OPPONENTS Manchester City 
COMPETITION Premier League 
DATE Sunday 2nd October 2016
VENUE White Hart Lane
Manchester City SQUAD 1.  Claudio BRAVO
3.  Bacary SAGNA
4.  Vincent KOMPANY
5.  Pablo ZABALETA
7.  Raheem STERLING
8.  Ilkay GUNDOGAN
10.  Sergio AGUERO
11.  Aleksandar KOLAROV
13.  Willy CABELLERO
15. Jesus NAVAS
17.  Kevin de BRUYNE
18.  Fabian DELPH
19.  Leroy SANE
21.  David SILVA
22.  Gael CLICHY
24.  John STONES
30.  Nicolas OTAMENDI
42.  Yaya TOURE
50.  Pablo MAFFEO
54.  Angus GUNN
72.  Kelechi IHEANACHO
75.  Aleix GARCIA
PREVIEW Top of the table Manchester City visit the Lane to play third place Spurs, with Liverpool coming between the two sides thanks to a late penalty at Swansea City.  City have won all their league games, while Tottenham are unbeaten, but have drawn two matches, putting them four points behind Pep Guardiola's side. 

City have been an almost unstoppable force this season and have pushed everyone aside until their 3-3 Champions League draw at Celtic on Wednesday.  Spurs were also in Champions League action, with a trip to Moscow, where they returned with a 1-0 win, which should have been more emphatic, but the nature of the victory is demonstrating a more mature approach to game management, with the home team limited to only a few chances in the match. 

Spurs will do well to stop City producing chances in this match, with the likes of David Silva, Raheem Sterling and Ilkay Gundogan to create opportunities for Sergio Aguero and Kelechi Iheanacho to finish.  They also have new signing Leroy Mane, who is settling, but looks to have a few tricks in his locker and pace to burn.  There is a fluidity to their midfield, which is part of Guardiola's philosophy about passing and moving and with the team pressing to gain possession of the ball, they keep coming at you in wave after wave of attacks.  With Tottenham playing a similar style, it will be intriguing to see how one side's efforts are judged against the other's. 

Having had a bit of a clear out, a number of players are out on loan, so Guardiola is limited to select from a slightly reduced massive squad.  They are all players that he wanted there, having assessed who he didn't fancy (Hart, Denayer, Nasri, etc), while Yaya Toure remains out of the picture owing to his agent's comments about the manager.

If, anywhere, the team is weak, it is at the back, where the absence of Kompany cannot be adequately covered.  Otamendi and Mangala are not of the same quality and John Stones is looking more secure in City's defence, but he still has a mistake in him.  The full backs of Zabaleta and Sagna are not infallible, so that may be an area where Spurs are able to get Walker and (hopefully) Rose forward to get the ball in from there.  In goal, Cabellero is a keeper who might be one who is good on his day, but if Spurs can get shot son target to test him, they might find a way through.

In the final analysis, Spurs won both games last season against City, but there may be too much in the visitors' team this time around to take the three points.  Missing Kompany and de Bruyne are big misses, leaving weaknesses in their line-up, but neither will be big enough absences to stop City rolling on.

A good test of Tottenham's credibility for a challenge at the top though and one that will bear them in good stead of the remainder of the season.

PREDICTION Tottenham Hotspur    1         Manchester City    2
LAST SEASON'S MEETING For a look back at the match report, click here.
RESULTS HISTORY Click here for results, match reports and facts on meetings with Manchester City
Harry Kane's ankle injury keeps him out and Eric Dier (hamstring), Moussa SIssoko (concussion) and Danny Rose (hamstring) will be assessed late on to decide if they are able to have any involvement in the match with Manchester City.
Nolito (suspended), Vincent Kompany (groin), Kevin de Bruyne (hamstring) and Fabian Delph (hamstring) are all out of the visit of the club to White Hart Lane. 

Sky Sports 1 - (live coverage)
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Internet :   Live webcast  - subscribers only
BBC London - click on link to "Listen to Tottenham Hotspur live commentary" on top right hand menu.

Tottenham Hotspur  - (-)                                                                       
Premier League
Sunday 2nd October 2016
White Hart Lane
Manchester City  - (-)

Kick off 14:15
Kolarov (o.g.)  8m 36s
Dele  36m 14s
Wanyama  (foul on )  30
Rose (failing to let go of the ball)  43 


Otamendi (foul on Alli)  20
Sterling (foul on Rose)  57


Crowd :   31,793 Weather :  Sunny, warm
Referee : Andre Marriner (West Midlands) Assistant Referees :  Mr. S. Beck; Mr. A. Garratt
Fourth Official :  Jon Moss  
Spurs kicked off and played towards the Park Lane end in the first half.
Game time : -  90 + 7 minutes.
Tottenham Hotspur : kit Manchester City : kit
  1  Hugo LLORIS  (c)

  2  Kyle WALKER
  3  Danny ROSE     

12  Victor WANYAMA     

11  Erik LAMELA
Christian ERIKSEN
20  DELE Alli    (14  Georges-Kevin N'KOUDOU  86)
17  Moussa SISSOKO  (15  Eric DIER  72)

  7  Heung-Min SON  (  9  Vincent JANSSEN  90)

Unused subs: 
13  Michel VORM

16  Kieran TRIPPIER
33  Ben DAVIES
28  Harry WINKS

    1  Claudio BRAVO

  5  Pablo ZABALETA  (c)
30  Nicolas OTAMENDI     
24  John STONES
11  Alecksandar KOLAROV 

  6  FERNANDO  (  8  Ilkay GUNDOGAN  53)

15  Jesus NAVAS  (72  Kelechi IHEANACHO  65)
21  David SILVA
  7  Raheem STERLING        (19  Leroy SANE  87)

10  Sergio AGUERO

Unused subs: 
22  Gael CLICHY
Bacary SAGNA

Manager :  Mauricio Pochettino Manager :  Pep Guardiola
Sponsor :   AIA Shirt sponsor :  Etihad Airways
Kit Supplier :  Under Armour Kit Supplier :   Nike
Match report


With Heung-Min Son in great form and the sun shining down on this October afternoon at White Hart Lane, the visit of 100% successful Manchester City in the Premier League set the scene for a great game ahead.  It wouldn't have been an understatement to say that I was not expecting us to out-play the league leaders for a large part of the game and for Mauricio Pochettino to put-tactic the master Man City manager Pep Guardiola, but that was what happened on an amazing afternoon.  While this may not have been the best Spurs performance of recent years, it must rank as one of the most impressive (if that makes sense), in the way they knocked City out of their stride from the first kick off and only let them into the game in the last 15 minutes, when their legs started to tire from the incessant pressing that forced the visitors into many unforced errors.

Right from the start the new 4-1-4-1 formation put out by Poch started to get at City.  Walker attacked the right wing with Sissoko and found Eriksen, who in turn played the ball onto Son, whose quick shot flew just over the angle of post and crossbar.  Within minutes City could have gone ahead, when Jesus Navas broke down the right and put a low ball in across the six yard box, with Silva not getting a touch on it as it reached the near post and it taking a flick off a Spurs man before Alderweireld did well to miss it completely in the middle of the goal.  The corner came in low and pin-balled around a bit before Jan put his boot through the ball to get it out of the box. 

The pace of the game was frantic and in the fifth minute, Son went into the penalty area on the left side, with defender John Stones tackling him to concede a corner, but it did not look for some distance away that he got the ball and perhaps the ref should have been pointing to the spot.  Later incidents showed that Andre Marriner was not going to be one for making the difficult decisions.  Having already booked Otamendi, Rose and Sterling, he could have quite justifiably given them second yellows and how he failed to book Kolarov and Ferdandinho in one incident in the second half, I do not understand. 

It was defender Kolarov who started the afternoon's scoring with a howler that set the tone for his overall performance.  Spurs worked the ball well, with Lamela playing in Rose in space on the left wing.  His early ball in went over Son in the middle and reached the far post, where Kolarov, six yards out and with nobody near him, swung his right foot at the ball, missed and it hit his standing leg to go into the net high behind him.  It was an inexplicable mistake and one that had the Spurs supporters joyous, in a show of Schadenfreude that hasn't been seen at the Lane since Arsenal lost here.

A couple of minutes later, Spurs could have been better off when Son struck a good shot from the left side of goal and Bravo managed to get a foot to it to keep it out.  Sissoko nut-megged Fernando and got upended for his troubles, but that didn't stop him perfecting the act again a couple of times to unfortunate City players.  He was linking well with Walker down the right and produced good touches to send the full back marauding down the line beyond him.  I am not sure what was going through the City defenders' minds, as they were being hassled into playing the ball quickly, but one cross-field pass from right to left caught Otamendi in two minds (although sometimes during the game it was hard to accept he had one) and he knocked the ball away with his hand.  A booking in anyone's view surely, but not Marriner's and it put his later misdemeanours into perspective, as he should have not been on the pitch at the half-time interval.

A surreal moment came when an Eriksen free-kick was cleared to Rose outside the box.  The left back went for an outrageous volley, but he has done it before, although this time the ball ballooned high, what looked like, into the Park Lane end.  However, the ball came down with snow on it, dropping dangerously close to Bravo's goal.  The keeper managed to grab it under the bar, but looked as if he took a step backwards over his goal-line, but the ref gave him a free-kick as Toby challenged him in the air.  Christian almost caught City out with a snap shot volley when Toby's long free-kick was cleared, but it lacked power to trouble Bravo.  The Dane came closer a few minutes later, when Otamendi was booked for fouling Alli, as he curled the ball over the wall and a foot wide, with the goalkeeper struggling to get there.

Tottenham were doing what they did so well last season, in moving the ball quickly through the thirds to turn defence into attack.  Wanyama sitting in front of the back four helped, with the midfield finding quick and damaging passes.  One such example came when Jan Vertonghen, who was outstanding all afternoon, perfectly timed a challenge on Aguero in the box to rob him of a shot on goal, only for the ball to be shifted up the pitch to Son, but the Korean, not for the first time this afternoon, was offside.  He needs to be aware of when to make his runs, as he does take up good positions and manages to lose his marker, but often goes too early.  Having said that, he ran himself into the ground this afternoon and when he was unable to hold up play as the lone striker later in the game, it was because his tired legs could not perfect the touch to keep the ball.  Especially, as he had tow men on him most of the time.

A half hour in, Wanyama slid in on Aguero as the Argentine took the ball from right to left across the face of the box, earning his standard yellow card and more importantly, giving City a chance to get back into the match.  Aguero got up to take it and beat the wall, but Lloris was equal to his shot and beat the ball into the ground and away to his left.  When Otamendi fouled Dele Alli again, it was a real surprise when Marriner did not pull out another yellow, although he set himself up for ignoring other offences that were to come by doing so.   Not that it mattered, nor that the free-kick came to nothing, as Spurs soon doubled their lead.  Kolarov was again involved, losing possession on the halfway line, with Lamela passing to Son outside him on the right and Son playing the ball back to a central position to Alli, about 20 yards out.  A muddle of City legs in front of him took the ball away from him, but back right to Son, who played a neat pass back to Alli, who had moved into the area and swept the ball right-footed first time low across Bravo's right handed dive to then dash off to the fans to celebrate.

City were struggling to match Tottenham's pressing and that had led to the second goal.  Closing down Bravo and the defenders he passed to led to the ball being hoofed out of defence by Stones, to nobody in particular, with Spurs picking off the loose ball.  By pressing high up, Tottenham were replicating last season's tactic of winning the ball near the opposition goal and launching attacks from an advanced position.

Danny Rose got booked for not letting Navas have the ball at a throw-in, but the City man could have been booked for his aggressive "hands-on" approach to Danny.  The yellow could have had consequences later, but he benefitted from Marriner's inability to send Otamendi off.  Aguero was not getting much decent service and the darting runs that Silva and Sterling usually made were not finding a way through, with the Spurs back four slamming shut any gaps they might have looked to exploit.  Lloris had to be quick out to dive at Aguero's feet to get the ball cleanly, but he also got a knock for his troubles and looked pained as he left the field for half-time.

The appearance of Steve Perryman at half-time brought a great ovation for the Spurs great.  It is always a treat to see him back at the Lane and although he seemed a little breathless, my first real Tottenham hero showed the passion of the club still flows in his veins.  Would Spurs be able to counter the expected second half flurry from City and would the visitors be able to capitalise if Spurs slacked off ?

Well, the first couple of minutes showed that Tottenham had no intention of sitting back and Son curled a shot just wide after Bravo had been hurried into kicking a back-pass clear.  Then the keeper had to be alert to get down to his right to fingertip a Wanyama shot wide from 22 yards out, after the midfielder had won the ball himself.  The corner caused a scramble, but there was no clear shooting opportunity and when Son tried to take on Zabaleta on the dead-ball line, the ball was hacked away.  In our next attack, Sissoko got to the dead ball line on the right, crossing for Eriksen, but a defender threw himself in the way of the shot from the midfielder. 

There were few occasions City got the ball into areas of danger and one came when Fernandinho slid a pass inside Walker and Aguero to on the end of it, getting a quick shot away and Hugo got a block on it with his leg, which took the ball up onto the post and Danny completed the clearance.  Shortly after, the left back was waiting for a high ball to drop and Sterling got in front of him first, causing Rose to bring him down outside and to the side of the penalty area.  It may have been another bookable offence, but because of the Otamendi incident in the first half, the referee couldn't bring out another yellow for the Spurs man.  As usual, Danny Rose was the player the opposition decided to hit on and he must be the most fouled player in the top flight.  When Sterling hit him late, the referee had no option but to show him a yellow card too.

The pressure on Bravo with the ball at his feet almost paid off, as his clearance went straight to Eriksen 30 yards out and he tried to pass it straight back to Lamela, but the ball missed the Argentine, when a simple, accruate ball would have provided Erik with a clear goal-scoring chance, as Bravo was out of his goal.  Substitute Gundogan had a chance, but curled a shot well wide, before Erik Lamela was soon one-on-one with Bravo again.  Walker had burst through the middle of the pitch, neatly taking it past a coupleopf players, exchanging passes with Alli before being crudely taken out by Kolarov.  For once, Marriner made a good decision to let play go on as Alli picked up the loose ball and drove into the box.  As he prepared to shoot, Fernandinho took him just below the knee from behind and a penalty was given.  There was a bit of unseemly tug of war between Son and Lamela before Erik took the ball to the spot.   Bravo wobbled about on the line and  he got to Lamela's left footed shot as it went to the keeper's left and he beat the ball out.  Alli picked it up wide on the right and dinked it back, with the ball cleared to Son, whose volley was blocked. 

Having already been booked for a foul on Rose, Sterling upended the Spurs left back after the ball had gone, but once more failed to receive his second yellow.  Rose needed treatment for that and soon Sissoko was down and had to leave the field, replaced by Eric Dier.  City had brought on Iheanacho, who was set up by Aguero on the left, but Lloris got a leg to the ball to stop it and then pounced on the rebound before the striker could get there first.  City were starting to press forward, as Spurs looked like tiring, with Gundogan shooting way over on the volley and then Silva passed into Aguero on the left side of the goal again, but his shot was deflected upwards by Walker's block and Hugo reacted superbly to tip the ball overt the bar when it looked like it might have wrong-footed him. 

Rose timed a tackle on Sterling very well, as it looked like he was lining up a shot and Jan and Toby were blocking shots as they came in.  GK N'Koudou came on for Dele and City brought on Sane for Sterling, with the Spurs winger seeing more of the ball in the remaining few minutes than the new City signing.  Jansen replaced Son, who got a standing ovation for his effort today, but had little chance to do much in added time other than win the ball off a sleeping defender, but was unable to make much of it.  Aguero had a passable opportunity from ten yards out, but whereas he would normally bury it in the top corner, he scuffed a weak shot straight along the ground at Lloris.  

It was not just the line-up that Pochettino got right, but the approach to the game, which saw City run off their feet.  They may have registered 58% possession and more completed passes, but it is what you do with it rather than winning a statistical battle.  Whereas Spurs were playing forward passes crisply and to feet, City's were aimed beyond their forwards a  lot of the time and their passing in and around the Spurs box were either read by the Tottenham defenders or were loose, leading to Spurs having the ball back.  So often, Tottenham  won the ball in the City half and sprung into attack.  This was typified by Son, who closed down and still found time to terrorise the City defence.  Wanyama and Vertonghen were two other stand-out players for Spurs, while Rose and Walker made life uncomfortable for the City wide defenders and midfielders, who spent more time tracking back than getting forward.  There was rarely a bad performance from a Spurs player.  Coming away from the ground, one old bloke said "that Lamela is useless.  He doesn't do enough" !!  Well, I don't suppose he watches what Lamela does off the ball, as he covers as much ground as anyone else.  True, he didn't score the penalty, but Soldado and Defoe also failed as we have missed three of our last four penalties against City.

While the thought of queuing for hours at White Hart Lane station to get the train back to my car did not fill me with glee, the actuality was a lot more fun.  Three pre-pubescent Mancs were singing "Have you ever seen Spurs win the League ?", to which several long-serving fans in the queue answered "Yes !"  But the funniest thing was when a Spurs fan went over and decided that they needed a hug.  They really didn't know what to do, but in a way, it summed up the Spurs day.  Having smothered City on the pitch, this supporter was smothering their fans with love.

What a lovely end to a lovely day !!

(A Happy) Chris Moss




Manchester City were often regarded as the true Manchester side, over their rivals United, as they were nicknamed "The Citizens" - a noble title, as opposed to the evil connotations of "The Red Devils".


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What you thought
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Other scores during this week :
Everton 1 Crystal Palace 1 Friday
Hull City 0 Chelsea 2 Saturday
Sunderland 1 West Bromwich Albion 1 Saturday
Swansea City 1 Liverpool 2 Saturday
Watford 2 Bournemouth 2 Saturday
West Ham United London 1


1 Saturday
Burnley 0 Arsenal 1 Sunday
Leicester City 0 Southampton 0 Sunday
Manchester United 1 Stoke City 1 Sunday


League Table  2016-17
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Manchester City 7 6 0 1 18 7 18 +11
2 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 7 5 2 0 12 3 17 +9
3 Arsenal 7 5 1 1 16 7 16 +9
4 Liverpool 7 5 1 1 18 9 16 +9
5 Everton 7 4 2 1 11 5 14 +6
6 Manchester United 7 4 1 2 13 8 13 +5
7 Chelsea 7 4 1 2 12 9 13 +3
8 Crystal Palace 7 3 2 2 11 8 11 +3
9 West Bromwich Albion 7 2 3 2 8 7 9 +1
10 Southampton 7 2 3 2 7 6 9 +1
11 Watford 7 2 2 3 12 13 8 -1
12 Leicester City 7 2 2 3 8 11 8 -3
13 Bournemouth 7 2 2 3 6 11 8 -5
14 Burnley 7 2 1 4 5 9 7 -4
15 Hull City 7 2 1 4 7 14 7 -7
16 Middlesbrough 7 1 3 3 7 10 6 -3
17 Swansea City 7 1 1 5 6 12 4 -6
18 West Ham United London 7 1 1 5 8 17 4 -9
19 Stoke City 7 0 3 4 5 16 3 -11
20 Sunderland 7 0 2 5 6 13 2 -7


Position before match :  3rd
Position after match :  2nd
Position after the weekend :  2nd


* Pub facts may not actually be true, but after a few pints everyone will think so.


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