Home win over City sends us top - match report and debrief
Spurs 2-0 Manchester City
Sat 21 November 2020, 19:26|Tottenham Hotspur
A performance of real discipline and maturity laid the foundation for a superb 2-0 victory over Manchester City at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday evening, as we climbed back to the top of the Premier League.
A goal in each half from Heung-Min Son and Giovani Lo Celso – his first in the league in our colours – gave us the win but it was the display of sheer character, defensive solidity and true determination that was most eye-catching from this result.
Son put us ahead after just five minutes, latching onto Tanguy Ndombele’s pass to slot past Ederson and give us something to defend. And defend we did, not just in numbers but as a team from front to back, with real efficiency and in outstanding fashion as City just couldn’t find a way through. They thought they had equalised in the 27th minute when Aymeric Laporte swept home from Gabriel Jesus’ pass but there was a suspicion of handball from the Brazilian and referee Mike Dean ruled it out after being advised by VAR to check the pitchside monitor.
There was no change to the pattern of the game after the interval but we soaked up the pressure and hit Pep Guardiola’s side on the break to extend our lead. We made our first change in the 65th minute with Lo Celso replacing Ndombele and it proved to be a masterstroke! Within seconds, Kane picked up Toby Alderweireld’s pass on half-way, advanced on goal before sliding a pass to Lo Celso down the left channel. The Argentine’s first touch of the game took him into the area and with his second he beat Ederson to double our lead.
There was simply no way through for the visitors as we kept it tight and even when they did get a good sight of goal, Hugo Lloris made a stunning point-blank save to keep out Ruben Dias’ header. That was in the 90th minute – and with that miss, City’s chance was gone and we had picked up three of the most deserved points of our season so far.
Game plan works to a tee
It might not have been pretty, free-flowing football but this scoreline was the result of a plan implemented to perfection. Admittedly, we were helped by the early goal but from the moment Son put us ahead, every member of the team stuck to their roles and that enabled us to stay tight, stay disciplined and do the right things at the right times.
City had the first sight of goal when Ferran Torres drilled a 25-yarder straight at Lloris after just 65 seconds but we were soon in front. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg took a quick free-kick to Ndombele, he spotted the run of Son and clipped a ball over the top into his path for the South Korean international, who took a lovely first touch to control and then slot through the legs of Ederson and into the net.
Kane had the ball in the net on 13 minutes but it was ruled out for offside and two minutes later, Kevin De Bruyne’s free-kick was met well by Rodrigo but he headed straight at Lloris. City had failed to score on their two previous visits to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and they were unable to change that on this occasion, even though they will have felt hard done by with the goal ruled out on 27 minutes. Rodrigo sent over a cross which flicked off Moussa Sissoko and was controlled by Jesus, whose pass was converted by Laporte. It looked like handball by Jesus and when referee Dean was advised by the VAR to go and look at the pitchside monitor to check the incident, he decided exactly that and the goal was chalked off.
The statistics will show City with 66 per cent possession and 22 shots, but only five of those were on target and Lloris wasn’t seriously troubled until the final minute of the game. Instead, we were clinical, scoring with both of our shots on target and Lo Celso only needed 35 seconds of action to double our lead! Kane – who was superb throughout the game – played the perfect pass for the Argentine midfielder and he made no mistake. From then on, it was about continuing to perform with discipline and we did just that, limiting City to just that one chance in the 90th minute for Dias. The only negative of the evening was an injury to Alderweireld, who was replaced in the 81st minute by Joe Rodon for his home debut.
The victory saw us move back to the top of the Premier League, climbing above Chelsea who had gone top after beating Newcastle earlier in the day. We will stay at the summit overnight but Leicester City could overtake us if they beat Liverpool on Sunday.
We are on the longest unbeaten run in the Premier League – it’s now eight games without defeat since losing to Everton on the opening day of the season. We have now lost just one of our last 14 Premier League games (W9 D4).
Son’s goal after five minutes was the earliest Premier League goal City had conceded since December, 2016.
Jose Mourinho made two changes to the side that started at West Brom before the international break – Serge Aurier and Steven Bergwijn, who memorably scored on his debut in this fixture last season, came in for Matt Doherty and Gareth Bale. Bale was on the bench.
Reaction on Spurs TV
'The players went to the limits of their energy'
Jose was delighted with the team's display, telling Spurs TV after the game: "Big team, big hearts, big solidarity, a proper team, a team that I believe makes Tottenham fans proud. Players going to the limits of their energy, sacrifice for the game plan, coping well with let’s say a new pressure of ‘if you win the match, you go top of the league for 24 hours’. I’m very proud. They deserve big applause and lots of respect."
Spurs 2-0 Manchester City
Spurs (4-2-3-1): Lloris (c), Aurier, Alderweireld (Rodon 81), Dier, Reguilon, Hojbjerg, Sissoko, Son, Ndombele (Lo Celso 65), Bergwijn (Lucas 73), Kane. Substitutes (not used): Hart, Davies, Bale, Vinicius.
City (4-3-3): Ederson, Walker, Dias, Laporte, Cancelo, De Bruyne (c), Rodrigo, Bernardo Silva (Foden 72), Mahrez (Sterling 72), Jesus, Torres. Substitutes (not used): Steffen, Stones, Gundogan, Aguero, Garcia.
Goals: Spurs – Son 5, Lo Celso 65.
Yellow cards: Spurs – Sissoko, Kane; City – Dias, Torres.
Referee: Mike Dean.
Venue: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Weather: Thick cloud, gentle breeze, 10 degrees.