Jose Mourinho - 7
I wasn’t really convinced about this performance to call it a vintage Mourinho masterclass since City should have been 3-0 up just in the first half. You could see what his plan was from the start, just like how he set the team up against Liverpool. He was happy to give away possession for defensive solidity and counter attacking, and it would have worked much better if his attackers could have kept their composure in the attacking third. I have to still give him credit for slowly instilling an identity to the team and galvanizing the team to achieve such a result. The question marks around him and his decision are slowly going away as he looks like he found his defence and midfield, but the return of Ndombele, introduction of Bergwijn, and the Dele and Lucas problems are still remaining. Hopefully, he will have the answers quickly to turn this season around, and create a contender next year.
Tottenham Hotspur grabbed an unlikely but invaluable win against Manchester City at home with two goals coming from the new signing Bergwijn and Son. Tottenham were the luckier side from start to finish with City attackers, especially Aguero, missing many great chances, gifting the win to the home side.
Manchester City started the game bossing the possession, as everyone expected, but Tottenham’s defence was solid for the first 15 minutes. Tottenham had an early red-card shout against Sterling when he clattered into Alli’s ankle with his studs up, but VAR waved it away. After that point onwards though, Tottenham were forced to defend an onslaught of City attacks, with Aguero missing the best of the bunch from a one-on-one against Lloris who made the all-important save.
Then in the 37th minute came the most critical moment of the game and one that will be talked about for the rest of the week. Serge Aurier recklessly tackled Aguero in the box when the striker’s back was against the goal, but it looked like the Ivorian got enough of the ball. However, after the play resumed for almost two minutes, VAR and Mike Dean pointed to the spot, a decision that the fans could not comprehend. Lloris then saved the subsequent penalty from Gundogan but made contact with Sterling after the save. This time VAR ruled against the penalty which looked more a penalty then the first one, and decided against sending off Sterling for what would have been his second yellow, and further infuriating everyone. Tottenham managed to get to half-time with 0-0, but not before Aguero missing another glorious chance, this time from inside the 6-yard box.
The second half started off much better for the home side, with the press working a little better and attacks looking a little more dangerous with Son up top and Lucas on the right. This was also short lived though, with City grabbing control of the game again. But then the second game changing moment arrived in the 60th minute, when Zinchenko fell for Winks’ intelligent play and got sent off for blocking him on the counter. Mourinho’s team then gave City very little time to regain their composure and pounced on the opportunity almost instantly when Bergwijn scored a brilliant volley from a corner. The Dutchman’s debut goal gave more inspiration to the home side while sucking the energy out of Guardiola’s men, and the second goal followed soon after. Ndombele and Lo Celso combined for slick passes in the attacking third before the Frenchman played in Son on the edge of the box, and the Korean doubled his team’s lead with one of his signature finishes.
Tottenham then made difficult work of seeing off the game against the 10-man opposition, with Winks and Sanchez being lucky not scoring an own goal each in the closing stages. The game ended 2-0, with Mourinho getting a much needed big game win and a clean sheet. The win pushed Tottenham into 5th, 4 points behind 4th place Chelsea. Spurs will now turn their focus to the FA Cup replay against Southampton on Wednesday, before getting an 11-day for the newly introduced winter break in the Premier League. Even though the win was not a very convincing one, Tottenham now really have a chance to get into Top 4, an achievement that looked very unlikely even a couple days ago.
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