Alvarez started just behind Erling Haaland up top.
City started the game positively, and it looked like it may have actually been their time in this stadium as they made a dominant, controlled start while creating a few chances. A particularly positive action in the 13th minute very nearly led to a Grealish chance at the far post, but Emerson was there to deny the ball reaching him. Not long after, the typical story City are used to at this stadium started to play out again as Rodri held onto the ball for far too long before attempting a pass to Lewis in midfield that was swiftly intercepted, leading to a Kane goal. 1-0 Spurs.
After the goal, City seemed to drop in level significantly, and the chances dried up for the remainder of the first half bar a couple of chances from range. Spurs had a major chance to double their lead with four consecutive attempts on goal but the City defenders were able to block and eventually clear the ball. Perhaps City's closest chance to scoring a goal came just before the halftime whistle as Mahrez saw his attempt hit the crossbar, denying the potential equaliser. The second half started extremely slow; there weren't many chances for either team, and the game had been massively slowed down. In the 59th minute, Guardiola decided to make a change by bringing Mahrez off for De Bruyne, with Bernardo moved out wide. It didn't take long after De Bruyne's arrival for the pace of the game to be turned up significantly. In the 64th minute, City won a freekick which led to a chance for Alvarez that was blocked and the subsequent corner led to an Akanji chance, but again no luck.
City actually started building pressure and putting Spurs under some stress, with Alvarez coming the closest, firing a chance just past the top corner in the 68th minute. However, not too long after this, the consequences of sacrificing control for chaos – in an attempt to try and make something happen – started showing, with the game becoming very end-to-end. Kane found himself with another big chance in the 70th minute, but Ederson denied him. In the 76th minute, Spurs had yet another chance after countering City's corner but once again, it lead to nothing. The rest of the second half continued with the same end-to-end game, with Cristian Romero finding himself getting a second yellow card in the 87th minute, leaving Spurs with just ten men. City pushed to find an equaliser but weren't getting any luck which showed when a 93rd-minute VAR review for a potential City penalty was denied after a potential foul from Hugo Lloris. It was the same old story City have become very accustomed to at Spurs' new stadium as they once again lost, failing to score a single goal. City were sloppy at times and struggled to create anything for Haaland while being their own worst enemy by conceding through a simple mistake.
Man of the Match
Despite the poor performance from the majority of the squad, I actually felt like Grealish worked his absolute hardest to try and get something out of the game. He won foul after foul and provided a fair bit of trouble down Spurs' right-hand side. His defensive work rate was also exceptional, and he can be largely credited for helping keep the scoreline to just 1-0.
Ederson - 6 Walker - 7 Akanji - 6 Ake - 6 Lewis - 7 Rodri - 5 Bernardo - 6 Mahrez - 6 Grealish - 7 Alvarez - 6 Haaland - 6 Substitutions: De Bruyne - 7, Gundogan - N/A
Written by: @BPFoden_
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