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Tottenham 0 - 0 City

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 14. Joe Hart in action during the Premier League game between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City at White Hart Lane. (Picture by Neil Cole/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 14. Joe Hart in action during the Premier League game between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City at White Hart Lane. (Picture by Neil Cole/Getty Images)

For the first half, City looked anything but a side ready to take that extra step and overhaul the side who had beaten them to fourth position in 2009/10. Pedestrian, disjointed and lacking a coherent attacking game, the very traits that had been brushed off as pre-season rustiness were again very apparent.

The first fifteen minutes in particular where a whirlwind. Tottenham relentless in their attacking pursuit and but for Joe Hart the home side could have been comfortably two or three goals to the good. Hart was exceptional - his shot stopping was superb on a number of crucial occasions but his year at Birmingham also appears to have developed more of an air of authority and command to his game. 

Sticking to the formula that had won them the game back in May, Tottenham approach was clear. Attack down the wings and utilise Peter Crouch's presence. Whilst generally cutting a composed figure, Aleksandar Kolarov had his struggles with Aaron Lennon but not to the extent Micah Richards endured against Gareth Bale. Richards - for all his talk of taking Mancini's criticisms on board - had a torrid time and Jerome Boateng's return from injury cannot come soon enough.

The midfield trio of de Jong, Yaya Toure and Gareth Barry were often overrun by a fluid and pacy opposition and failed to gain a control of the game or maintain possession - suddenly the option of James Milner looked a more appealing prospect. With David Silva and Shaun Wright-Phillips failing to establish themselves, this left Carlos Tevez isolated and we failed to create any meaningful opportunities.

To mitigate the sides woeful opening forty-five minutes though, it is worth remembering there were three debutants on display for City with the side having barely featured together. In contrast, Tottenham's line-up all returned from last season and their familiarity with one another was far more obvious.

What was impressive though during the first half was despite the failings from a technical and tactical standpoint, the side was committed. As good as Hart's saves were, the reactions of the defence were equal to this. Time and again, players were throwing themselves at the ball and blocking shots. No questioning commitment to the cause.

The second half was of course far better. Perhaps Tottenham ran out of steam from their initial salvo but the partnership of Kolo Toure and Vincent Kompany gained in confidence and had the upper hand over Crouch and Defoe to the extent that both were substituted as Harry Redknapp tried in vain to take all three points. The defence was a concern of mine heading into the season (and to that extent I believe Mancini is still interested in Benfica's David Luiz) but the best partnership (statistically at least) in 2009/10 finished the game well.

The switch in formation saw Yaya Toure make a far greater impact and with David Silva deployed more centrally, he showed touches of his undoubted quality. Once he becomes fully immersed in the side, he will undoubtedly be one to watch.

The introduction of Adam Johnson (for the ineffective Shaun Wright-Phillips) also offered more penetration from out wide and City began to fashion opportunities, but not clear opportunities and despite the introduction of Emmanuel Adebayor for the final ten minutes the game ran down with the spoils being shared.

Despite the first half struggles, the day was a positive one. Ending a wretched run at White Hart Lane, the side showed it possesses plenty of fortitude and appetite to battle out results. Undoubtedly there are improvements to be made, but these are not fundamental problems but more a need for the side to gel.

In that regard, Thursday evening in Romania will be an important step but for now, a point was an important return and a foundation to build upon.