Early goal and Ederson saves prove enough for City
Manchester City 1-0 Spurs
Sat 20 April 2019, 14:27|Tottenham Hotspur
A fifth-minute goal from Phil Foden secured the points for Manchester City as a string of Ederson saves denied us at the Etihad.
Returning to the scene of Wednesday night's Champions League epic, we made a real fist of it in an energy-sapping Premier League encounter in the scorching Saturday lunchtime sunshine, but there was simply no way past City's goalkeeper after that early setback.
Four good chances went begging in the first period, three of which Ederson was in the way of, while Lucas Moura was denied by a combination of John Stones and the goalkeeper 17 minutes from time. City did have chances to extend their lead - Sergio Aguero's effort blocked at close-range by Toby Alderweireld and Raheem Sterling somehow denied by Paulo Gazzaniga's outstretched leg - but they looked nervous in the last quarter-of-an-hour. Midweek hero Fernando Llorente was thrown on but ultimately we didn't do enough in front of goal and City returned to the top of the table at the expense of Liverpool thanks to a slender 1-0 triumph.
We set up with a back five including Juan Foyth at right-back and a returning Eric Dier in front of them, but City forged ahead inside five minutes when Aguero nodded the lively Bernardo Silva's ball into the box back across goal for Foden to head home his first Premier League goal. In spite of the hosts' determination, we were creating chances of our own and it seemed unfortunate that we went in trailing at the break. The first of four chances in the opening half came moments before Foden's goal when Heung-Min Son capitalised on a defensive mistake and produced a venomous strike from the left angle, only for Ederson to make the block at his near post, before the City stopper denied Christian Eriksen what would have been a wonderful goal as he tried to finish off a beautiful flowing move in the 14th minute.
Two minutes later we were in again thanks to excellent vision from Eriksen to release Son from deep, but centre-back Aymeric Laporte summoned an equally impressive recovery tackle just as he pulled the trigger. The hosts had a spell of sustained possession without seriously threatening Gazzaniga - in for Hugo Lloris, who missed out with a small muscular problem, as one of five changes from Wednesday night's outing - but we remained a real threat on the break and after Ederson gathered Foyth's right-wing cross just ahead of Lucas, another golden chance evaporated just prior to the interval. Son produced a great touch and turn in midfield to go racing free with three City defenders riding his coat-tails, benefitted from a fortunate ricochet between two of those, only to see Ederson come striding out to the edge of his area to save his eventual low shot.
The second half wasn't as action-packed as the first but wasn't without incident. Both sides saw appeals for handball in the box fall on deaf ears as Aguero's shot was blocked by the stooping Alderweireld six yards out, who then put his hands on the floor to steady himself, before ex-Spur Kyle Walker appeared to nudge the ball behind with his arm for City as Dele pulled down Alderweireld's long pass in the area. In both cases, referee Michael Oliver said there was nothing doing.
Gazzaniga kept us in the game with an excellent block on his line to thwart Sterling on 71 minutes before Lucas controlled another long ball for us brilliantly two minutes later, only for his low shot from the right angle to be blocked by a combination of Stones and Ederson.
Eriksen had been unlucky not to draw us level when his shot from inside the box under pressure was kept out by Ederson, but arguably our best chance to get something out of the game fell to Son in the 44th minute.
City had lost key midfielder Kevin De Bruyne to injury moments earlier and a goal in that spell would surely have been a big blow.
To Son's credit, he fashioned the chance of his own accord, controlling the ball well in midfield before quickly turning and driving forward into space. The City defence caught up but fluffed their lines, leaving the South Korean forward with a shooting chance but, after turning onto his left foot and trying to slide it under the advancing Ederson, the goalkeeper pounced low to make the save.
Manager Mauricio Pochettino was always expecting a difficult outing just two-and-a-half days removed from our Champions League battle on the same ground, but praised his players for the way they tried to overthrow a home side battling to retain the Premier League title.
"I'm disappointed with the result but the performance was very good," he told Spurs TV. "We competed in very difficult circumstances and the team always faced the game. I'm a little bit disappointed in the way we conceded again after five minutes, I think we created the clearer chance before we conceded and when we conceded we didn't score and it was tough but I think we handled the game really well.
"I am so happy, we created a lot of chances, at least I think we deserved a draw but in football, sometimes you get what you deserve, sometimes not. We were a little bit were unlucky today, I think Ederson was man of the match."
Reaction on Spurs TV
Manchester City 1-0 Spurs
Manchester City (4-2-3-1): Ederson, Walker, Stones, Laporte, Zinchenko, Gundogan, De Bruyne (Fernandinho 37), Foden (D Silva 85), B Silva, Sterling, Aguero (c, Sane 65). Substitutes (not used): Muric, Otamendi, Mahrez, G Jesus.
Spurs (5-3-2): Gazzaniga, Foyth, Alderweireld (Llorente 78), Sanchez, Vertonghen (c), Davies, Dier (Wanyama 61), Eriksen, Dele (Rose 69), Lucas, Son. Substitutes (not used): Vorm, Walker-Peters, Skipp, Janssen.
Goal: Manchester City - Foden 5.
Yellow cards: Manchester City - Sterling 90+3; Spurs - Wanyama 86, Vertonghen 90+3.
Referee: Michael Oliver.
Venue: Etihad Stadium, Manchester.
Weather: Sunny, 23 degrees.