Football returned after the international break and the clash between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City was the most awaited one for the football fans. Back in North London, the winter breeze has started to flow and in the center of the pitch, two of the most gifted brains in world football – Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola prepared to heat things up.

There were rumours that Pep might leave Manchester City after the end of this season, but the City hierarchy made sure, the Catalan does not leave and stay in Eithad. His contract had been renewed and it brought a new life among the fans of City.

However, after 48 hours, Mourinho, brought the City fans back to the earth and gave them a reality check.

The Spurs made an excellent start when a lofted ball from Ndombele found Son Heung-min, who beat the offside trap and took one touch with his right foot before sending a cool finish with his left through the legs of an onrushing Ederson.

Harry Kane had the ball in the net after a superb move involving Son, only to be denied by an offside flag.

After that, the Spurs sat deeper in the midblock, and thus, City pushed up and attacked. The tactics to sit deep in the midblock allowed Ndombele to push up and partner with Kane – they were pressing Ruben Dias Laporte. This pressing forced Kyle Walker to join the center-backs and win the numerical superiority.

With the situation turned 3 vs 2 – Joao Cancelo joined Rodrigo in the midfield to form a pivot and allow the front five to advance more aggressively. Watching the numerical superiority in front of the City goal, Ndombele and Kane dropped deep and occupied in between the pivots of City with the intent to cut off the supply chain.

The wingers of the Spurs: Bergwin and Son became the markers of Kevin de Bruyne and Bernardo Silva respectively, but their pace was outweighed them and for which Hojbjerg and Sissoko had to drop deeper to weather the storm.

Mourinho had congested the midfield and City relied on the long balls to push it towards the wider players. But they failed to create an impact because Mourinho had cut off the passing lanes.

City controlled proceedings with Ferran Torres, Rodri, and Ruben Dias all forcing routine saves from Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.

City thought they had leveled the contest after 27 minutes when Laporte fired in, only for referee Mike Dean to overturn the goal after viewing the monitor, having found Gabriel Jesus handled Rodri’s cross before passing to the defender.

The desperation of City grew and their pivots joined the attack while the backline remained higher enough.

With the pivots joining the attack and the backline leaving spaces behind them, Kane and Ndombele were left free.

City continued to probe without creating a notable opportunity before a swift Spurs counter-attack saw Kane thread a pass-through to Lo Celso, the substitute hitting a fine left-footed finish beyond Ederson just 35 seconds after replacing Ndombele.

It was coming because the acres of space that was left for Kane to exploit, dented City’s over-attacking style.

Guardiola threw on England duo Phil Foden and Raheem Sterling with 18 minutes left but Lloris saved from Dias late on as Spurs held on for a memorable victory by the same scoreline as they won this fixture in February.

City had 11 shots to Spurs’ one in the first half and 68.7 percent of the possession, and by the end of the game had won the shot battle 22-4; and despite all those attempts and fury on the pitch, Mourinho showed how a football match can be won if you wait for the opportunity and hit the jackpot at the right moment.


Mourinho is a genius and it has been proved once again!

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