It's sometimes hard to find a suitable candidate for Man of the Match after a 4-1 thumping. Especially when the overall MOTM was clearly Sergio Agüero, who scored four goals in scintillating fashion for Manchester City, regularly torching Spurs' back line. However, the match wasn't all doom and gloom for Spurs. Three players played very well and were contenders for Spurs' MOTM: Hugo Lloris, Christian Eriksen, and Ryan Mason. Today, I'm choosing Mason.
In a match that was marred by defensive frailties and questionable refereeing decisions, Mason proved to be Tottenham's engine. He was all over the center of midfield, looking up the pitch and trying to find open teammates on the counterattack. His passing was clean and incisive, and he showed moments of excellent vision, starting with a beautiful run to receive a through-ball from Roberto Soldado in the eighth minute that was parried away by Joe Hart. Nine minutes later, Mason's sliding tackle on Fernando was the key play that set up Christian Eriksen's goal. Mason had another blistering shot in the 41st minute that was again blocked away by Hart.
We never cheer for injuries to opposition players, but it was Mason who put in a good (and fair) tackle on Frank Lampard that sent the veteran to the sidelines. Mason's midfield partner Etienne Capoue had an unusually poor performance, but it was mitigated somewhat by Mason's willingness to press City's central midfielders in the absence of Yaya Toure and try to win balls high up the pitch.
Hugo Lloris is Tottenham's best player and despite letting in four goals he played very well, blocking one of three (!!) penalties and making some key saves down the stretch that could have made the scoreline even worse. Likewise, Eriksen had a very nice match, positioning himself in open areas and bagging the loan goal for Spurs. But in the end Mason did enough in a horribly difficult away match to earn our accolades.
It's hard to imagine a hotter crucible for Ryan Mason than the one he's just come out of. His first three Premier League starts have been at Arsenal, vs. Southampton, and now at Manchester City. These are three difficult games for any player, and even more so for a player just now breaking into an EPL starting lineup for the first time. But Mason has not only coped with expectations, he's exceeded them, and Saturday's performance was his best yet.