Determined Defense, Clinical Attack Highlight Spurs Ratings

Tottenham Hotspur's Danish midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (L), Tottenham Hotspur's Portuguese head coach Jose Mourinho (C), Tottenham Hotspur's French midfielder Moussa Sissoko (2nd R) and Tottenham Hotspur's English striker Harry Kane (R) November 21, 2020. (Photo by KIRSTY WIGGLESWORTH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Tottenham Hotspur's Danish midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (L), Tottenham Hotspur's Portuguese head coach Jose Mourinho (C), Tottenham Hotspur's French midfielder Moussa Sissoko (2nd R) and Tottenham Hotspur's English striker Harry Kane (R) November 21, 2020. (Photo by KIRSTY WIGGLESWORTH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) /
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Tottenham Hotspur’s Danish midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (L), Tottenham Hotspur’s Portuguese head coach Jose Mourinho (C), Tottenham Hotspur’s French midfielder Moussa Sissoko (2nd R) and Tottenham Hotspur’s English striker Harry Kane (R) November 21, 2020. (Photo by KIRSTY WIGGLESWORTH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) /

In a game that brought some real pressure for the first time this season, Tottenham Hotspur showed they may be for real in a 2-0 win over Manchester City.

Tottenham kept their second straight clean sheet and third in three games as Spurs played a more defensive style to cope with Manchester City’s high possession attack. While some Tottenham players may have had some different responsibilities in their roles for the day, the result was the same as the last time Spurs played in the Premier League, a Tottenham victory and first place at least temporarily.

With Tottenham losing most of the statistical battles, but clearly winning on the score line, how did the individual players do for Spurs?

Tottenham Starters Player Ratings

Hugo Lloris – 8

Hugo Lloris was much busier than he was in his last time out versus West Brom, but the result was the same, no goals against. Lloris made five saves on the day with the first coming near the first minute of the match and the last coming near 90 minutes. Lloris continues to show his leadership and never allowed a second chance which might have given City the only opportunity they needed.

Sergio Reguilón – 8

Sergio Reguilón continues to excel for Tottenham Hotspur. While his contribution on the offensive end was what first caught HotspurHQ’s eye, his defense continues to improve each week. On Saturday he was locked up with Riyad Mahrez for just over 70 minutes, only to get a dose of Raheem Sterling as a second course. Sergio had a couple tackles, an interception, and gave Kyle Walker something to think about on a couple of occasions. Another good outing from the young Spanish fullback.

Eric Dier – 8.5

Eric Dier was a rock, blocking shots, clearing the ball, and working hard in the air to win the ball for Spurs. Dier was not great passing, but he still completed 75% and hit several long balls to help relieve pressure and put City under a little pressure. Dier was excellent on the afternoon and is continuing to show that maybe he really is a center-half.

Toby Alderweireld – 9

If Dier was the rock, Alderweireld was the hard place that Manchester City was suck between. Toby was excellent in the evening. He had a couple marvelous tackles to prevent a shot and win the ball back. Add in three blocked shots, a couple interceptions, and a handful of long ball and Alderweireld was just terrific. Toby only had two rough moments on the day. The first was a scuffed clearance attempt at 20 minutes that led to a corner.

The second misstep might be more costly for Tottenham Hotspur, as it looked like Alderweireld, damaged a leg muscle and was replaced for the last 10 minutes of the match. It Tottenham lose Toby for any extended period, that may hamper a defense just starting to click. We hope for the best with Toby.

Serge Aurier – 7.5

Serge Aurier was not as much of a threat offensively as he normally is for Tottenham Hotspur. Instead of playing high up the pitch on the touchline, Aurier was positioned a bit deeper to focus more on defense. The plan worked for Aurier who was sound defensively, helping to track the City left side form Jesus through Cancelo. Doherty may have been out because of Covid however more performances like the one Aurier had, could keep Doherty out.

Moussa Sissoko – 7.5

Moussa Sissoko had a very Sissoko like match in that there was no one thing that stood out about his play but put simply Tottenham would not have won without him. Whether it was dropping back to cover for Aurier when he happened to venture forward squeezing in to cut off the passing lanes and block the City attack, Sissoko was doing it. What Sissoko may lack in offensive flash he makes up for in effort, intensity, and good footballing awareness. If it were Sissoko or Rodrigo, I would take Sissoko all day.

Pierre-Emile Højbjerg – 7.5

Pierre-Emile Højbjerg had another good outing for Tottenham Hotspur. Whether he was chasing Kevin De Bruyne to force a shot off target, making a tackle, or sliding one of his team high 36 passes between defenders, Højbjerg did it all. Playing in a more conservative role than he normally does, Højbjerg was defense first, but brought the same intensity and leadership that have endeared him to many Tottenham faithful.

Tanguy Ndombele– 7.5

Tanguy Ndombele had a bit different role on Saturday as he spent time as a second striker, as a #10 and as a left midfielder. Regardless of where he was on the pitch, Ndombele was the best player in that five-yard vicinity. His vision to see Heung-Min Son’s run and his ability to both run and loft in the perfect pass were all fantastic to watch. A year ago, a game where Spurs were going to give up this much possession would not have even had Ndombele on the bench, today he started, went for 70+ minutes and had a major assist. What a difference a year makes.

Steven Bergwijn – 7

After a little scare to fans following his early release from the Netherlands camp, Steven Bergwijn started and contributed in a major way for Spurs in the Saturday win. Whether it was running with the ball, running without the ball, or pinching to cut off passing lanes, Bergwijn worked hard and kept Kyle Walker at bay for most of the day. Deploying on the left instead of the right for most of the day was a key stroke from Mourinho.

Heung-Min Son – 7

Heung-Min Son may have had more poor touches than good ones on Saturday, but he had the touches that mattered as he scored his league leading 9th goal of the season. Son’s timing and run were both spot on for getting behind the City defense, but not giving Ederson a chance. However, a hard touch likely cost Son a second as he rounded Ederson later in the first half and lost his angle on goal. We keep saying this, but when his touch gets right, lookout, as Son will be unstoppable.

Harry Kane – 8.5

Harry Kane did not get his 100th home goal – he is stuck on 99 – nor did he assist Heung-Min Son again. However, Kane did get his league leading 9th assist and he caused City problems all day long. Whether it was a short bit of movement to create the space for the goal or dropping all the way to the penalty box to serve as an offensive outlet for Sergio Reguilón, Kane did everything on the pitch his team needed. The confidence and freedom Kane is playing with is a great thing to watch and we hope it continues. Only his own offside cost him a goal on the day.