That Was a Masterclass – Mourinho, Tottenham Stun Man City 2-0

Tottenham Hotspur's Argentinian midfielder Giovani Lo Celso (R) reacts with Tottenham Hotspur's French goalkeeper Hugo Lloris (C) (Photo by NEIL HALL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Tottenham Hotspur's Argentinian midfielder Giovani Lo Celso (R) reacts with Tottenham Hotspur's French goalkeeper Hugo Lloris (C) (Photo by NEIL HALL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) /
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Tottenham, Son, Lo Celso Celebrate
Tottenham Hotspur’s Argentinian midfielder Giovani Lo Celso (L) with Tottenham Hotspur’s South Korean striker Son Heung-Min. (Photo by NEIL HALL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) /

Tottenham Score Two

Tottenham became just the second team and first without the aid of penalties to score more than 1 goal against Manchester City this season. Two well executed team movements unlocked City and gave Spurs all they needed to win the match.

Son Starts Spurs

The first goal of the game was about awareness and teamwork. Tottenham had just won a free kick near midfield, as Højbjerg battled for the ball with Mahrez and was fouled in the process. Højbjerg immediately jumped up, put his hand on the ball to ‘stop’ it and then played a short pass over to Tanguy Ndombele in the center circle.

As two defenders closed on Ndombele the Frenchman turn and split the defenders picking up his head to look up the pitch. As Ndombele was turning to attack there were two other things going on simultaneously for Spurs offensively as both Kane and Son worked in perfect concert.

First, Harry Kane took two quite simple steps back toward his goal, checking in to get the ball from Ndombele. As Kane did that Heung-Min Son was making a diagonal run behind Kane in the space he was starting to exit. The two center-halves both saw Kane stepping and both took a step to move with him. This was all the space needed for Son over the top.

Ndombele chipped a perfect pass into space in front of Son, but far enough away from the goal that a hard charging Ederson would not be able to make a play. Son calmly controlled the ball and slotted it through Ederson’s legs into the back of the net for the 1-0 Spurs lead. It truly was a beautiful goal all created by a couple heads up plays and a little movement off the ball.

Tottenham were buoyed early after that goal and continued to be on the front foot for just a bit and seemed to have taken a two-goal lead at 13 minutes as Tottenham slice City wide open. Bergwijn picked up the ball in the middle and started to attack, playing in Son on the right. Son decided to be unselfish on this occasion and crossed it back over to a wide-open Kane who literally walked the ball into the net. Unfortunately, Kane had just drifted offside and the goal did not count.

Tottenham did enough from there offensively and when they did start to attack, they were often just hacked down by City defensively, as the Sky Blues committed 19 fouls on the day. Mike Dean did display two late yellows for all the fouls, but he never really did anything to stop City from employing a foul first defensive strategy.

Lo Celso Seals it for Spurs

Nevertheless, Spurs did enough to prevail. After putting in a strong shift, Tanguy Ndombele was taken off for Giovani Lo Celso just after the hour. Højbjerg did his best defensively to get Spurs the ball back, it came to Eric Dier who played it up the pitch from the back all the way through to Harry Kane just past midfield. Kane ran with the ball and started pushing Spurs on the counter.

As the defense started to collapse in on Kane, he made a nice pass wide to Giovani Lo Celso who took a beautiful touch, looked-up and saw Ederson coming. Lo Celso then put his head back down and passed the ball swiftly through Ederson and into the corner. Lo Celso’s first Premier League goal for Spurs had given them a 2-0 lead on the second nutmeg of Ederson on the day.

From here Lucas Moura was brought on to provide more energy after getting a strong 72 minutes from Steven Bergwijn. While Spurs did see out the game, without any real scares, there was one bad moment. It may be that Toby Alderweireld is the first of what could be many injuries to come over this stretch of games.

We never saw the moment on TV here in the states, but it seemed to have happened as Toby took a long, diagonal, freekick and he went down with an apparent interior leg or groin injury. Joe Rodon came in and did the job, but if Spurs do lose Alderweireld for any length of time, it could be a major blow, particularly in Europe where Rodon is not currently eligible. We will have to hold our breath and hope for the best with Toby.

However, we should not let the potential injury to our Belgian beast take all the shine off a beautiful Spurs win. Tottenham played it exactly how we they wanted and how we thought they would. In the end the result was a Mourinho masterclass and for at least one night, Tottenham will go to bed and wake up top of the Premier League table.