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Tactical Analysis | How a relentless Spurs side broke the Man City juggernaut

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Tactical Analysis | How a relentless Spurs side broke the Man City juggernaut

Mauricio Pochettino's men came with a clear plan into the game and executed it to perfection condemning City to their first defeat of the season.

Manchester City's dream run at the top of the table was halted by second-placed Tottenham Hotspur at the White Hart Lane as Mauricio Pochettino's men stamped their authority in the entire match with a breathtaking display of attacking football. Aleksandar Kolarov's terrible clearance of Danny Rose's cross from the left resulted in an own goal giving the hosts an early lead in the 9th minute. Dele Alli's goal in the 37th minute following a brilliant effort from Son was enough to end Pep Guardiola's six-game undefeated run with Manchester City.

How they started:

Tottenham Hotspur XI (4-2-3-1): Hugo Lloris; Kyle Walker, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Danny Rose; Moussa Sissoko, Victor Wanyama; Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli, Erik Lamela; Heung-Min Son

Pochettino picked his side which executed his plan to perfection against a City side that tried to overload the attack. Harry Kane's injury meant that Heung-Min Son was compelled to resume his duties as the central striker but did a great job with his brilliant runs down the flanks. Eric Dier's return from injury also looked immaterial as Moussa Sissoko and Victor Wanyama's partnership in the middle proved to be the best combination for Spurs this season.

Manchester City XI (4-1-4-1):Claudio Bravo; Pablo Zabaleta, John Stones, Nicolas Otamendi, Aleksandar Kolarov; Fernando; Jesus Navas, Fernandinho, David Silva, Raheem Sterling; Sergio Aguero

Following the injury to Kevin De Bruyne, Guardiola was forced to field Jesus Navas in the attack but the Spaniard failed to make an impact in the entire game and had to be be replaced by Kelechi Iheanacho at the hour mark. Fernando who was brought in to shield defence failed completely as Guardiola was made to rue his decision to employ Fernandinho further up the pitch.

City's fullbacks destroyed

If someone had to be blamed for City's woeful performance on the afternoon in a decreasing order, then it has to be the fullbacks Aleksandar Kolarov and Pablo Zabaleta. Kolarov's shocking own goal in the 9th minute was actually a consequence of Zabaleta's failure to track Danny Rose's run down the left. Kolarov was also unable to stop either Erik Lamela or Christian Eriksen breaking away with pace, as a result Nicola Otamendi and John Stones were left scampering out of position.

Kolarov's own goal was a consequence of Zabaleta's failure to track Rose's run down the left
However, Kolarov's horrendous clearance cannot be excused as he could have cleared the cross with ease with Spurs' attackers far away from him

Danny Rose's overlap adding to the directness of Son spelled a nightmare for Zabaleta as he was seen chasing shadows during the whole game. Despite being seasoned campaigners, the City defence were exposed for their lack of pace as counter press applied by the Spurs' midfield left City hollow at the back.

Kolarov and Zabaleta's failure meant that the central defenders were in a mess whenever Spurs attacked

Wanyama-Sissoko partnership shines

Sunday's match once again proved how good Tottenham have been in the transfer market this summer as two of their latest acquisitions have outclassed and outmanoeuvred City all over the pitch with their outstanding work rate. Adding to their choking of Fernando's movement with his intensive pressing alongside Wanyama, Sissoko was also instrumental in nullifying Sergio Aguero's threat whenever the Argentine drifted wide.

Sissoko's influence down the right flank

Pep's reluctance to bring back Fernandinho into the pivot position from attack further played into Tottenham's hands as Sissoko and Wanyama made the most out of Fernando's depleted confidence. The pair were also brilliant in speeding up the play in the middle to supply the balls to Dele Alli and Son who were lurking on the flanks. Wanyama went close to score a well-deserved goal in the second half but missed it by few inches but once again justified Pochettino's decision to bring him to the White Hart Lane.

While Waynama was influential with his work rate, Fernando failed completely in the central midfield

De Bruyne and Kane's presence missed dearly

Despite possessing an unbelievable squad depth, Manchester City clearly looked out of ideas without Kevin De Bruyne. Jesus Navas who was brought in for Belgian could hardly muster up a single key pass in the game as he was out muscled by Danny Rose and JanVertonghen during the entire match. While David Silva went missing for most of the match, Aguero was burdened with creative duties which worsened City's problems. The visitors got better once Kelechi Iheanacho came reducing Sergio Aguero's burden in the middle, but it was too late for City to reduce the two-goal deficit.

Tottenham, on the other hand, missed the clinical finishing of their star striker Harry Kane. While Son's performances provide them with an alternate to Kane's attacking threat, they have missed out on numerous scoring chances after putting City's defence to the sword. Despite having the game in their bag, Spurs should have been up by at least three more goals which clearly needs someone to step up to score goals at every opportunity. The hosts were matchless with their pace and dynamism during the entire match but delay in pulling the trigger in the form of Victor Wanyama, Dele Alli and on few occasions even Son's missed chances would surely frustrate Pochettino.


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