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Lads undone by City slickers

Posted on 28 August 2011  - 12:00

Manchester City demonstrated just why they are considered as serious title contenders as they consigned us to a rare home defeat on Sunday.

Manchester City demonstrated just why they are considered as serious title contenders as they consigned us to a rare home defeat on Sunday.

Despite losing just once at the Lane in the whole of 2010-11, we opened our home account for the new campaign in disappointing fashion as Roberto Mancini's side inflicted a heavy 5-1 reverse, with Edin Dzeko grabbing four of City's goals.

Both managers named attacking line-ups, with Harry Redknapp bringing Luka Modric and Peter Crouch back into the side, while the visitors fielded new faces Sergio Aguero and Samir Nasri in their team. Looking at the two sides ahead of kick-off, goals were always anticipated and while six were registered, it wasn't quite how we had hoped.

We almost made the dream start though inside the first 15 seconds. On the attack straight from kick-off, Benoit Assou-Ekotto drove down the left and cut the ball across to Aaron Lennon, but the winger dragged his shot wide of Joe Hart's near post.

It was a first half full of goalmouth incident and it was a case of blink and you'd miss it!

Six minutes in, David Silva's drive was parried by Brad Friedel, Aguero missed the rebound and then Nasri's follow-up was well wide of goal. Hart then saved Rafael van der Vaart's low shot and, after a short lull in the action, it was Friedel's turn to deny Silva, after the Spaniard had dribbled his way into space before firing a shot across goal which our keeper got the slightest, crucial touch on to send the ball away for a corner.

We then enjoyed a good spell of pressure and were unlucky not to take the lead.

First van der Vaart's fine free-kick was kept out by Hart diving full-length to his right and then Gareth Bale, unusually quiet during the first period, had a great chance to score at the far post after Crouch had flicked on Lennon's cross, but on his favoured left-foot, the Welshman fired wide.

That was after 25 minutes and 10 minutes later the visitors went in front. New-signing Nasri played a one-two with Aguero down the left and the French midfielder clipped over a cross which Dzeko reached ahead of Younes Kaboul and prodded home from the edge of the six-yard box.

Our response however was almost immediate. Just three minutes later Bale burst into life and centred for van der Vaart, only for two City defenders to block his drive from 10-yards and then the Welsh star sent over the most delightful volleyed cross which Crouch looked certain to head home but, slightly stretching for the ball, he could only nod wide.

And we were made to pay in the most costly fashion two minutes later as City's Bosnian striker doubled their lead, this time heading Nasri's cross back across goal, leaving Friedel motionless as the ball floated into the net.

Dzeko almost completed a first-half hat-trick in injury time at the end of the half, but Friedel made a smart save to deny him as City finished the half on top.

We made a switch at the break, bringing on Tom Huddlestone for Niko Kranjcar and just seven minutes into the second period, Lennon pulled up after attempting a cross and was immediately replaced by Jermain Defoe, who slotted in up front with van der Vaart moving out to the right.

But as we re-organised, City struck again, and this time Dzeko did score his hat-trick goal, tapping home Yaya Toure's cross after the Ivorian was released by Aguero. And 3-0 quickly became four just before the hour mark, Nasri sliding the ball to Aguero down the left and he burst past Michael Dawson into the box before firing past Friedel into the far corner.

Another change saw Jake Livermore rewarded for his fine start to the season with an appearance, coming off the bench to replace Modric and the youngster was quickly into the action as we reduced the deficit on 68 minutes.

He battled to win possession back from Gareth Barry, fed the ball to Defoe and the striker's fierce shot was tipped over by Hart. From van der Vaart's corner, Kaboul powerfully headed home to score our first Premier League goal of the new campaign.

But our problems mounted further when, just minutes after the goal, van der Vaart pulled up clutching his left hamstring and soon departed the action, leaving us down to 10 men having used all three substitutes.

The action certainly became less frantic as the game moved into the closing minutes.

Defoe again tested Hart but found his England team-mate equal to his long-range effort and at the other end, Dzeko nearly scored his fourth but was denied by Friedel.

With just seconds remaining though, he did get on the scoresheet again, scoring the pick of the bunch with a left-footed curler from the edge of the area to round off the scoring and make it 5-1. The day belonged to Dzeko and City.

Spurs: Friedel; Corluka, Dawson, Kaboul, Assou-Ekotto; Lennon (Defoe 53), Modric (Livermore 66), Kranjcar (Huddlestone 46), Bale; van der Vaart; Crouch. Subs (not used): Cudicini, Walker, Bassong, Pavlyuchenko.

Goals - Kaboul (68).

City: Hart, Zabaleta (Richards 64), Kompany, Lescott, Clichy; Barry, Toure, Silva, Aguero (Savic 76), Dzeko, Nasri. Subs (not used): Pantilimon, Milner, Johnson, Tevez, Balotelli.

Goals - Dzeko (35, 41, 54, 93), Aguero (60).

Referee: Phil Dowd.

Attendance: To follow.