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Spurs v Man City, 29.01.14

BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE
WEDNESDAY 29TH JANUARY, 2014
(7.45 PM)
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1 (0) MANCHESTER CITY 5 (1)

Spurs scorer:-
Capoue, 59

City scorers:-
Aguero, 15
Toure, 51 (pen)
Dzeko, 53
Jovetic, 78
Kompany, 89

Attendance:- 36,071

Referee:- Mr. A. Marriner
Assistants:- Mr. S. Ledger & Mr. M. Perry
Fourth official:- Mr. J. Moss

Teams :-
Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Lloris, Walker, Dawson (Capt.), Chiriches, Rose; Dembele (sub Capoue, 46), Bentaleb; Lennon, Eriksen (sub Holtby, 83), Sigurdsson (sub Naughton, 55); Adebayor

Subs not used:- Friedel; Chadli; Soldado, Defoe

Booked:- Naughton (foul on Navas)

Sent off:- Rose, 49 (foul preventing goal-scoring opportunity)(This red card was subsequently rescinded on appeal to the FA)

Man City (4-2-3-1):- Hart; Zabaleta, Kompany (Capt.), Demichelis, Clichy; Fernandinho, Toure (sub Nastasic, 64); Navas, Dzeko, Silva (sub Kolarov, 80); Aguero (sub Jovetic, 45)

Subs not used:- Pantilimon; Lescott; Rodwell; Negredo

Booked:- Toure (foul on Dembele), Demichelis (foul on Adebayor), Ageuro (Dissent), Zabaleta (foul on Adebayor)

Marriner’s penalty award starts City tidal surge

I predicted defeat (and was criticised for that), but not another thrashing. Mind you, as far as the score was concerned, Spurs were still within touching distance of Manchester City until referee Andre Marriner (prompted by his assistant Mr. Ledger) awarded a penalty for an alleged foul by Danny Rose on Dzeko, as the City forward was about to pull the trigger from an angle on the right of the 6 yard area. For good measure, Danny Rose, who had been giving a spirited performance at left back, was sent off for preventing a goal-scoring opportunity. Replays show that Rose did get a touch on the ball first, but it was a tackle from behind, and I suspect any Spurs appeal will fall upon deaf ears. It will be a one-match suspension, in any case.

Rose’s departure, and Ya-Ya Toure’s routine conversion of the spot kick ended any prospect of this game being competitive, although Spurs did rally with a goal by substitute Capoue after Dzeko had already extended the lead. In truth though, Spurs had been well and truly out-classed from the kick-off, and were doing well to be only 1-0 down at half-time. Mr. Marriner and his officials had already upset home fans when Michael Dawson’s prod home at the back post had been disallowed (wrongly it turns out) for offside for a free kick by Christian Eriksen. Spurs fans are no friends of Mr. Marriner who in the past invented a goal for Frank Lampard at Stamford Bridge when Gomes had in fact stopped the shot on the line.

With key players such as Vertonghen, Paulinho and Sandro still not match fit following injury, Tim Sherwood made just one change to his team with Sigurdsson replacing Chadli, and playing on the left side of a midfield three behind Adebayor. I have to say I did not notice Sigurdsson in the mix in this game. Similarly, I felt that Nabil Bentaleb was well out of his depth in this game, and feel that Sherwood should have eaten humble pie from the outset by fielding Capoue. Capoue did get on at the start of the second half, replacing Mousa Dembele who had been injured in the clash with Ya-Ya Toure, which brought the City player a yellow card. Spurs fans were baying for a second yellow for Toure, when Rose won the foul on the edge of the box, which led to Dawson’s disallowed effort.

Statistics (and truth) show that Spurs were brushed aside by the City tidal surge, just like a piece of flotsam in the ocean. We have lost 11-1 on aggregate over the two league games. That’s even worse than the aggregate League Cup defeat of West Ham, about which so many Spurs fans gloated. Spurs are still in the hunt for a Champions League spot, but this City side are a class apart from any team we have encountered in recent years, and could easily win all three domestic trophies, if not the Champions League.

Aguero was such a force for City, and it came as a relief to Spurs to see him replaced before the interval with a hamstring strain, which brought a grimace to Mr Pellegrini’s face. Aguero was supported by a fearsome trio of Navas, Dzeko, and Silva. Silva started nominally on the left, but was to be found anywhere across the line. After only 4 minutes, Aguero worked his way round his right side of the Spurs defence, hitting a right foot shot that left Lloris standing, and which rebounded off the bar. A minute later Silva slipped a clever ball to Aguero, but Spurs managed to successfully defend this situation.

Dzeko got the better of Kyle Walker on the left, exchanging passes with Aguero, before hitting a shot over the bar from a tight angle on the left. City’s first goal was an inevitability. Again Silva fired the goal, with a fine pass short to Aguero inside the Spurs defence. Aguero beat Lloris with a quite exquisite touch, placing his shot inside the far post to the despair of Spurs’ skipper Michael Dawson.

City were rampant, and Spurs hadn’t had a shot on goal yet. Navas won the ball in midfield and fed it to Dzeko, who shot on sight, but thankfully over. Dzeko had a number of chances later in the game, which he spurned. The score could have been even greater.

Spurs at last forged a decent chance after 18 minutes. It stemmed from a Lloris clearance, and some mis-control by Toure. Adebayor’s shot was deflected for a corner, from which another Adebayor effort was blocked. City reverted to type, and would have gone two up, were it not for an excellent Lloris save, diving to his left to field an Aguero header from Clichy’s cross. After another City corner, and another Aguero header was cleared off the line at the back post by Danny Rose, Ageuro fired over in the ensuing play. Rose was inspiring Spurs in attack with some determined play down the left flank. He got to the line and won a corner, then won a battle with Navas, before sending the ball accurately to Adebayor, who could not control the pass.

Then came the foul upon Rose; Eriksen’s free kick and Dawson’s disallowed goal. A subsequent Eriksen free kick was cleared as far as Dembele, who pulled a shot just the wrong side of Joe Hart’s left post. Spurs had finished the half in decent shape, and looked ready to give City a decent fight. They started the second half with some good possession play and training ground flicked passes. The move ended with Rose’s cross to Eriksen, whose effort failed.

All hope of a come-back was lost though, with that penalty decision and the red card. Ya-Ya Toure clinically sent Lloris the wrong way, and Spurs had a mountain to climb. Initially, Sherwood adjusted the defence with Capoue beside Dawson and Chiriches at left back, adopting a 4-4-1 formation. It became 3-0 when Dzeko fired home after Silva’s effort was either saved or hit the post. Now Naughton came on for Sigurdsson and Chiriches reverted to central defence, with Capoue back in his intended midfield place.

Capoue did get a goal back for Spurs after a corner won by Lennon. Dawson was in the mix in the centre of the area, but it was Capoue who fired home. A City player got a hand to the ball on its way to the net, but presumably was not punished because the goal was scored anyway. Spurs were briefly fired by the goal, and so was the home crowd, but it became one-way traffic again, with wave after wave attacks by the Sky Blue shirts.

City’s fourth goal was scored by Jovetic, who had been afforded too much space by Kyle Walker. Jovetic simply cut inside hitting a shot which was quite cruelly deflected by Chiriches’ feet, beating Lloris inside his left post. The final thrust was delivered by City Captain Vincent Kompany. A Dzeko shot had been blocked but Kompany was there to pick up the spoils. He will surely be lifting a trophy or three before the season is out, as Spurs battle for domestic scraps such as fourth place.

One can choose to simply admire the Manchester City goal machine, or one can become depressed about the state of the English game as it affects we Spurs fans. We just cannot compete with those at the top table of our game, and I choose the latter path of depression. One day, perhaps the oil will run out, and Manchester City will become a lower tier team again. That day is probably as far away as Spurs chances of any form of domestic glory. I seriously wonder if I can afford to continue to pay through the nose for the dubious privilege of supporting perennial “also-rans”. Norwich want £50 off us for the game at Carrow Road in February. Cash rich Premier League teams continue to price fans like me out of the game.

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