Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City came short at Tottenham Hotspurs; as they fell to a 2-0 defeat to leave them on the bottom half of the table.
In the days of yore, when he had a magic wand, Guardiola’s side had a solution to teams who played with a low block defensively, however, since the start of the new season; many a team have employed this tactic to either beat or draw with City.
Here’s how the template works…give them ball, let them have it (possession without penetration), soak pressure then hit him on the counter attack and utilize your chances.
And so it was that City started the early domination, from which they threatened to score but guess what? Son Heung-Min delivered a sucker punch in the fifth minute as he raced to a clever through pass from Tanguy Ndombele to tack it through the legs of the advancing City goalkeeper Ederson.
Factory settings were restored immediately as City reverted to their style of play hoping for better tidings. Indeed, they had the ball at the back of the net in the 27th minute but was chalked out by referee Mike Dean for a handball in the buildup.
30%: 70 possession in the first half but the most important statistic(goals), belonged to the home side as the teams went to the break. Jose Mourinho was winning the tactical battle.
In the second half, Tottenham continued from where they left as they made their intentions clear, they will not allow city players any space in the final third of the pitch. Somehow though, City found pockets of spaces that they didn’t utilize effectively.
Substitute Giovani Lo Celso scored with what was his first touch of the game to make it 2 nil and make life difficult for Pep’s side who seemed like they wouldn’t score were the game to be played for 3 hours.
By the time referee Mike Dean was blowing the final whistle, City had managed 22 goal attempts to Tottenham’s 4 but none was threatening.
Tottenham talisman Harry Kane had this to say: “Fantastic performance, we knew that they’re a great side and, had to stick to the game plan, as we defended using mid blocks and a little deep block.”
Highlighting the fact that, teams have found the perfect antidote to Pep Guardiola’s teams and style of play.