Monday, August 29, 2011

Tottenham Hotspur 1 Manchester City 5

Sunday, 28th August, 2011

Spurs Discover a Difference in Class

A disappointing start to the new season - two consecutive defeats to the two Manchester clubs who would appear to be the teams who have set their sights on dominating English football this season.  Both have strengthened their team and have shown clinical finishing to round off their confident, passing football.

Team: Friedel; Corluka, Dawson, Kaboul, Assou-Ekotto; Lennon (Defoe), Modric (Livermore), Kranjcar (Huddlestone), Bale, Van der Vaart; Crouch.

Tottenham started brightly and for half an hour were competing with City although their passing and movement was looking much slicker.  Then City scored two excellent goals inside twelve minutes but immediately prior to both Spurs had a good opportunity to score but spurned the chance.

After thirty minutes Aaron Lennon's cross was flicked on by Peter Crouch to Gareth Bale, unmarked at the back post, but his volley across goal went past the far post.  Almost immediately, Nasri, making his debut, confused Vedran Corluka and Lennon to deliver a cross which Dzeko got to ahead of Younnis Kaboul.

Ten minutes later, Bale delivered a wonderful cross but the diving Crouch's header shaved the far post - chance gone.  In less than thirty seconds, City had the ball at the other end and Nasri's hanging cross found Kaboul flat-footed but Dzeko managed to rise to meet the ball and put back past Brad Friedel.

Two down, Tom Huddlestone replaced Niko Kranjcar at half-time but it made little difference as City were in total control.  Lennon who had taken a knock went off and was replaced by Jermain Defoe.  Two minutes later Dzeko completed his hat-trick, knocking in a cross from close range and on the hour Aguero out-paced, out-witted and out-powered Michael Dawson to hit the fourth past Friedel who had made it easy by going down early.  From a corner Kaboul headed in for Spurs.

 Spurs then went down to ten men for the last fifteen minutes, Rafael Van der Vaart going off injured as Jake Livermore had come on for Luka Modric.  With the final kick of the game Dzeko hammered the final nail in the Tottenham coffin with a thunderous shot from the corner of the box after Spurs had lost possession in midfield.

How things have changed in twelve months - in the opening match of last season City defended in depth and only the heroics of Hart earned them a point.  Spurs were unfortunate that day not to take all three points while todat they got nothing and deserved nothing.  The only consolation from a Spurs' perspective is that they've played two of the strongest teams in the Premier League and that they are only one point down on the the same two games last year but the nature of the capitulation is a major concern.

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