Spurs in a City Wonderland
Written By: Robert Halter
After a defeat against West Ham United, another London opponent awaited Manchester City in an early kick off end of September away at Tottenham Hotspur. On nine minutes, a lofted ball by Nicolas Otamendi was knocked on by Sergio Aguero and from distance, Kevin De Bruyne’s effort sailed wide. Then on fourteen minutes, Bacary Sagna linked up with De Bruyne on the left, whose low cross was swept past the target by club captain, Yaya Toure. Three minutes later, Fernandinho found Aguero in space and his crisp strike was palmed behind his near post from Lilywhites captain and shot stopper, Hugo Lloris. Eventually City’s pressure paid off on twenty four minutes, as Toure raced forward from inside his own half and gave the ball to De Bruyne on the right side of the area, who cut inside to drill the ball past Lloris. Spurs pushed forward a minute later as Christian Eriksen provided the platform for Heung-Min Son but he was unable to trouble Willy Caballero in the City goal. But the Citizens went close to increasing their lead on twenty six minutes when De Bruyne’s cross on the right was timed majestically with a measured strike by Raheem Sterling and his stinging connection produced a heroic dive by Lloris, to turn the ball away from the bottom of his near post. On thirty one minutes, Erik Lamela paved the way for Harry Kane, but his shot went past the left post. Within two minutes, City were again on the front foot when Fernandinho’s shot across the face of goal was pushed away by Lloris at full stretch. On forty minutes, Caballero was forced to pull off a save to turn away a half hit strike by Kane, who latched onto a pass across from Lamela. Then three minutes later, Sterling broke down the left flank and Aleksandar Kolarov’s shot was blocked by Lloris. However, just before the break the Lilywhites drew level, as from Kyle Walker’s low cross on the right, Caballero made a point blank save to keep out Son but as the ball came back out, De Bruyne gave away a stray pass to Eric Dier, whose low shot from outside the area, landed inside the left post. A minute into the second half, Sterling combined with Toure, whose soft connection was collected by Lloris. But it was Tottenham that turned the game around on forty nine minutes, after a poor challenge by Otamendi on Kane, and from Lamela’s free kick that was put over on the right, Toby Alderweireld rose in the box with a well timed header to direct the ball into the top right side of the net. Due to a hamstring strain, Toure was replaced by Jesus Navas. On fifty eight minutes, Kolarov put the ball over to Sterling, who was unable to find the right contact to cause Lloris any problems. On the hour mark, after Martin Demichelis escaped another booking for a foul on Lamela, from the resulting free kick, Eriksen’s strike crashed against the top right corner of the crossbar, but Kane snapped up the rebound with a looping strike into the left area of the goal, for his first of the season. Spurs made a change with Nacer Chadli replacing Eriksen. On sixty eight minutes, Bacary Sagna found Navas in space and his well driven shot was tipped over the bar by Lloris. City brought on Samir Nasri for Fernandinho and with just under twenty minutes remaining from a Navas cross that deflected off Dele Alli, a shot was dragged wide by Sterling. On seventy three minutes from a Lamela corner and knock on by Chadli, a volley by Son was ruled out for offside. Then a minute later, Lamela pushed the ball out wide for Kane, who whipped the ball over to bring a full length save from Caballero. The Lilywhites then brought on Clinton Njie for Son and it was an inspired substitution as Njie broke free on seventy eight minutes to set up Lamela, who turned past Demichelis and Cabellero, to tuck the ball away for a Spurs fourth. Near the end City took off Aguero for Patrick Roberts and Spurs replaced Lamela with Tom Carroll. After Alli appended Roberts, a curling free kick by De Bruyne was caught in the gloves of Lloris, on eighty eight minutes to cap a 4-1 win for Spurs.