Manchester City and Tottenham came into this game under pressure. Mancini was under pressure after his side’s draws against West ham and Ajax. Spurs on the other hand came into this game after a home defeat against Wigan Athletic than had piled up the pressure on AVB. In the end City proved too strong for Tottenham, but required a late goal to ensure that they left the Etihad with all 3 points.
1: City have their own super-sub
In Eden Dzeko, Manchester City have their own super-sub who has helped City claw their way back from the jaws of the defeat on numerous occasions. The equalizer against QPR helped City become champions last season, his double ensured that 10 men City got 3 points at the Hawthorns and his late winner today ensured that City got all 3 points against Spurs yet again under dramatic circumstances. He may not be starting games with Aguero and Tevez in the side, but Dzeko provides Mancini with a headache that all managers would welcome.
2: Spurs have not replaced their star players
Last season Spurs had one of the best midfields in the League. Modric and Parker provided a perfect balance of guile and industry. Van Der Vaart provided the craft and goals which gave Spurs another dimension going forward. Today on the other hand, Huddlestone and Sandro kept misplacing passes and didn’t offer any guile in the middle of the park. Dempsey was anonymous and looked like no.2 rather than a no.10 when played just off Adebayor. Spurs will need Parker and Dembele back from injury soon to kick start their season.
3: Mancini’s switch to a 3-5-2 was the turning point
Spurs took the lead against the run of play in the first half and were then happy to sit back and try and hit City on the counter. Mancini’s use of Maicon proved to be the key turning point in the game. The substitution brought a change in formation from a 4-2-3-1 to a 3-5-2 and ensured that Silva was brought into a central position and could influence the game more. It was no surprise that Dzeko’s winner came from a beautiful chipped pass from David Silva.
4: Win will kick start City’s season
City and Mancini have been in the papers for all the wrong reasons this season. Poor European form, defensive frailties and the Balotelli situation have been the talking points off late but the fact is that City are still there in the title race just behind the table toppers and are unbeaten at home since December 2010. While Mancini may have come under pressure recently, the fact of the matter is that City continue to grind out results domestically and are the only team to remain unbeaten this season and this win may be the catalyst that kick-starts their season.
5: Man in the middle was the MoM
In recent weeks the referees have been in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons and we have been talking about the introduction of video technology in the after math of each game. But today Michael Oliver was absolutely brilliant. Tempers threatened to flare in the first half between Zabaleta and Adebayor as the City players looked frustrated but Mike Oliver kept his cards in check and got all the big decisions spot on. He also played a couple of good advantages and kept the game flowing as much as he could. So in a game that didn’t kick start till late in the second half the man in the middle was my ‘Man of the Match’.
6: Villas-Boas under pressure
Andre Villas Boas will surely be under pressure from the fans after Spur’s poor form in recent weeks. Leads have been squandered in big games against Chelsea and now Manchester City. Their home defeat to Wigan surely wasn’t a welcome one and the historic win at Old Trafford now seems a distant memory. The inclusion of Adebayor today, instead of Spurs ‘man of the moment’ Jermain Defoe surely was a debatable decision. His substitutions were too defensive and questionable and cost Spurs the 3 points. With Arsenal away (London Derby) next weekend, a win is a must to get the fans off his back.
– By Rohit Shankarmani