A decisive game between 2nd placed Spurs and 4th place City was irretrievably affected by a diabolical decision by referee Mark Clattenburg. Clattenburg adjudged that Raheem Sterling had hand balled the ball when replays show the ball struck his back first and then ricocheted up off his elbow. Sterling had his back to the ball and it was clearly non-intentional.
Harry Kane confidently tucked away the penalty on the 53rd minute. City had chances prior to that, with Aguero missing chances that you would expect Aguero to score. Iheanacho came on in the 66th minute and latched on to a Gael Clichy pull back on 74minutes to score from 14 yards. City pressured Spurs, but Spurs were very well marshalled by probably the best central defender in the league this year Toby Alderweireld, a bargain £10.7m buy from Atletico Madrid.
Hugo Lloris was also on fine form and has become a key part of this Spurs rearguard which has conceded a record low 20 Premier League goals. It’s also mighty impressive how Pochettino can rotate all four full backs Rose, Walker, Trippier and Davies with no ill effect to the team.
The Spurs tactic of getting Eriksen and Lamela to play in the gap between Fernando and Fernandinho and the City back four paid off. Lamela ran at the defence, feeding a ball between Otamendi’s legs to Eriksen who calmly slotted past Joe Hart in the 83rd minute to make it 2-1 to the visitors.
City plied a lot of pressure but were unable to break Spurs down. Inevitably they looked to Agüero, only to find their talisman having something of an off day.
The announcement of Pep Guardiola has undoubtedly affected this City side. The return of Vincent Kompany didn’t have the desired affect and they are struggling in 4th 6 points adrift of the leaders Leicester. Although City created pressure, it wasn’t the sustained pressure that yields an equaliser. City are certainly lacking a bit of belief.
Tim Sherwood on Match of the Day 2 said his favourites were still Man City because of their match winners in their squad. However City have not been convincing for a number of weeks. David Silva is carrying an ankle injury and there is a distinct lack of creativity with his inhibited play. Raheem Sterling has not taken up the baton in a manner that a £49m signing should.
City have been tremendously unlucky with the injury to DeBruyne who was in a hot vein of form. They are also very unlucky for not receiving a cast iron penalty versus Everton with John Stones bringing down Raheem Sterling costing them 2points. The decision by Mark Clattenburg was also an abysmal bit of decision making.
However the quality and depth of the Manchester City squad should be achieving far more than they are currently. 12 games to go and 6 points adrift is possible but City have the Champions League, League Cup Final and the FA Cup, whereas Leicester can concentrate solely on the remaining 12 Premier League games.