Manchester City were outplayed on every single inch of the pitch at White Hart Lane Sunday afternoon. Huge credit must go to Tottenham Hotspur players as well as Pochettino who got everything spot on. Guardiola made a few questionable choices in his selection and some of those choices were exposed in the loss. The international break couldn't come at a better time for City as a bit of a rest and time for the manager to sort these mistakes out might be just what they need.
Guardiola has said we’ll learn a lot more about City from their first loss. Well, a draw midweek and a loss Sunday sure have people wondering. City might still be top of the table but did Tottenham provide the blueprint how to beat Pep’s side? The Blues were certainly exposed on numerous areas of the pitch today. City supporters will be praying to the injury gods that Kevin De Bruyne can get healthy as soon as possible, since City haven't looked the same without the Belgian.
Regardless of the outcome, this was the poorest Pep’s side has played this season. That may seem obvious based on the result, but City have played poorly in wins as well. This performance (as you’ll see reflected in the ratings) was abject on many levels. Below I’ve rated each of the fourteen players who saw the field at White Hart Lane. Be sure to comment below with your predictions!
Claudio Bravo: 6.0
Bravo did brilliant on the penalty save and really had no chance on either Spurs goal. His distribution was suspect, but in his defense he rarely had players show for the ball in front of him.
Pablo Zabaleta: 5.0
The Argentine was a surprise after playing midweek, and while hindsight is 20/20, something must be wrong with Sagna despite making the bench. Zabaleta was beaten numerous times and was caught of out position a fair bit as well. Hopefully Sagna can return to the squad after the break.
Nicolas Otamendi: 4.5
Another poor performance from an Argentine, Otamendi had without question his worst game this season. A lot of last years mistakes crept back in today, leaving his feet and giving away dangerous free kicks were the norm on a very difficult day for Otamendi.
John Stones: 6.5
Through the darkness there was a slight beacon of light. Stones was very good on the ball today beating Tottenham’s press with his passing and even his dribbling. The England international did his best to put out the fires all afternoon, but could only do so much.
Aleksandar Kolarov: 3.5
Own goal? Check. Caught out of position for another goal? Check. Poor passing? Check. The dream is over and Aleks Kolarov has returned to Earth. After what was a great start to the season, the Serbian has been extremely poor two games in a row, to the point were not having him might be more beneficial. Clichy must start the next game for City.
The Brazilian was given the tough task of dealing with an always running Tottenham attack and was beat numerous times. Fernando was started in the hopes of brining more defensive stability and the opposite occurred. A team like Tottenham with their pace caused Fernando problems the entire time he was on the field.
Playing further forward than usual Fernandinho was very average. His work ethic was superb, but he offered very little offensively. Once Fernando came off and Fernandinho was moved back to his usual holding role, he played well, but that didnt help City search for a goal.
David Silva: 6.5
The Spaniard was run around by Tottenham’s midfield all afternoon. City’s inability to win the ball and hold onto it really prohibited David Silva from affecting the game in a creative sense. Too many times was Silva forced to drop further back than should be to try and win the ball.
Jesus Navas: 5.0
Navas had a very typical Navas performance. One must think something is wrong with Sane as we know very much what Navas can and can't do. The Spanish winger was moved all around the pitch from the right, to the middle, and eventually out left, but never looked comfortable on the ball.
Raheem Sterling: 4.5
Another candidate for the worst performance this season was Raheem Sterling’s. You’ll find no bigger fan of Sterling than me, but he was very poor today. Constantly giving up the ball with poor first touches and eventually showing his frustration in a few questionable challenges.
Sergio Aguero: 6.0
Tottenham have the best defensively record in the league and it was perhaps at it’s best today. Containing Aguero is no mean feat, but the Belgian duo dominated both in the air and on the ground. Aguero looked more lively with the introduction of Iheanacho, but by then it was too little too late.
Ilkay Gundogan: 6.0
The German looked slow when he first came on, but really grew into the game. Eventually playing a few nice balls, but the disconnect between himself and Silva is crystal clear at the moment.
Kelechi Iheanacho: 6.5
Despite tripping himself on a half chance, the Nigerian was arguably City’s best weapon once he came on. Pep has to consider starting Iheanacho and Aguero after the break.
Leroy Sané: 6.0
No real time to make the German, but he took few nice touches once Tottenham back off. Sitting on the bench as opposed to Navas makes me think either Sane is still suffering an issue or maybe he doesn't quite get Pep’s system in training yet.
So that’s my ratings. I’ve elected not to award a City Man of the Match as no one deserved it to be quite honest. The international break gives Guardiola a fortnight to re-examine the squad and starters, hopefully in two weeks we see City playing beautiful football again when they take on Everton, and then we all know what's coming.