Tottenham Hotspur got a penalty kick from Harry Kane and a late goal from Christian Eriksen, and escaped the Etihad with a 2-1 win over Manchester City on Sunday. The win keeps Spurs in second place over Arsenal via goal differential and Spurs narrowed the gap on Leicester City in what is shaping up to be a super exciting title race in the Premier League.
City welcomed back two important players for them in this match, as Vincent Kompany and David Silva both started after injury layoffs. This was Kompany's first match since Boxing Day and he started alongside Otamendi in the center of defense. Spurs started with their strongest 11, with Danny Rose and Kyle Walker starting at the fullback positions, and Son Heung-Min starting ahead of Erik Lamela.
Spurs started the game well, pushing forward early and trying to put City on their back heels early. It didn't take long for City to adapt, putting Spurs' midfield under a lot of pressure. Son Heung-Min had the best chance for either side early, but his goal from the right on a very acute angle was correctly called back for offside.
The opening half was very even and back and forth, but there were actually very few good chances on goal. Mark Clattenberg called a very open match and appeared to swallow his whistle for the entire first half: Yaya Toure had three card-worthy challenges that were waved away by the official, but Eric Dier was booked for a similar tackle at the end of the half.
The first half ended scoreless.
The second half got underway with no substitutions, but with Raheem Sterling and David Silva switching flanks, ostensibly to better deal with the forward threat of Kyle Walker on the right flank.
Spurs opened their scoring account in the 52' minute. Danny Rose's cross into the box was blocked by Raheem Sterling in the box, and Clattenburg adjudged that he handled the ball. Replays showed that Clattenburg got it completely wrong and City fans should feel aggrieved to have the penalty given, but whatever. Harry Kane converted from the spot to put Spurs up 1-0.
After the goal, the match really opened up as City were forced to chase an equalizer. Spurs' defense was but under a great deal of pressure, but they weathered the storm and didn't give up much to City's forward attackers. City subbed out Fernando for Kelechi Iheanacho in an attempt to inject a little pace into midfield.
Spurs made their first substitution in the 70th minute with Tom Carroll coming on for Son Heung-Min. City equalized soon after. Silva and Gael Clichy played some nice back and forth, and Clichy fired a nice cross into the box to meet a wide open Iheanacho who fired it past Hugo Lloris.
Spurs needed an offensive injection and fresh legs, so Dele Alli made way for Erik Lamela in the 80th minute and it paid almost instant dividends: Erik Lamela ran straight at the City defense with the ball and hit Christian Eriksen in the box who made a late run. Eriksen cooly slotted it home, and Spurs led 2-1.
Nursing a late lead, Pochettino brought on Nacer Chadli for Harry Kane in the 89th minute. Spurs sat men behind the ball for the remainder of the match and survived a furious sequence from City in the closing minutes. Hugo Lloris came across goal to palm away City's best chance, taking a knock in the process, and Spurs saw off the match. The final score was 2-1.
- What a match! It wasn't the prettiest, but Spurs got the job done in a hostile environment and won for the first time at the Etihad since 2010.
- I'm not usually one to bag on a match official, but Mark Clattenburg was universally awful today. He took the "let them play" approach in this match and it was awful. City should've had at least two yellows in the first half, and the penalty against Sterling was a terrible call. The calls might have benefitted Spurs more than City on balance, but sheesh, was he bad.
- Not a great match from Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min. Kane, despite the penalty goal, was essentially anonymous for much of the match, and Son was trying stuff but it just wasn't coming off. A rare off-game from both of them.
- Wimmer and Alderweireld did a nice job neutralizing the threats of Aguero, Silva, and Sterling, for the most part. Aguero had a couple of chances, and thankfully his finishing was a bit off. Wimmer lost Iheanacho on City's goal, but on the whole I thought Spurs' defense was, once again, very good.
- Watching Yaya Toure go up against Mousa Dembele was a lot of fun. Dembele I think out-muscled Yaya for most of the match even though Dembele didn't have the greatest match in the passing department.
- Erik Lamela's substitution was inspired, and exactly what Spurs needed. He went straight at City and it actually caught them off guard.
- Spurs are still in second place via goal differential over Arsenal and have narrowed the gap on Leicester City to two points. Holy crap, you guys, this season! The North London Derby is going to have real title implications and I can't freakin' wait!