Have we greatly under-appreciated Tottenham's victory over Manchester City?
“If you play like we did today with passion and aggression then you will always have a chance,” said Mauricio Pochettino of his youthful Tottenham Hotspur side after Saturday’s impressive 2-0 victory over Premier League title favourites Manchester City, a win that saw the Lilywhites move within one point of the current top flight leaders.
Few would have expected Spurs to upset City in quite the manner they did. However, the Argentine head coach’s philosophy prevailed once again, with the London outfit reaping the rewards. His high-pressing system, akin to that which Jurgen Klopp has implemented at Anfield with Liverpool, utterly bamboozled the current league leaders at White Hart Lane.
The Lilywhites attempted 19 tackles in the attacking half, with their aggressive manner of recovering possession seeing them give away a total 20 fouls – twice as many as their opponents. Cutting off the supply line to Sergio Aguero, and bullying Raheem Sterling into submission, the visitors -who had looked so impressive up until their visit to White Hart Lane – barely had a sniff.
Granted, City were without their talisman Kevin De Bruyne, but Spurs had notable absences of their own. Harry Kane-less, and without the extremely gifted Mousa Dembele in central midfield, the Lilywhites proved their title credentials with a display that combined the perfect level of creativity, discipline and energy.
Despite missing the Premier League’s top scorer of last season through injury, the Lilywhites were able to put two goals past the Citizens, and in truth it should have been three, had Erik Lamela converted from his second-half spot kick. Nonetheless, the hosts fashioned a match-best 13 attempts at goal, of which seven were on target.
Having pegged back Guardiola’s City, the Lilywhites now sit in touching distance of the Premier League summit. Just one point behind the current English top flight leaders, Spurs’ victory on Sunday afternoon was far more than being a mere statement of intent. Indeed, it was a shout to the rest of the division that Pochettino’s side are capable of being the best the country has to offer.
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