In what is becoming an annual event, Manchester City once more fell to Tottenham Hotspur as the home side ran out 1-0 winners against the blues. Harry Kane’s 15th-minute goal was enough to secure all three points for the North London side despite that being their only shot on target throughout the whole of the first half.
The blues started the match well and pressured the home side from the outset but, as usual, they concede with the first shot on target and never fully recovered. Riyad Mahrez hit the bar and Jack Grealish was again outstanding, but, once more, the blues failed to score at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Pep Guardiola made several changes once again from the side that beat Arsenal in the FA Cup, but the misfiring side just couldn’t manage to hit the back of the goal. The blues were denied two, admittedly not very clear, penalties. It would have been harsh had either been given but even then, they are likely to have been missed. In fact, if the blues were still playing, it’s doubtful they would have scored.
In true typical City style, the blues gifted their hosts the opening goal. Rodri’s pace to Rico Lewis caught the youngster napping and Spurs nipped in. The ball falling to Kane to score, break Jimmy Greaves’ long-standing record as Spurs all-time record goalscorer and, in doing so, ensure that it gets mentioned each and every game until he retires.
It was a golden opportunity to close the gap on leaders Arsenal, who had lost 1-0 at Everton 24 hours earlier. That left City just five points behind the Gunners but, as history has shown time and again, that means absolutely nothing as the blues prefer to make things difficult for themselves.
However, on this occasion, it’s looking doubtful they’ll recover from it. No, we’re not being pessimistic, just realistic. There’s just something not right about the City team at the moment. Much has been made of Joao Cancelo’s move to Bayern Munich on transfer deadline day, with Bernardo Silva also rumoured to be looking for a way out. Clearly, something going on in the background is having a detrimental effect on the team.
With the City of the past, they would have seized the opportunity to take three points following the Arsenal result. They would have got something, anything from the game. But, despite dominating possession, City still struggled in front of goal.
Erling Haaland was deprived of service against a defence he could feed on for a good few hours. Manager Pep Guardiola made a baffling decision to leave his chief supplier, Kevin de Bruyne, on the bench while the issue with Phil Foden is still unresolved. Guardiola’s insistence on playing Manuel Akanji ahead of both Ruben Dias and Aymeric Laporte is just as baffling. It seems that either City don’t want a third league title, or they just want the challenge of catching Arsenal from an impossible position.
Whatever the problem is, Pep needs to get this sorted soon. With Arsenal on the horizon, we can’t afford to drop any more points, especially against our nearest rivals.