‘Fantastic’ Tottenham topple Manchester City
Goals from Heung-Min Son and substitute Giovani Lo Celso seal a 2-0 win to prove Spurs are in the Premier League title race
21 November, 2020 — By Dan Carrier
SPURS 2 (Son 5, Lo Celso 65)
MANCHESTER CITY 0
A CRITICISM levelled at Mauricio Pochettino from some sections of the Spurs fan base was that the previous Tottenham manager was very good at rallying the troops, but not blessed with an abundance of tactical nous.
On Saturday, as his replacement Jose Mourinho marked his first year in charge, the north Londoners gave a chess game masterclass to see off Manchester City and rise to the summit of the Premier League.
How things have changed in 12 months.
Goals from Heung-Min Son and substitute Giovani Lo Celso sealed the confidence-boosting win to take Spurs into a challenging run of league games against Chelsea, Arsenal, Leicester and Liverpool before Christmas.
Tottenham’s title credentials will be clearer by Christmas – but on this performance, who would bet against them being there or thereabouts come May? Especially with the year ending in one!
After tactically getting the better of his old adversary Pep Guardiola, Mourinho said he and his back room staff had been plotting this victory over the international break, formulating a plan to defend like lions and then spring into attack when gaps opened up.
“Congratulations to the players,” added the Tottenham boss. “Manchester City are a fantastic team, but they were playing against a side that were tactically fantastic.
“We had to find a way to play and it was magnificent to see what they did,”
Harry Kane won rave reviews for his ability to drop deep and stitch moves together.
And it was his movement on four minutes that dragged City centre-backs Ruben Dias and Aymeric Laporte out of position, creating the space for Son to race on to Tanguy Ndombele’s through ball and give Spurs an early lead.
Kane also earned another assist when he tee’d up Lo Celso for the second, playing another clever pass at just the right time.
Mourinho highlighted how Kane’s contribution was so much more than grabbing goals. “He works for the team – he is a team player,” said the manager. “Every player today did their job. There is a real sense of friendship and solidarity within the group.”
A kay moment in the match came midway through the first-half when City saw a goal chalked off by VAR. Laporte drove home what looked like an equaliser, but replays suggested the ball had hit Gabriel Jesus on the arm in the build-up.
It was a rub of the green that galvanised Spurs, who saw out the first-half with a 1-0 lead and then stepped it up in the second.
The cushion came with Lo Celso’s first touch on 65. Kane drove through the middle, Son and Steven Bergwijn pulled away to his right, freeing up space for the dashing Lo Celso to join the attack on the left.
Kane’s inch perfect pass left the midfielder with the keeper to beat and confirmed Spurs would spend Saturday night sitting proudly at the top of the Premier League.
Spurs: Lloris, Aurier, Dier, Alderweireld (Rodon, 81), Reguilon, Hojbjerg, Sissoko, Ndombele (Lo Celso, 65), Son, Bergwijn (Moura, 73), Kane
Substitutes not used: Hart, Davies, Bale, Vinícius
Man City: Ederson, Walker, Dias, Laporte, Cancelo, De Bruyne, Rodri, Silva (Sterling, 72), Mahrez (Foden, 72), Jesus, Torres
Substitutes not used: Stones, Gundogan, Aguero, Steffen, Garcia