Man City 4 Spurs 1
Guardiola has raised the bar.
I’m not sure how good his Barcelona team was. I don’t watch enough Spanish football and only ever saw them play on TV in the Champions League or El Classico matches. The same applies to German football and Bayern. However, I do know it is much easier to dominate in the 2-3 horse races that are La Liga and the Bundesliga.
Whereas to come to England and win 17 games out of 18 is something else entirely. The Premier League may not be a democracy but it is much more egalitarian than its continental counterparts. For Man City to brush Spurs aside so easily was humiliating for us but also daunting. It could, indeed should, have been 6 or 7 nil. Our players folded from back to front, with Lloris and the defence quickly pressed into hopeless indecision, our midfield overrun or waltzed through, and eventually Kane and Alli reduced to petulance. Eriksen huffed and puffed, Rose showed fight, Vertonghen stood tall, but I can’t recall a more uneven contest involving Spurs since Pochettino arrived. It was embarrassing.
Of course, we can point to Toby’s injury and Sanchez’s suspension. Wanyama would have made a difference. Lamela could only come off the bench to lead our press when it was already too late. Our first team, on form, could still give this City team a game. But Guardiola has raised the bar and excuses won’t cut it. The most vivid symbol of the difference between us was their £50m Walker at Right Back, using his pace and power we know so well, whilst our £3.5m Trippier at Right Back was made to look like a mannequin by Sane.
It must have hurt Poch. He knows we could have played better. But he also knows that he was out-thought. Poch is too classy to blame oil money (as Wenger did). City’s economic firepower is a simple fact. Spurs have been playing catch up financially since the mistakes of the 1980s (Scholar) and 1990s (Sugar). This Man City team is about more than just money.
We were out-fought in almost every individual matchup. The single moment we had a chance of getting something was when Lamela created an opportunity for Winks. That could have reduced the margin to 2-1 and made a fight of it. Winks should have gone over for a penalty but he stayed on his feet and the chance was lost. We had 7 shots but only 2 of them on target, while City dominated with 20 shots, 11 on target, a missed penalty, and 53 per cent possession.
Recovering from this won’t be easy. For 2 ½ Seasons, Spurs have been on a par with any other club. Yes, we lost a few matches, we failed to win the title, but the team knew we were in with a shout in every single game. On Saturday, 5.30 p.m. at the Etihad, we were outplayed.
Sadly, there’s nothing more to be said. Other than …
COYS. Get well soon.