Skip to content

Offshore drilling, England: at Manchester City 2, Tottenham Hotspur 1

Nov 11, 2012, 11:24 AM EST

Oh yes. These men are definitely full of joy and happiness. Getty Images

After 45 minutes of control that lacked ambition, Manchester City reversed a 1-0 halftime deficit Sunday at Eastlands, getting second half goals from Sergio Agüero and Edin Dzeko en route to a 2-1 victory over Tottenham Hotspur.

The win came after City went into halftime down one despite controlling the first half, Joe Hart’s error on a Steven Caulker header allowing Spurs to grab a 21st minute lead.

After switching to a 3-5-2 formation near the hour mark, Roberto Mancini’s men got a 65th minute equalizer through Sergio Agüero. The defending league champions continued to press over the match’s final 30 minutes, with David Silva eventually crafting the winning goal for Dzeko.

The win keeps City undefeated and, for the moment, vaults them into second. Spurs stay sixth.

Man of the Match: David Silva, out since Oct. 6 with a hamstring injury, showed what City missed in his absence. Starting on the right, Silva was able to cut in onto his better left foot, frequently testing Tottenham’s high line with a game-high five balls played through the defense. In the 88th minute, Silva went over the line to create the winning score, his adroit chip from 22 yards leaving Dzeko a perfect ball to volley past Brad Friedel.

Threesome of Knowledge: What we learned

Possession is still a better description than indicator.

It took Manchester City over 40 minutes to register their first shot on goal despite possession that stayed between 63 and 65 percent. Part of that number was due to Tottenham’s willingness to absorb their play, but that willingness was permitted by City’s passivity. The Citizens lacked guile in the final third.

In the second half, City’s attitude changed, but their possession number was largely the same. At match’s end, City had 62 percent of the ball despite their drastic change in aggressiveness.

On Sunday, as it is most days, the possession number was a better description of the match’s character than an indicator of one team’s dominance. In the first half, City controlled the match. In the second, they dominated.

Joe Hart is fallible.

This seems as good a time as any to offer that the common English soccer media refrain that Joe Hart is the world’s best goalkeeper may not be true. The world has a lot of great keepers, both renown (Iker Casillas, Gianluigi Buffon) and overlooked (Samir Handanovic, Igor Akinfeev). Mr. Hart has a lot of competition.

Today, we were reminded many of Hart’s accolades may be exaggeration. When Steven Caulker came free of Matija Nastasic on Tom Huddlestone’s 21st minute header, his redirection bounced to an easy height for Hart to handle. For whatever reason, the ball got through his hands and into the lower-right corner, giving Spurs the lead on their first shot.

Mixed day for Mancini’s 3-5-2.

In the second half, the inclusion of Maicon (on at 57′ for Nastasic) allowed City to shift gears. Gael Clichy and Pablo Zabaleta became central defenders, Aleksandr Kolarov dropped to left wing back, and Maicon was handed the right side, where his crossing and (surprisingly) strong defense helped City turn control into dominance. It was a point in the plus column for Mancini’s much-maligned 3-5-2 formation.

But the easy switch to the new setup was only enabled by starting Kolarov at left wing, a decision influenced by the injury absence of Samir Nasri. Having a defender in an attacking position may have contributed to the stall we saw from City over the first hour. It also created a situation where a switch to a 3-5-2 was bound to work, Mancini already switching to a formation that better suited the personnel he started.

Packaged for takeaway

  • On the surface, Emmanuel Adebayor was impressive in his second start of the year, providing Spurs with an outlet from the back as City came into the match. Unfortunately, he failed to put a shot on goal and created only one chance for this teammates. He needs to convert the little things (aerial presences, hold up play) into something dangerous.
  • Clint Dempsey continues to struggle. While he provided a decent defensive presence today, he made no contribution in attack. It’s a description you can apply to most of his Spurs starts. He has yet to find a way to be dangerous for André Villas-Boas.
  • Brad Friedel, on the other hand, had a good day, though he is still tentative coming off his line to claim balls played through (or behind) his defense. Today, apparent miscommunication with Caulker nearly cost Spurs.
  • One explanation for Manchester City’s late match surges continues to be Yaya Touré. Today, we saw City’s habit of releasing their best player to be a more attacking presence when needed. Touré’s probing passing and forays forward wilted Spurs’ defense, his deft touch out to Agüero providing for the first goal. Touré is so consistently effective in this role, it’s a wonder he’s not allowed to fill it from minute one.
Latest Posts
  1. Radamel Falcao wants Manchester United stay, unsure if it will happen

    Dec 17, 2014, 1:50 PM EST

    Can Falcao star for United? AP

    Falcao wants to stay at United. But should the Red Devils splash the cash on El Tigre?

  2. Men in Blazers podcast: Man United’s romp, Arsenal’s form and more

    Dec 17, 2014, 12:56 PM EST

    meninblazers

    Rog and Davo talk Manchester United’s shaming of Liverpool and Arsenal’s return to potency.

  3. American lawyer Michael Garcia resigns as FIFA’s ethics prosecutor

    Dec 17, 2014, 11:06 AM EST

    64th FIFA Congress 64th FIFA Congress

    Garcia walks away from FIFA after his appeal against how his own work on alleged corruption in the World Cup bid process was represented.

  4. Report: New England Revolution, Orlando City battling it out for Robinho

    Dec 17, 2014, 10:00 AM EST

    AC Chievo Verona v AC Milan - Serie A Getty Images

    Are two MLS teams fighting it out for the Brazilian winger?

  5. Liverpool’s injured Daniel Sturridge to link up with Boston Red Sox

    Dec 17, 2014, 9:20 AM EST

    Manchester City v Liverpool - Premier League Getty Images

    Liverpool’s star man to spend time with medical specialists from the Red Sox.

  6. VIDEO: Jose Fonte slams Southampton after defeat at third-tier Sheffield United

    Dec 17, 2014, 8:38 AM EST

    Swansea City v Southampton - Premier League Getty Images

    Saints have now lost five on the spin. The latest loss was the most embarrassing yet.

  7. Liverpool reportedly chasing Petr Cech, Guillermo Ochoa

    Dec 17, 2014, 7:58 AM EST

    Mexico's goalkeeper Ochoa takes part in a practice session at Azteca stadium in Mexico City AP

    After Mignolet is dropped, Reds are apparently lining up two replacements for January.

  8. Celtic offers free tickets to unemployed supporters for post-Christmas game

    Dec 16, 2014, 10:45 PM EST

    Celtic FC v FC Salzburg - UEFA Europa League Getty Images

    That’s a good look for the Scottish giants during this holiday season.

  9. Over there? Underwear? Can’t sue Cristiano Ronaldo if you can’t find Cristiano Ronaldo

    Dec 16, 2014, 9:52 PM EST

    Morocco Soccer Club World Cup AP

    As easy as Ronaldo serves up passes to teammates, it’s very difficult to serve him papers.

  10. MLS: Mauro Rosales is returning to Vancouver, and Alvas Powell’s a full-time Timber

    Dec 16, 2014, 9:00 PM EST

    Vancouver Whitecaps v FC Dallas Getty Images

    Portland acquired Powell’s rights from Portmore after carrying him on loan last season.

  11. A selection of Thierry Henry’s finest quotes

    Dec 16, 2014, 7:58 PM EST

    Red Bulls Henry celebrates after scoring against Impact during their MLS soccer match in Montreal Reuters

    “The moment I’ve got a ball at my feet, I’m happy.”

  12. Tuesday’s transfer rumor roundup: Everyone’s going to Liverpool; Cole back to London?

    Dec 16, 2014, 7:17 PM EST

    Slovakian international Marek Hamsik has been one of Italy's best players this season, scoring five times in as many games during Napoli's 6-0-1 start. (Photo: Getty Images.) Getty Images

    It’s officially the biannual time of year that is silly season in the world of transfer rumors.

  13. Report: GM Garth Lagerwey leaving Real Salt Lake for Seattle

    Dec 16, 2014, 6:09 PM EST

    mlssoccer.com mlssoccer.com

    RSL assistant coach Craig Waibel has been promoted to technical director by the club, as it looks to fill the void left by Lagerwey.

  14. Ronaldo, Isco combine for nifty goal in Real Madrid’s 4-0 Club World Cup win over Cruz Azul (video)

    Dec 16, 2014, 5:38 PM EST

    Morocco Soccer Club World Cup AP

    Sergio Ramos, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema also scored for Madrid, who waits for the Wednesday winner of Auckland City FC and San Lorenzo.

  15. League Cup roundup: Sheffield United shocks Saints, Chelsea also moves to semifinals

    Dec 16, 2014, 4:48 PM EST

    FBL-ENG-LCUP-DERBY-CHELSEA Getty Images

    The Blues and Blades will be joined by the winners of Wednesday’s quarterfinal games.

  16. CONCACAF announces host cities for 2015 Gold Cup; USMNT to Texas, Boston, KC

    Dec 16, 2014, 3:36 PM EST

    Should Joe Corona and the USMNT's other youngsters get a shot against Mexico? Getty Images

    CONCACAF released the 13 cities for the group and knockout rounds on Tuesday, and here’s the list via MLSSoccer.com.

  17. Tim Howard “accepts” that Brad Friedel did not block his move to Manchester United

    Dec 16, 2014, 3:08 PM EST

    Howard AP

    The whole incident is extremely unfortunate, and takes away from Howard’s interesting telling of his rise to soccer prominence while dealing Tourette Syndrome.

  18. Remembering DaMarcus Beasley’s sensational USMNT career

    Dec 16, 2014, 1:00 PM EST

    Azerbaijan v United States Getty Images

    Beasley’s phenomenal career for the USA may have flown under the radar, but his longevity is inspirational.

Featured video

Man United thrash Liverpool