Spurs Gut Reaction Rant: Win vs Manchester City

Jul 23, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Erik Lamela (11) carries the ball against Toronto FC at BMO Field. Tottenham defeated Toronto 3-2. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 23, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Erik Lamela (11) carries the ball against Toronto FC at BMO Field. Tottenham defeated Toronto 3-2. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports /

Spurs come back to beat Manchester City 4-1 at White Hart Lane.

Today’s match was considered a must-win for Spurs as it would help ease the loss that Tottenham suffered in the Capital One Cup third round on Wednesday night. Winning would also close the gap at the top of the table, moving Spurs from ninth and into the top seven by the end of the day. Interestingly enough, by beating Manchester City, this marks the third big win for Spurs, in 2015. A year in which Spurs were able to beat Chelsea 5-3 in January and Arsenal 2-1 in February.

Leading up to this game, Spurs have dealt with mental mistakes all year long. Continuing to do so against Manchester City would be deadly due to the team that they have assembled these past couple of seasons. On one such occasion, a goal that Kevin De Bruyne would score, Tottenham produced an error.

It would be on a short corner by Érik Lamela which was played to Kyle Walker who found Christian Eriksen on a pass, except the two weren’t on the same page. Walker’s pass will go down in the stat sheet as an error because it was picked off. But in reality, his pass was fine, and Eriksen happened to let it go in hopes of letting it go across for a Spurs player who wasn’t nearby.

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In the end, it led to a quick counterattack by Manchester City and a Kevin De Bruyne goal to put City ahead 1-0 just like that. Even though Spurs’ defense kept them in the game early, it was going to be a lot to ask for them to keep pace with City who boast plenty of attacking players. Spurs can contain teams with their newfound backline and double pivot, but what hurts them is their insistence to quickly rush things when they’re on their own counterattack. It becomes a wasted possession and puts the defense as well as Hugo Lloris in a bind to save the team from conceding a goal — or more depending on the score at the time.

Unfortunately for Manchester City, their lead wouldn’t last long after they wrongfully conceded a goal when the assistant referee clearly missed an offsides call. Right before halftime no less. Kyle Walker was well offsides when Harry Kane played the pass to him and he found Heung-Min Son running towards Willy Caballero. The shot would be saved, but City players had stopped to signal offsides the entire time. It didn’t help that De Bruyne’s weak clearance happened to find Eric Dier who rifled a shot off the post to equalize and level the game 1-1.

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Once Spurs scored and the game went into halftime, momentum would shift in Tottenham’s favor. After the game resumed, five minutes later, Spurs would win a free kick that Toby Alderweireld would head home for his first goal of the season and his first as a Spurs player. Man City would continue to attack Tottenham’s defense and put shots on target that Hugo Lloris would have to save, but it was looking more and more clear that City didn’t recover from Spurs’ two goals.

Another set piece saw Christian Eriksen take the free kick and hit the crossbar. By this point, one assistant referee had already missed an offsides call on one side of the pitch in the first half. The second half, it would be the other assistant referee who missed Harry Kane standing offsides as he hit a half volley to put Spurs ahead 3-1 and open his account for his first goal of the 2015-16 Premier League season.

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The fourth and final goal of the game came courtesy of Érik Lamela who rightfully deserved it after the shift that he put in today.

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The assist would be credited to Clinton N’Jie who has now made four consecutive substitution appearances. It’s probably not what the Cameroon international would have liked, but to get called into action by Mauricio Pochettino as a new signing is better than sitting on the bench.

In due time, N’Jie could become a starter in Pochettino’s offense, but he would have to beat out Lamela who is starting to come into his own and deserves the Man of the Match award. He hustled constantly on defense to win the ball back when his teammates rushed their passes too quickly because they wanted to keep pace with Manchester City.

Although he still suffered from some mental lapses today, they were few and far between. His goal would ice the game and arguably mark this as his best game in a Spurs shirt this season. Perhaps in his entire career since joining Tottenham.

Looking back on it now, even if hindsight is 20/20, Mauricio Pochettino knew that Érik Lamela had plenty of potential so he opted to keep him this summer. Even if Lamela is erratic at times, inconsistent, even. He needed consecutive starts to put it all together. Now as Spurs’ starting right midfielder it’s finally paying off.

It’s time to give Érik Lamela his due this season, but to also accept that he has flaws. Mainly, making mistakes. Aside from that though, Lamela brings immense hustle to this Spurs squad both on ofense and defense. Something that benefits a Mauricio Pochettino-led team that thrives on a high-press counterattack offense.

Next: Matchday Live Post: Tottenham vs Manchester City

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