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City 1 - 3 Tottenham

Shaun Botterill

City have put a lot of pressure on their selves this season, so it is quite a delight to see them play loose and comfortable. Scoring an early goal against a tough Spurs side certainly helped City’s confidence going through the game. After a beautiful display of ability by Tevez, I thought for sure we would extend our lead at some point in the fist half. We did not, but we had plenty of opportunities to do so and sadly, confidence can be overwhelmed by fitness or lack of it in City’s case.

I was fully prepared to give the defense tons of credit for the job they did, especially in the first half. As soon as Tottenham got close to the box, our back four would push them back to the midfield. But, as it became apparent earlier in the week, the back four seemed collectively exhausted. That is not an excuse; it is simply my impression from our collapse. That, paired with a fresh and talented attack of Bale and Defoe (because we all know Adebayor is a laughing stock), led to the Spurs scoring 3 goals in a matter of minutes.

Bale was given his first start since injuring his ankle during Champions League competition, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous to see that. My fears came to fruition late in the second half, as our defense cease to exist for the final 10 minutes. Bale not only served the cross to the back post for Dempsey, but also later scored on a display of his pace, quality and finishing ability. Boy would it be great to see him wearing sky blue next season, eh?

Funny to hear every announcer say “if you’re a City supporter, it must really pain you to see what your side could be if they played like this all year.” I don’t think they are aware that we have been saying that all season, we know our class and quite haven’t lived up to it. A lot will be said in the coming days about Mancini’s lack of urgency with his substitutions in today’s game, and then nit picking of the entire season as well. Did he wait awhile to put on Sinclair today? Sure. But, given his healthy options on the bench, it would be a struggle for anyone to make a quick and effective decision when your teams is crumbling in front of you. I have been in the camp “Sinclair should be getting more time” and today I wish RM had put him on a lot sooner, especially with Dzeko playing like a second grader in a rec league game.

We pretty much displayed our “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” in the full 90 minutes today, but like I have said, there is always the FA Cup. Small victories are better than none. Full credit to Tottenham when they saw opportunities to attack they did, and with force and efficiency. For those who know me, this is hard for me to admit because I really don’t like Spurs and can’t give an exact reason, but I do.

I will try and be judicious as possible, except for Dzeko, I wrote that one immediately after he was subbed out, so there’s that.

Tevez (7) – I feel so bad for him today. He showed his class through his setting up of Nasri’s goal, but being paired up with Dzeko has to be frustrating. When he is paired with Aguero, they work so well together, but when either one plays with Dzeko, his skills don’t match well.

Dzeko (2) – I usually like to use the standard set by the SAT scoring, and give players an automatic “3” rating for showing up. But today, Dzeko, although he was in the lineup he was definitely not part of the game. I don’t have the stats, but I’m pretty sure he didn’t complete any passes, and if he did they weren’t in meaningful attackin positions.

Yaya (4) – Not a fan of the way he played today, especially his attitude. Every time he is carded it is for dissent, as a former wise-ass player I know how to get under officials skins, but he is a professional and should know better.

Milner (6) – Milner had another strong performance, supplying the cross that led to the one-time effort from Nasri. Terrible to see him off due to a tight hamstring, hopefully it is just a day-to-day thing; he has been crucial for City s of late.

Nasri (5) – After his goal he certainly turned back into the quiet, uninvolved midfielder he has been for most of the season. I am glad to see that his confidence is growing though, but I fear it may be too little, too late for the Frenchmen.

Barry (6) – Played well in the first half, much like Joe Hart, but I believe that once Milner was taken out, his game went down. I put most of the blame on Lolarov for that, though.

Zaba (7) – Speaking of feeling bad for a player, Zaba is always at the top of my list after a loss. He was probably the freshest of all of our defensive options after seating out our midweek match against Wigan. He made tackle, after tackle and, along with Kompany, has a sense of calm when on the ball.

Nasty (6) – Good start for the young boy after a disappointing (for me) week where he wasn’t named to the top newcomer list. He kept Bale at bay… in the first half, closing him down when he got near the box.

Kompany (6) – You can’t be perfect all the time, but when Kompany had his chances, he was more than up to the task. His ability to clear the ball when crossed in continues to amaze me because his head is just a magnet then. Where he faltered today was in communication with Hart, especially late in the game a true sign of things to come.

Clichy (5) – He had the tough task of containing Bale, I say containing because that is truly the best anyone can do. You could tell late his fitness eluded him, and the Spurs midfielder abused him.

Hart (4) – First half = Man of the match, second half = yikes. Not that it was totally his fault, but when your job is to stop shots and they score 3, I can’t give you a great rating. Bright side, he showed his real ability in the first half and I was utterly impressed.

Lolarov (2) – His name says all I need too. I just want to know, as Sonic so eloquently (word of the day) put it on twitter, if Garcia was put on instead City would’ve won.

Sinclair (N/A) – Took to long to put him on today, little upset with RM here.

Lescott (N/A)