I don’t know how to possibly summarise this game. I will simply say three things. City are the best team in Europe (though not on defence). Spurs are the guttiest team in Europe. And I love VAR almost as much as I love Son and Llorente. There are so many ways to analyse this, including the fact that now we must play an ascendant Ajax team without Son for the first leg with Top Four status still at risk.
So take it from the top, Both teams clearly were set up for attack. Sterling’s first showed just how insistent City would be. Son’s double answer was extraordinary, grateful to City’s porous defending. My only real quibble with Poch was that this was the moment to tell his players to back off, defend for their lives, park the bus, whatever. And we didn’t—giving Bernardo Silva and Sterling two simple chances (Kieran Tripper was absent for the first half hour, failing to understand his only job was to mark Sterling down the left wing)—sure the first was fortunate with a double deflection—and all of a sudden the game was on a razor’s edge where it stayed for the next 70 plus minutes.
The rest of the game is a blur, frankly. We settled down in the first half—Hugo made a couple of good saves but it was vital to get to the dressing room still in position to advance. The substitution of Llorente for Sissoko (and how long will he be out? Gonna be hard against Ajax in two weeks without him) can be questioned but I understand Poch’s thinking. He wanted someone to hold up the ball and allow us the chance to strike on a counter to either secure the win or climb back if City did score. Llorente and Son each had a golden chance to do the former before Aguero scored—for once Son’s touch betrayed him or he would have been in alone, and Llorente’s header was directly at Ederson. So the City goal was surely coming and this time it was Aguero coming down the right flank—I can’t even remember where the failure lay—maybe they’re just too good.
But the crap Spaniard—and VAR—as my mate was calling him for about a half hour until I basically told him to shut up and then predicted with Spurs down 4-2 maybe this was the way to get through, and that Llorente would do it. Did I believe those words? Don’t put me on a lie detector. Two minutes later—I swear to God—it was a reality. I still can’t tell what appendage from which team that ball bounced off, but it was pretty clear that it wasn’t certain to be a certain crap Spaniard’s arm. And then it was hold on for dear life. Christian—who to be fair was not as invisible as much of the midfield was last night (Wanyama came on strong in the second half—made a horrific decision to play the ball back, and there was Aguero, to Sterling, and off Lloris and we were gutted.
No sooner than the words “valiant effort” were typed to my mate, then the hands came out for the screen look—and oh to the high heavens there is a God because Aguero was a foot offside. Eriksen just said “I am the luckiest guy in the planet”—at least it wasn’t him talking about his Real Madrid contract. And he’s right. But so what? We all are.
And for now I am not going to sweat Saturday (they either beat us 5-0 or it is a listless 1-1 draw. I asked a friend last week before the first game, if the Devil comes and says you can have a win, a draw and a loss—which game is which? He wanted the two good results to be these two. I told him the best would be a win at home, a loss away where we still advance, and then a draw. My Nostradamus powers are so strong at the moment that I am sticking to that story) Either way it doesn’t matter—there are four teams left in the biggest competition in the world, and by God, Spurs are one of them. It doesn’t get any better than this. Until the next game.
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