Pep vs Pochettino, 2nd vs 5th. It was always going to be a massive game. The neutral was happy that it lived up to the hype. For Spurs and City fans, it was a roller coaster of emotions.
Tottenham will be the happiest after the result. Spurs came from behind to draw 2-2 in a thrilling encounter on the blue side of Manchester.
Spurs were up against it for most of the match, and they almost capitulated. It took the shock of a 2-0 scoreline to wake them up and inspire them to push back in the game.
...and breathe. #COYS pic.twitter.com/ojCr71unwQ— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) January 21, 2017
In the week ahead of this match, the main debate among Spurs fans was over who should replace the injured Jan Vertonghen. Kevin Wimmer filled in admirably last season, but some believe Ben Davies a better fit for Jan’s LCB role. But ultimately Mauricio Pochettino chose to go with Wimmer today.
Manchester City altered their lineup a bit after the 4-0 drubbing they got at Everton last week. Pep Guardiola opted for Alexsandar Kolarov at CB, sending John Stones to the bench. City’s newly signed Brazilian prodigy, Jesus, would come off the bench to make his first appearance.
The first half was dominated by the home team. They managed 4 shots on target and controlled the possession. If not for some smart Hugo Lloris saves and a couple of last-second tackles, we would’ve been behind.
Many of City’s attacks were started by Tottenham’s sloppy passing at the back. Wimmer and Dier gave the ball away in some very dangerous spots. Some of these giveaways allowed Guardiola’s side to come inches within a goal.
The halftime whistle was the most enjoyable halftime whistle I have ever heard. Somehow, we’d made it to the break without conceding.
Wimmer was pulled for the second half, replaced by Son as Spurs had decided to return to the back four.
City started where they left off, and opened the scoring on 49 minutes. Kevin De Bruyne played a long ball forward that prompted Lloris to come off his line. He came out of the box to clear, but his header came off of Sane. City’s 21-year-old controlled, and had a tap-in on an empty net.
The spotlight was on Lloris just a few moments later for Man City’s second. He mishandled a cross, allowing KDB to poke the ball into the net. It was an uncharacteristic mistake from our captain.
Another goal came in the 58th minute. This time it was Spurs pulling one back against the run of play. Kyle Walker played a brilliant cross in for Dele Alli, who finished with a header from point-blank range.
Spurs had just scored, but were dealt a blow when Toby Alderweireld had to come off with a hamstring injury. This meant Victor Wanyama slotting back into central defense alongside Eric Dier.
Then things really took an unusual turn.
Raheem Sterling broke in on goal in the 76th minute from a long ball. Walker was firmly behind him, and gave his England teammate a little push. The push caused Sterling to fall and shoot right at Hugo Lloris. Andre Marriner waved away the penalty appeals. Pep almost had a coronary on the sideline he was so mad.
Then wouldn’t you know it, a minute later we went up the pitch and scored. Harry Kane back-heeled a pass to Heung-min Son, who took his chance to slot the ball past Bravo. Spurs had equalized moments after they should’ve conceded a penalty.
To no one’s surprise, Pep got even madder. Stay tuned for his post match interview. I don’t think he will have many nice things to say about the referee.
The refereeing was poor all game, but there’s no question the big calls went our way. But hey, sometimes that’s just how the Premier League cookie can crumble.
It’s a draw that feels like a win for Pochettino and his players. But they’ll need to be better from the outset when they have another big game against Liverpool in a few weeks time.
All-in-all, it was a great result against a City team that may finally be figuring things out.