Tag Archives: Manchester City

Tottenham Hotspur 1 – 5 Manchester City: Match Report

28 Aug

Our worst home result in some years. I don’t think I have ever left White Hart Lane feeling quite so disappointed as I did this-afternoon.  Let’s just get this out of the way; I warn you though, there are really no positives that can be taken from this game.

Brad Friedel started in goal once again and unusually, amazingly even, has conceded 5 in this game, a total of 8 in his last 2 and I can’t really find fault with him. I would guess that if he maintains this form, Friedel’s amazing unbroken run of games will not be at risk of ending. On the other hand, there was one or two that perhaps Gomes, with his ridiculous reach might have gotten a fingertip to, but in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t really matter.

I sat down and squinted at the various players warming up and my first thought was that they must have changed the training routine and mixed in the subs. Kranjčar, Modrić, Bale and Lennon in the same midfield? Surely not. Apparently though, yes. In a move that Harry is bound to have considered bold and adventurous, the rest of us considered to be stupid, short sighted and suicidal. Ultimately it was Harry who was proven wrong. He has told us since, that 2 hours before the game Luka Modrić asked not to be considered. Now not only is it astonishing that this has been made public, it is also odd that Harry decided to tell us having played the little Croatian. (If you are so inclined, you can assume that I am using the word Croatian in place of the words ‘rat-faced prick’. I kindof am, kindof not.) I wonder if this would have been made public had this gamble paid off and led us to a win; we shall never know. It does feel a little like one of Harry’s excuses though.

What we learned from this game is that now, after 2 or 3 years of posturing, Manchester City now really are the real deal. They also answered the question about their approach away from home, particularly whether they would hold back against a ‘top’ team. It was a categorical ‘no’.

As we all know, Manchester City have an embarrassment of riches up front, so much so they have been willing to subsidise Emmanuel Adebayor’s move to a club they have actively avoided dealing with in the past. On this occasion it was Edin Dzeko who took the opportunity to shine. In terms of the scoreline at least it was Edin Dzeko v Tottenham and Dzeko won, but there is so much more to it. Dzeko’s first two goal was a poacher’s effort, with City exploiting space down the Spurs left to cross in across the face of goal, leaving the ball on a plate. The next a deft header underlining Dzeko’s quality, becoming increasingly evident as the season progresses. His third was another tap in before he eventually showed he can score from outside the box with a curling shot into the far left corner of the goal. Before that Aguero also got his name on the score-sheet with the easiest of all the tap ins, laid on by Yaya Toure after a powerful run through the Spurs defence. Rumour has it that we tried for Aguero at the end of January’s transfer window, too little too late, but more concerningly agreed a deal with City for Dzeko. The suggestion is that City were so disappointed with their Bosnian striker that they were willing to cut their losses to the tune of £10m, however, Tottenham were unable to meet Dzeko’s wage demands and the move never got close to completion.

Spurs’ goal came via Kaboul from a van der Vaart corner. With that bringing the scoreline to 4-1, the idea of a fightback seemed fanciful at best. When another goal failed to materialise and van der Vaart limped off injured and straight down the tunnel, kicking a bottle in frustration, it was clear the game was long gone. This happened towards the end of the game (I couldn’t see the clock to know exactly when) and it left us with 10 men and Rafa took what little spirit and fight that remained down the tunnel with him. Spurs, at 1-0 down did have a period of ascendency and looked like they could even the scoreline at 1-0 down, but Dzeko’s well taken second goal ended those hopes.

Perhaps the only bright spot was Jake Livermore, when he came on he added drive and impetus to a feeble midfield and despite his youth and inexperience, looked the most willing to take players on and change the game. Bale and Lennon both look strangely dis-interested and during the first half at least, the diminutive Croatian (you know who I mean) was possibly the most positive of our midfielders.

As I write this reports are breaking that we have agreed a deal for Scott Parker, who can add a dimension to our midfield, however, it seems that it comes at the expense of Jake Livermore. I certainly hope this isn’t the case, Livermore has been one of the few bright spots, not only in this game, but in our rapidly self destructing season and he looks like he may have a real future at the club. A loan I could just about stomach, but anything else would prove to me that Harry Redknapp is interested what is good for him now, not what is good for Tottenham Hotspur in the long term.

Defensively it’s hard to pick fault with any individuals, with Dawson and Kaboul both playing ok, but as a unit, work is clearly needed, Sandro is sorely missed too, hopeful we can also add some steel to protect the back line.

We did have chances. Bale should have scored, with the ball on a plate. Defoe had chances at range and van der Vaart might also have scored. In reality, though, we just didn’t have enough of the ball, nor the attacking drive to tip the game in our favour. I touched on Lennon and Bale, but I will admit to being shocked by their approach in comparison with this time last year. When Assou-Ekotto had the ball (the best of the starting 11) Bale last season would be on his toes and running towards the space. Today he stood waiting in his own half or was moving centrally, where he was surrounded. Bale’s quality is in his ability to beat players onto the ball, in space; he is no longer playing to his strengths. Lennon too seems unable to take players on as he once did. I wonder whether these players, when their places in the team were under threat, were able to step it up and now, with starting positions assured, they no longer feel that they need to stretch themselves. Harry needs to show that no player is safe, much as Alex Ferguson does at United and he also needs to show that his approach can be more subtle than just a bark or an arm around the shoulder, neither of which seem to be doing the trick.

A word, finally, about Peter Crouch. Bambi on ice would be a friendly description for this man. He doesn’t score and his link-up play with van der Vaart has all but disappeared. He lacks strength in the challenge, meaning he’s constantly appealing for a foul which isn’t there or fouling the defender himself. He cannot run with the ball, he cannot head it accurately and cannot score. Harry seems to love him, but I just can’t see why. Despite the fact people slag off the likes of Jenas, Crouch is the only player I have ever disagreed with the incumbant manager on so strongly. Rasiak was awful but rarely played, I can’t fathom how Crouch gets onto the pitch. With Adebayor’s arrival one can only hope the days of Crouch in a Spurs shirt are numbered.

Perhaps then, the only bright spot today was Arsenal’s demise at the hands of Manchester United. An 8-2 defeat at the hands of Rooney and co perhaps giving hope that we can indeed finish above the boys from Woolwich.

Spurs’ Player Ratings

Brad Friedel 6
No clangers, but did little of note to keep City at bay. Poor distribution is Friedel’s real downfall.

Vedran Corluka 5
Was beaten all ends up a couple of times and looked slow, but was one of the few looking to attack towards the end.

Michael Dawson 5.5
Dawson struggled to handle the trickery and power of Aguero and Dzeko.

Younès Kaboul 6
Also struggled to handle the City attack but got his goal and kept working.

Benoît Assou-Ekotto 7
Cool as a cucumber.

Aaron Lennon 4.5
Harry needs to show Lennon he can’t assume he’ll start regardless. No matter what is going on with David Bentley, it’s time to give the lad a go, for the sake of the team. Lennon went off injured.

Luka Modrić 5.5
It was clear Harry subbed him to ‘protect’ him. Didn’t look happy on his way off, the question is whether selling him or keeping him is the best thing for THFC, I don’t know the answer to this one, but I do know I want the transfer window shut as soon as possible.

Niko Kranjčar 6
A good player but out of his depth in the centre of midfield with no protection. Still looks unfit and lacking drive. So many times though he waited, unmarked on the edge of the area of corners whilst Rafa hit the first man and had he been spotted might have had a goal.

Gareth Bale 5.5
Looked dis-interested or unfit. Considering his athleticism, Bale looked a shadow of his previous self. He may still be shaken from the brutal attack on his ankle from Charlie Adam at the tail end of last season and fearing another injury; no excuse for his lack of movement though.

Rafael van der Vaart 7
Still one of the few showing drive and passion. Had the Modric situation been different Rafa may have been the one who got subbed in order to protect him from injury in a game already lost. Hopefully he will not be out for long.

Peter Crouch 3
If you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything. It may be a bit late for that, but I have nothing more to add here.

Sub ’46: Tom Huddlestone 6
Replaced Kranjčar, Tommy looks fitter than I have seen him before, but lacks a little bit of touch and match fitness.

Sub ’53: Jermain Defoe  6
Replaced Lennon, without an orthodox right winger on the bench and lagging behind Harry opted for a striker to try and make the difference. Defoe’s ability to actually shoot showed what a waste of space Crouch is up front, who barely ever kicks the ball in the direction of the goal.

Sub ’66: Jake Livermore 7 (mom)
Replaced Modric, Jake came on and for a short while had an impact and got the team going, he looked like he might bring a reaction, but ultimately it was already too late.

Referee

Phil Dowd gave a couple of poor decisions and generally didn’t appear willing to make the tough calls. 5

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Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester City: Preview

27 Aug

Barclays Premier League
Date: 28 August 2011 Kick-off: 13:30
Venue: White Hart Lane (London)

This, already, is one of the biggest games of our season, following probably one of the most pointless against Hearts. Last week I was talking about our first game of the season against United, the most difficult game of the season away at Old Trafford. Since then we have signed two players, neither of which will play and watched our kids get held by Hearts. Now, with Manchester’s other club, coming to visit White Hart Lane and with no points on the board yet, it is now we will see what the boys from White Hart Lane are really made of.

A draw might just be the most likely result

Manchester City have really taken the concept of buying success to another level. The only team in the Premiership era to be relegated to the third tier of English Football and make their way up, the transformation at Manchester City has been one of the most dramatic ever witnessed. Roman Abramovic pumped his millions into Chelsea, but with the club already blessed with the likes of Zola and Hasselbaink the plastic West London club already had some presence, despite being on the cusp of a dramatic financial meltdown. However, City are a club which has won nothing for years until last season’s FA Cup triumph and the fact they now have one of the most expensively assembled and, admittedly, talented sides in the world is a reflection of the determination of a bunch of rich Arabians to prove that not only can you edit a team in Football Manager and give them untold wealth, but you can do so in real life too. I’d venture a guess that victory under such circumstances is equally hollow either way.

Last season we played this fixture on the first day of the season. Having done the double over City the previous season, despite their spending, this was seen as a winnable game. We outplayed Mercinary Manchester City comprehensively, but were pinned back to a 0-0 draw. It was generally seen as disappointing, despite the fact City not only went on to break into the top 4 themselves, they managed to snatch 3rd place from Arsenal.

This time around there is Aguero, Nasri, Dzeko and countless other players purchased over the last 12 months for an extortionate amount of money; presenting a very new challenge. However, we are at home and that counts for a lot, even against the best of teams.

This game is the most important of the season… so far

This game is important for both clubs, but I said it last week and I’ll say it now, no game is more important than this one. In many ways, no game is more important than the next one, but given each clubs’ stature, recent history and squad, this will be a major litmus test for both. City, or more importantly Man-kini, will give some clues as to whether they are willing or able to go away from home to a top side and play the time of attacking game they’ve shown this season. For Spurs it’s a chance to have a strong start at White Hart Lane and lay down a marker for the rest of the season.

Stuff I think about City

So, I do have some thoughts about City and, surprisingly, they aren’t *all* about the money.

My general views…

  • Why didn’t Carlos Tevez cut his hair off sooner? Admittedly he still looks like a Gremlin, but maybe about 10% less now.
  • Why does every player go there feel the need to say ‘it’s not about the money’? Lets be sensible, if your current club was willing and able to pay the money City offered, you’d probably stay. Whether it’s about the 6 figure weekly salary they are paying you, or the one they are using to lure someone else, it’s always about the fucking money you bunch of self serving, arrogant, deluded, hypocritical pricks.
  • What the fuck are those three stars still doing above their badge? How small time that you decide to have stars, commonly used in football to denote past glory, above your badge because they look cool. Get rid of them or you will always be small time.
  • How many strikers do you really need? When you had Santa Cruz and Jo you still wanted Tevez, now you have Tevez that doesn’t stop you signing Sergio Aguero. It’s not Pokemons, you do not need to catch them all.
  • Why, when I hate you so much, think everything about the club is plastic, hate your often not-sold-out stadium and the new Man City fans springing up, do you have to have the most classy looking shirts in the league? It just isn’t fair.
  • It was easy to hate Chelsea when they were the money-bags club, because their football was almost robotic. If the Italian male-one-piece-swimming-costume you have for a manager continues to have you playing the same brand of attacking football all season I might actually enjoy watching City. I don’t want to have to burn my eyes out with acid, please can you be boring again?
  • Adam Johnson. If you aren’t going to play him, can we has him? Pleeeease?

Spurs’ Team News

 

I think we can expect to see Friedel back in goal, Modrić also looks set to play, which is great news if he is willing to give it 100%. Is it too much to wish to see him put away his first hat-trick and kiss the badge before shitting on a Chelsea shirt? Yup, I thought so. Kyle Walker is back from his illness too, which means we could well see him start at Right Back in an effort to combat City’s speedy attackers.

Adebadger

Adebadger: Not eligible to play

Injuries: Peter Crouch, Ledley King, William Gallas, Sandro, Wilson Palacios, Steven Pienaar and Danny Rose.

Adebadger will be unavailable against the club who ultimately own him.

No mention of Bentley or Giovani, but again, I can’t see them playing.

Man City’s Team News

Injuries: Nigel De Jong.

Samir Nasri might well make his debut, but through the rest of your side, just take your pick. Any combination of Balotelli, Aguero, Dzeko, Tevez, Silva, Nasri, Johnson, Bellamy (lol, ok, I know, perhaps not, but he’s still there) could make up their attack. Thank god De Jong won’t be out to maim or kill Gareth Bale though.

Prediction

The reality is, which this is a game we can win City are strong, confident and have not played mid-week. You have to fancy a goal or two from their attack, although with Lescott still in their defence, you have to consider this area the most suspect area and hope that the Spurs strike-force can conjure something, especially if Modric fancies showing he’s a big boy. I’m going to go for 2-2, but in reality it could go either way.

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