Tottenham vs Manchester City Match Report

Four minutes, 19 seconds. That is how long it took for the most predictable action of the match to occur. For the previous four minutes and 18 seconds, Man City had probably had the ball for all but 10 of those seconds.

But then, from an innocuous free-kick near the halfway line, Tottenham scored.

It was so predictable it was painful. Ndombele somehow had the freedom of the midfield from the quickly taken kick, looked up, and saw Heung-Min Son running in on goal. Son collected. Son, as he always does against Man City, scored.

It looked bad in real time, but in the replays it was somehow worse. The Man City back line were doing their best attempt at each being within a different postcode, and Son’s job was made even easier by Ederson needlessly charging out of his goal and making it all too simple to slot the ball home. One-nil. Already, it looked a long way back.

The problem in attack this season with this City team has been very simple. In the middle third, incredible. Fast, agile, one-touch football played by some of the best players in the world. Then it gets to within 20 yards of the box and…

Therein lies the problem. What next? Man City had 11 shots in the first half. Lloris caught two and the rest were aimed into various parts of Eric Dier and the empty Tottenham seats behind the goal. His first save of note came after 89 minutes with a routine save from Ruben Dias, with what was the 21st shot aimed at his goal.

The moment it could have swung the other way came just before the half hour mark. A cross found Gabriel Jesus, bounced to Aymeric Laporte 16 yards out, and he absolutely nailed it in the bottom corner. Clearly, he should have been giving shooting tips to others. Equaliser, then?

Unfortunately for City fans, it looked like handball from Jesus. When Mike Dean went to his VAR monitor, it looked even more like handball from Jesus. Off his arm, then his chest, then Laporte’s left boot. Mike Dean, correctly, ruled it out.

Unless you are Fernando Llorente, those always get ruled out.

At half-time, from previous experience, it seemed a pretty safe idea to predict two-nil Tottenham at the final whistle. Lo and behold, 65 minutes in, the second most predictable action of the match occurred.

Riyad Mahrez, under no real pressure, gave the ball away deep in the Tottenham half with Kyle Walker ahead of him. Instantly, there was trouble. One quick ball into Harry Kane, and suddenly the counter was in full flow. Kane waited, waited, and then there was Giovanni Lo Celso, who had been on the pitch for a whole 35 seconds, charging through the vacant right-back berth. Ederson, not wanting to be outdone, charged out also. Lo Celso simply slotted it home. Two shots, two goals.

In the final 25 minutes, you might expect City to rouse an all-out attempt to get back into it. Nothing materialised. Until that late Dias header, Spurs were the better team and had easily ticked down the clock.

By full time, the shot count read four against 22. Last season, in two games, it was five against 49. Tottenham gained four points from those games. Today, many fans could have been forgiven for a sense of déjà vu.

Mourinho, as others have in recent times, set up his team to nullify and counter quickly. Once again, Man City could not break down a wall of defenders. The title is not over for them yet, but it looks a distant shout already to predict them turning things around.

Tottenham march on. With their attacking options, and a new defensive stability, could Mourinho deliver a title? In this, the most unpredictable of seasons, who knows. But he has certainly done it before.

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