Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City have played a whole bunch of games against each other since they both got semi-good to very good. Very few of them have been boring. It hasn’t always been a slugfest — both Spurs and City have had some equally thumping wins, and if you’re doing a running tally it’s safe to say that City has been on paper better that Spurs for the majority of the past decade or so. Oil money will do that to a club.
But my oh my, there have been some MOMENTS over the last 11 years. Spurs may have lost 3-0 at City on Saturday, but it seems like a good time, when we all need a little cheering up, to reminisce about a few of the really good ones (and commiserate about some of the bad ones).
Here are your Tottenham Hotspur player ratings to the theme of Spurs vs. City Moments.
5 stars: the 2019 Champions League quarter final second leg
There’s a certain amount of irony about putting a 4-3 loss at the top of these rankings. But just look what happened: Spurs went down early, scored two away goals in two minutes, had a third goal go in off the hip of
God Fernando Llorente that was upheld by VAR, and then had a heartbreaking goal by Raheem Sterling called back by VAR for Sergio Aguero being marginally offside in the buildup. The end result: a 4-3 loss, but a 4-4 aggregate win due to away goals, a trip to the Champions League semi-finals, and a WHOLE lot of banter. It’s the happiest I’ve ever been to lose a match.
Oh hell no, there’s nobody here.
4 stars: Crouchy’s goal to send Spurs to the Champions League (2010)
Back in 2009, the idea of a Tottenham Hotspur making the Champions League seemed ludicrous, but they had a chance to clinch it in the penultimate match of the season. All they had to do was beat a Manchester City side that under Roberto Mancini had Champions League qualification ambitions of their own, and that was starting Emmanuel Adebayor and Carlos Tevez. Spurs had a number of chances that just wouldn’t go in including a goal by Ledley King that was called back for a perceived foul in the box. But then Younes Kaboul skinned Craig Bellamy in the 82nd minute and fired a cross that Martin Fulop palmed away, only for Crouchy, that glorious, goofy giraffe of a man, to head it into the net. It felt like a sea change at the time, a moment of glory. It turned out to be the beginning of what brought Spurs to the big boys’ table in the Premier League.
Nope, nobody here either.
3.5 stars: Tottenham 4-1 City (2015)
I remember this game mostly because Kevin De Bruyne scored his second goal for City to put the visitors up 1-0, Raheem Sterling nearly doubled their lead but for a huge save from Hugo, and then Eric Dier scored a wormburner off the post right before halftime. Spurs ran riot in the second half, getting goals from Alderweireld, Kane, and an incredible round-the-keeper goal from Erik Lamela. Just a good old-fashioned thumping.
Japhet Tanganga (Community — 3.0): If there’s a bright spot in this match, TangGang was probably it. Dealt well with Sterling and Foden and while not perfect he can use this performance as a springboard.
3 stars: Tottenham 0-0 Man City (2010)
There haven’t been that many dull matches between these two teams in recent memory. This probably comes the closest. It’s noteworthy only in that it was one of the first times that Joe Hart slipped ahead of Shay Given to get a start under Roberto Mancini. Eleven years later and Hart is backing up Hugo Lloris at Tottenham. Sliding doors.
Harry Kane (Community — 3.0): Smacked a free kick off the post after 13 minutes and worked his butt off but didn’t get many openings.
Tanguy Ndombele (Community — 3.0): A couple of good moments in the second half when moved to the 10, but was unusually quiet in this match. Then again, so was everyone else.
2.5 stars: Man City 3-0 Tottenham (2021)
Yeah, it sucked, but considering the gulf in both money and talent between these two sides, and the number of individual errors that hurt Spurs, it’s not at all a surprising outcome. And yet it’s not the worst City loss I’ve seen.
Pierre Hojbjerg (Community — 2.5): Second match in a row that he’s had a specious penalty called against him. There was contact, I suppose, but was still pretty weak. Hoj certainly wasn’t abject, but he’s another player who’s had a pretty tough week.
Erik Lamela (Community — 2.5): After a couple of really nice matches, we didn’t get much from Erik in terms of offensive output but did get a little minor murder, and that’s always fun I guess.
Davinson Sanchez (Community — 2.0): Got turned for City’s third goal but otherwise I thought he had a fairly decent match in defense.
Eric Dier (Community — 2.5): His positioning left a lot to be desired in this match but he wasn’t directly responsible for a goal so I guess there’s that.
Dele (Community — 2.0): Nearly a half hour of action, but couldn’t really make an impact. Not especially surprising, or his fault — City had so much of the ball he rarely could get anything going even when he did get a touch.
Gareth Bale (Community — 2.5): Honestly, he might have had better quality shots to score than Kane did in this match. Why aren’t we using him as a center forward, and why do we care what he thinks about the idea?
Jose Mourinho (Community — 2.0): I don’t necessarily disagree with the way Mou set up the squad against an obviously better City team on a hot streak. That’s pretty much to be expected from Mou against the top teams, and it can be effective. It wasn’t here, clearly. I do question the SIssoko halftime sub, which killed any chance Spurs had of getting back in the match. Also... Son as a defensive winger, why?
2 stars: Tottenham 1-5 City (2014)
This match wasn’t exactly a Tim Sherwood Special, but it did happen under Sherwood and we did get our butts kicked by Manuel Pellegrini. The first half ended with Spurs down 0-1, but Danny Rose got sent off after conceding a penalty five minutes into the second half and it all went downhill from there. This match was the first game they’d played since that 6-0 drubbing the previous November (see below) and for a while it felt like Spurs might never beat City again.
Hugo Lloris (Community — 1.5): Whoof. It’s hard to justify the errors that Hugo made in this match. He’s had a really bad week. I’m not yet on the “Hugo is crocked” train yet, but it sure does appear to be time to start looking at a long-term replacement for him.
Ben Davies (Community — 2.0): Bless him he tried, but got torched several times by Sterling over the course of the match. Hurry back, Reggie.
Lucas Moura (Community — 2.0): Sometimes Lucas is bright and direct and progressive with the ball, and sometimes he just... isn’t. This was one of the latter category.
Son Heung-Min (Community — 2.0): The tactical direction appeared to be to have Son sit deeper and defend, especially in the second half, which was a bit baffling. But Sonny never got out of first gear in this match, really. I don’t think he had a single shot. Just an all around disappointing match from him.
Moussa Sissoko (Community — 2.0): Not sure what Sissoko was supposed to be doing out there. Whatever it was, he didn’t do it.
1 star: Man City 6-0 Tottenham
This was the absolute nadir of the Andre Villas-Boas era. They went to the Etihad against an admittedly very good City team, and laid an egg, losing 6-0. It could’ve been even worse. It was one of the most depressing performances I had seen Spurs put in up to that point in my fandom, and it proved to be the death knell for AVB — he was fired two weeks later.
No Tottenham players were as bad as that 6-0 loss at Manchester City.