City shown dust

Vi­brant Spurs shame Pep Guardi­ola’s men with su­perb press­ing tac­tics

The Star (Kenya) - - Sports International - LON­DON/

A vi­brant Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur won yes­ter­day’s meet­ing of the Premier League’s only two un­beaten sides when they beat lead­ers Manch­ester City 2-0.

City re­main top of the ta­ble but could not cope with the in­ten­sity, pace and press­ing of Spurs, who now sit sec­ond, only a point be­hind.

The home team went ahead in the ninth minute when Alek­san­dar Ko­larov put Danny Rose’s long cross into his own net and an un­marked Dele Alli dou­bled the lead be­fore half­time.

In the sec­ond half Clau­dio Bravo saved Erik Lamela’s penalty to pre­vent an even heav­ier de­feat.

Southamp­ton have not con­ceded a goal in six games af­ter hold­ing Le­ices­ter City to a 0-0 draw at the King Power sta­dium on Sun­day and a spir­ited Stoke City per­for­mance de­nied Manch­ester United as Joe Allen pounced late to score for the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive week and se­cure a 1-1 draw at Old Traf­ford.

United thought they had done enough to win when sub­sti­tute An­thony Mar­tial put them ahead on 69 min­utes, two min­utes af­ter com­ing off the bench, with a curl­ing shot from the edge of the area that beat Stoke’s ex­cel­lent keeper Lee Grant.

So, does the Premier League re­ally have Celtic to thank for show­ing its teams how to undo Manch­ester City? Of course it doesn’t but the same de­fen­sive un­cer­tainty ex­ploited by the Scot­tish cham­pi­ons in Wed­nes­day’s thrilling 3-3 Cham­pi­ons League draw was cer­tainly on ev­i­dence again here as Pep Guardi­ola saw his 100 per cent league run dis­man­tled by bril­liant Tot­ten­ham at White Hart Lane.

If we like com­pe­ti­tion in our game and don’t want this sea­son’s ti­tle race to be­come a pro­ces­sion in sky blue then this was the place to be to have your spir­its lifted yes­ter­day af­ter­noon. The home team were out­stand­ing, run­ning City in to the ground with a cease­less dis­play of high en­ergy, press­ing foot­ball.

Sir Alex Fer­gu­son once de­scribed try­ing to play Guardi­ola’s Barcelona like be­ing on a carousel. Well now the new City man­ager knows what it feels like. Su­perbly coached and pre­pared by Mauri­cio Po­chet­tino, Tot­ten­ham placed their op­po­nents un­der cease­less pres­sure from front to back and a vic­tory by two goals was the very least they de­served.

Guardi­ola’s foot­ball phi­los­o­phy is pretty much built on the prin­ci­ples of play­ing foot­ball from his team’s own penalty area on­wards. That, we should re­mem­ber, is why he de­cided to jet­ti­son goal­keeper Joe Hart so early in his time as coach. Hart isn’t a “foot­baller”, ap­par­ently.

Well here in north Lon­don that strat- egy was ex­posed for the sec­ond time in five days. It may work one day and it will be great to watch if it does. But it isn’t work­ing yet and as a re­sult City have a huge prob­lem. Celtic drove a bus through City’s back four with their tempo on Wed­nes­day but couldn’t de­fend at the other end.

Here, Tot­ten­ham merely com­pleted the job. City were a mess at the back and Hart’s re­place­ment Bravo was forced in to such rash­ness and un­cer­tainty with the ball at his feet that the home fans were laugh­ing at him by half-time.

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