City 1 Tottenham 2

Apologies for not having time to get a preview up in time - you can click here for the one I did for The Observer.

The unbeaten home run comes to an end, but perhaps more disturbing was the manner in which it was surrendered, something that surely doesn't bode all that well as we approach the half-way mark of a season which suddenly looks to have a far more negative air about it than prior to Sunday's defeat.

I don't think it is a knee-jerk reaction to the Tottenham game, but it was noticeable that there was not a great deal of positivity in and around the ground. I won't harp on too much about the game as I'm a little later posting up than usual, but suffice to say it was a game of two halves - one half abysmal and one half poor. The team - quite rightly, have been slammed from all quarters (fans, manager, media and themselves) for the first half showing which was as bad as I can recall, but given some faint praise for coming out in the second half and giving it a go.

For me though, that had as much to do with Tottenham deciding the game was already in the bag, and concentrating more on that last bit of Christmas shopping they still had to get. The first half truly was awful. We were second to everything, could not control passes, allowed so much space and time to Tottenham that even a half decent side (which they are) would punish us.

And punish us they did. The first goal was poor defending all round, in that the defence allowed Davenport to win what should have been no more than a flick on, but Weaver's poor positional play saw the ball loop over him for a 1-0 scoreline. The second goal was symptomatic of our first half showing. Carved open by some free flowing football, a training ground pass was chipped across the edge of the box for Huddlestone (looks an improvement on Carrick for me) to drive home. Could their have been questions asked of Weaver?

Richards had already departed - clearly unfit, and Pearce withdrew the lamentable Samaras at the break. True, we did work harder and began to create a little more, but as usual the end product was not there due to a lack of quality. Barton - the only spark in midfield, managed to pull a goal back with a neat finish from Dickov's well placed cross.

We may well have had a penalty late on as well as Barton went down under a challenge from Malbranque. I wasn't convinced at the time, and having seen replays later, it would have been a 'generous' decision, and one which we may have seen us get something we really didn't deserve.
With other results over the weekend, we are now back looking over our shoulders - and following a tough encounter against Bolton this weekend, we have Sheffield United and West Ham - two teams who suddenly look 'on the up'.

A Merry Christmas?

Opposition view:
Harry Hotspur

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