Trophy hopes squandered: Late City drama sees Spurs knocked out of FA Cup

Tottenham brought their best to the fourth round of the FA Cup, but with City's dominance in possession and Spurs' lack of composure in the final third, they'll have to wait until next season for another shot at domestic cup glory.
Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City - Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round
Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City - Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round / Catherine Ivill/GettyImages

Despite City's inability to score away at Spurs across the two clubs' previous six matchups, and Tottenham's ability to score in every league fixture this season, Pep's squad was able to grab a 1-0 victory in North London, sending the reigning competition winners through to the next round.

It was a stalemate of a game for the first 87 minutes until Nathan Ake was able to pocket a goal in the 88th off a corner; And while Spurs had a number of bright moments, especially in those first 15-20 minutes of the second half, they simply got outplayed.

Despite the loss, it was a great showing for a number of players, with Micky van de Ven pocketing Julian Alvarez the entire match, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg finding himself in good positions - besides multiple mishaps towards the end of the game - and Pedro Porro looking dangerous down the right flank.

On the other end, City dominated in possession (57%) and created plenty of chances (18 shots), running Ange's boys ragged by the end of the second half. What the match ultimately came down to though, some might argue, was a disparity in squad depth.

When he realized Alvarez wasn't going to get past VDV and that Porro was becoming more dangerous on the right flank, Pep made sure to throw Jeremy Doku onto the pitch to stir things up and retire Alvarez in favor of Kevin De Bruyne, who could play in a more reserved role and distribute the ball down the wings.

Ange, on the other hand, was left with less flexibility. While it was great for fans to finally see James Maddison back on the field, the player had minimal contributions in the late minutes of the second half and understandably didn't seem up to full fitness.

Shortly before Maddison's appearance, Brennan Johnson came off for Oliver Skipp to allow Dejan Kulusevski to switch up top, where he's traditionally been threatening against City's defense. Nevertheless, it seems that nothing Ange did could stop the inevitable triumph of England's powerhouse club.

One of the more puzzling choices by the Tottenham manager was Radu Dragusin's lack of involvement in the match. Sure, he has yet to grow accustomed to "Ange-ball" and Romero and VDV seemed to be doing a fine job. However, with Doku and De Bruyne out on the pitch, and Hojbjerg clearly losing his nerve in the midfield, it might have made sense to bring the defender on to provide some fresh legs and extra reinforcements.

All of that being said, it's not like Ange Postecoglou to hold out for a draw; He's always going to "have a go at it," as he likes to say.

While it's disappointing to not see a Spurs team with so much potential advance, there's a silver lining to the loss which has been present all season: the freedom to focus on the Premier League and a top-four finish.

The priority now could never be clearer. The club have brought in a couple of new players, the long list of injuries are beginning to dwindle, and the final stretch of fixtures are coming into sight. Ange has done well to prove his ability as an incredible manager even in the Premier League, but now he'll have to dig in deep and hope his players can keep focus over these next few months.