Tottenham Hotspur hosted Manchester City on Sunday knowing a result could put them in a good position to claw their way back into contention for a top-four finish. They didn’t just get a result — they took down the two-time defending champions 2-0 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Steven Bergwijn scored on his Tottenham debut and Son Heung-Min added the insurance as Spurs leaped up to fifth in the table.
Jose Mourinho put out a strong lineup against the defending champions, who were themselves dealing with an injured defensive back four. New signing Steven Bergwijn slotted straight into the starting lineup just a few days after joining the team from PSV Eindhoven. Japhet Tanganga was again preferred at left back, while Giovani Lo Celso and Harry Winks were paired in the center of midfield. Son Heung-Min, Dele Alli, and Lucas Moura completed the attacking band.
4’ — No chances for either side thus far, though City is keeping much of the ball. Spurs haven’t really gotten out of their half yet.
6’ — Dele gets through on goal, but is (wrongfully) flagged for offside. His shot didn’t trouble Ederson anyway.
13’ — OWWWWWW Raheem Sterling goes in late on Dele Alli’s ankle. He’s down hurt. VAR has a look at it, Kevin Friend deems it NOT a red card and what the hell is the point of VAR.
21’ — Fantastic defensive play from Davinson Sanchez! Aguero got free in the box but Davi snuck in and took the ball right off his feet to save a goal. Hugo then went low to save the ball from going out for a corner.
27’ — Golden chance for City. Davinson Sanchez with a hospital ball straight to Riyad Mahrez. He finds Aguero, who plonks the ball of the post. Spurs scramble it away, but that was scary.
29’ — Lo Celso has been excellent so far, on both sides of the ball. Here he makes an interception to prevent a shot, then slides in for a clean tackle near the area. He’s so good.
34’ — Yellow card on City’s Kyle Walker after he goes in late on Lucas. Free kick to Spurs outside the area is taken by Lo Celso but doesn’t clear the wall.
39’ — VAR, man. Serge Aurier had tackled Aguero in the box, two minutes went past, and then Kevin Friend initiated a VAR check and gave the penalty. This is criminal.
40’ — PENALTY SAVED BY LLORIS!!!! And now ANOTHER VAR check after Hugo goes for the loose ball on the rebound and takes out Raheem Sterling. AND NO PENALTY. This is just comedy.
41’ — We’re still sorting out what the hell happened. Alderweireld, Zinchenko both pick up yellows and play resumes. Wild.
49’ — Another near goal by City. Mahrez passes to Sterling in the box, and he squares it Mahrez who somehow manages to stab it wide from point-blank range. Whew.
HALF-TIME: No score. A wild finish to the half that almost beggars belief. City thrashing Spurs in xG, but Tottenham haven’t played poorly.
46’ — We’re back underway and it looks like Son and Lucas have swapped positions.
49’ — A comedy of errors at the back for Spurs. Hugo rushed out to collect but collided with Tanganga. Toby clears a shot off the line and Aguero somehow puts the rebound over the bar. Wow.
55’ — Lucas gets an interception just outside of City’s box but dallies on the ball just a bit too long. He’s able to pass to Dele, but he’s offside.
61’ — SECOND YELLOW ON ZINCHENKO! HE’S OFF! He shoulder-barged Harry Winks on a counterattack and Mike Dean showed no hesitation in giving him his second yellow. Spurs are up a man with a half hour to play!
63’ — GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL!!!!!!! IT’S BERGWIJN ON HIS PREMIER LEAGUE DEBUT! Lucas Moura sees Bergwijn open and passes it to him in the box. Great one-touch control and Bergwijn fires it past Ederson! TOTTENHAM LEAD 1-0!!!
66’ — Yellow on Lo Celso for fouling Walker and it’s earned, very late and reckless.
69 — Bergwijn is down and looks hurt, but it might just be a cramp. Ederson is out to stretch him out, and that’s kinda cool.
67’ — A rare double-sub for Spurs — the goal-scoring hero is off as Bergwijn leaves the pitch for Erik Lamela, and Tanguy Ndomble is on for Dele.
70’ — GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAALLLL!!! IT’S SONNY AND HE MAKES IT 2-0!! Tanguy Ndombele, with virtually his first touch, dribbles a City player and puts a perfect through-ball to Son in the box. Sonny puts it in the corner and Spurs are rolling!
74’ — Spurs are turning the screws now and are way more aggressive going forward. They want to kill this off.
79’ — Yowwww, Aurier went in like a madman on a City shot and gets a head to the ball. It goes straight up into the air but could’ve gone anywhere including past Lloris.
84’ — Tottenham’s final sub is Eric Dier for Lucas Moura. Also one for City as Sterling comes off for Bernardo Silva.
85’ — Fernandinho somehow got his shoulder into Ndombele’s face. He’s down getting treatment, but Mike Dean declined to call a foul.
88’ — Great save from Hugo Lloris to tip a ball from De Bruyne over the bar... but he’s down holding his leg. Looks like nothing, though — he’s back up. 5 minutes of extra time to be played.
92’ — Sonny goes for 3-0, but his shot is straight at Ederson who saves it easily.
94’ — Yellow on Rodri for tripping up Lamela as he dribbled through midfield.
96’ — City nearly pulled one back after Sanchez puts a defensive header off the crossbar.
FULL TIME! A fantastic result for Spurs at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium as they take down the defending champions 2-0!
- Look, I’m not really a blame-the-ref guy but I’m not sure it’s possible for an officiating team to fuck up a half of football more than Mike Dean and VAR official Kevin Friend did in that first half. From the red-worthy tackle by Raheem Sterling to the delayed VAR call on Aurier to the no-penalty call on Hugo Lloris... at least it was non-biased terrible officiating. And VAR is still worthless.
- Well, how good is Steven Bergwijn? He’s an impressive player — shows for the ball well, dribbly, quick, and good defensively. He’s skill to control and one-touch that Lucas pass and fire it into the net was amazing. We got ourselves a talent.
- All of Spurs’ marginal players had one major goof and were otherwise fine-to-good — Sanchez, Winks, Aurier, Tanganga. (#TangGang was significantly more than fine, too)
- The only reason I can think of why Tanguy Ndombele isn’t playing more is that he must be nursing an injury of some kind and can’t go 90 minutes. He was so good as soon as he came on, delivering the assist to Sonny with almost his first touch, and leaving Rodri for dead in midfield.
- This was without question the biggest result under Jose Mourinho thus far, even though they were blown away in xG — FiveThirtyEight.com had the xG as 3.5 - .5 in favor of Manchester City. My response? Scoreboard.
- Chelsea’s next two matches: home vs. United, at Tottenham. Spurs’ next league match is at Villa. The next couple of weeks could be a very important stretch for Spurs.