Takeaways from Tottenham Hotspur from Win over Man City

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 21: Tottenham Hotspur November 21, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 21: Tottenham Hotspur November 21, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images) /

Now a couple days removed from the victory over Manchester City, what can Tottenham Hotspur take away from the win and build on moving forward this season.

Tottenham Hotspur defeated Manchester City on Saturday in typical Jose Mourinho style, where his game plan was simply better, and his team executed it to perfection. From that win we did learn a few things about Tottenham here at HotspurHQ and wanted to share them with all of you, as first place Tottenham Hotspur progress.

Tottenham Can Keep a Clean Sheet

While a clean sheet at The Hawthorns was a nice way to end the last stretch before the international break, a clean sheet against Manchester City means a lot more. Yes, City is down in terms of their goal scoring this season, but it is still Manchester City and they will win a lot more games than they will lose this year.

Keeping a clean sheet is big deal because of the confidence it instills in the team, especially the attackers. We have reported on how Eric Dier knows the team is going to score, well Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son, should know the team can keep a clean sheet and keep the opponents at bay. Too often Tottenham have been either super dominant offensively or super dominant defensively, rarely have the two met together to create the kind of flexibility the team now has to win a game with dominance at either end of the pitch.

Tottenham showed earlier this year, Spurs are quite capable of outscoring another team, ask Southampton or Manchester United. However, winning games 1-0 and 2-0 shows a different side of Spurs. The bottom line is if you do not concede you do not lose. Keeping clean sheets against top opposition is critical to long term success this season.

Players Play Where They Are Needed

Tottenham players are deploying wherever they are needed on the pitch. Whether we are talking about Harry Kane’s aerial defense in the box, or Moussa Sissoko’s work out as cover for the right back, or Steven Bergwijn playing more conservatively to help hedge the defense toward Kevin De Bruyne. It used to be if players were not used in a certain way or in a certain position, they were not happy about it.

At Tottenham Hotspur now, what makes a player happy is getting to play and that means lining up wherever and however the coach tells you too. Having re-watched the City game, Harry Kane, Steven Bergwijn, and Tanguy Ndombele essentially take turns playing at left midfield/wing, as well as in both striker and attacking midfield.

Sometimes Spurs were using two strikers and it was Kane and Ndombele one minute and then Kane and Bergwijn the next. If Bergwijn went up Ndombele dropped back and wide and vice versa. One would think that this change in positioning and shape is simply instruction but at times it also just seems like the flow of the match, and awareness of one’s teammates.

Just as Moussa Sissoko cannot go bombing up the field if Pierre Højbjerg has already done so, the attacking players need to be alert and not leave us with a big gap in the middle of the pitch. Interestingly, it was the three changing positions a lot and Son stayed wider and high on the right most of the match. Given Son is normally our left winger, this too was a change in the norm for the team and all presumably done in the name of slowing Kevin De Bruyne and Manchester City.

Whether it is Ben Davies playing center-half – which is more likely now that Toby Alderweireld is injured –  of Dier playing defense, or Lo Celso sitting deeper to be on the pitch to play with Tanguy Ndombele, the players seem ready, willing, and able to do what is asked of them. Hopefully, those players not getting a chance at current are watching and when they get their chance, they make it happen, because only those willing to lay it all on the line are going to continue to those chances.