Tottenham 2-0 Manchester City: Report, Ratings and Reaction as Bergwijn Stuns Champions on debut…
Goals from Steven Bergwijn and Son Heung-min inflicted yet another blow to the crumbling residue of Manchester City’s title hopes, as José Mourinho’s men took advantage of Oleksandr ZInchenko’s red card to pick up a vital home win.
City might have been reduced to ten men on two occasions in the first half, with both Raheem Sterling and Zinchenko walking the tightrope with borderline challenges on Dele Alli and Lucas Moura, but it was ultimately a foul from a Tottenham player which caused the significant talking point from the first half.
There was no shortage of confusion about it though, as only after play had resumed for around four minutes did VAR award a penalty for a foul by Serge Aurier on Sergio Aguero.
Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City – Premier League
It was taken by Ilkay Gundogan and saved by Hugo Lloris, before the keeper brought down Sterling on the rebound – VAR this time ruling against a spot-kick.
City dominated for the first hour, but failed to take advantage, and were rapidly brought to their knees in a few explosive minutes. Zinchenko was shown a second yellow for bringing down Gundogan, before Bergwijn marked his debut with a terrific low volley, setting the stage for Son to send the Tottenham Hotspur stadium well and truly into dreamland with a deflected second.
City would huff and puff, but with an advantage of two goals and an extra man, they were able to manage the game with reasonable ease to see out what is a momentous victory for José Mourinho and his men.
Key Talking Point
As much as Mourinho was keen to dismiss the underlying narrative of his famed rivalry with Pep Guardiola heading into this one, there was no escaping it. The two have had a storied history stretching back to their days at Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively, and this was their 23rd meeting – Mourinho having won just five of those going in.
It was as good a time for any to better a less than favourable record for Mourinho, however, as his side needed a big result to catalyse what has been a stop-start spell in North London for the Portuguese boss so far. He called upon January recruit Bergwijn from the start in a bid to get there, while the emerging Japhet Tanganga retained a place at left back.
And while they might not have fancied their chances of doing that after a predictable first half, they should be afforded tremendous credit for the way they took the game to the defending champions following Zinchenko’s red card. They had visitors on the ropes with their pace on the counter, and although they required some good fortune to get there, they fully merited the three points that put them back into fifth place – and just four off the Champions League spots.
Starting XI: Lloris (6); Aurier (6), Alderweireld (8), Sanchez (6), Tanganga (7); Winks (6), Lo Celso (6); Bergwijn (8), Alli (6), Son (7); Moura (7)
Subs: Ndombele (6), Lamela (6), Dier (N/A)
It’s the obvious choice, but there’s no denying who carried the most potent attacking threat for Spurs in a game where they were pegged back for long spells – new man Steven Bergwijn.
BRILLIANT BERGWIJN! ⚪️
The Dutch forward was in disbelief when he saw his powerful volley hit the back of the net but it was no less than he deserved for a stellar performance. Spurs don’t lack energy in the final third but his explosive pace and quality on the turn looked a cut above anything else on the pitch, and if he can carry this form on then he looks to have been an inspired January signing.
Key Talking Point
Liverpool may be galloping further and further away at the top of the division, but the remit for City hasn’t changed; win every game with no exceptions.
To that end, Guardiola might have had reason to be pleased with what he saw from his side for the most part. They were distinctly dominant, with Aguero passing up excellent chances to score in either half on a day it just didn’t seem to be happening for the Argentine in front of goal.
That was until they were reduced to ten, however, and thereafter they fell to pieces. They showed a level of fragility that will come as a real concern to Guardiola, but is unfortunately nothing new in what has been a tame season so far – in the league, at least.
They were toothless in the final third, suspect at the back, and almost nonexistent in midfield. A poor day at the office, and if you didn’t think their title hopes weren’t gone already, then City fans, I have some news for you…
Starting XI: Ederson (6); Walker (6), Fernandinho (5), Otamendi (5), Zinchenko (4); Gundogan (5), Rodri (5), De Bruyne (6); Mahrez (7), Aguero (7), Sterling (6)
Subs: Jesus (6), Cancelo (6), Bernardo (N/A)
A tough day for City, and one in which their talisman did absolutely everything but stick the ball in the back of the net.
Sergio Aguero,Davinson Sanchez
His intelligent movement terrorised Spurs for long spells in the first half and at the beginning of the second, and the decision to bring him off seems to completely kill his side’s chances of getting back into it. His profligacy may be blamed for his side failing to take the lead, but he was regardless the best of an ultimately poor bunch on the day.