5 talking points from Tottenham’s 2-0 home win over Manchester City
Tottenham triumphed 2-0 over Premier League leaders Manchester City at White Hart Lane today after an early own goal from Aleksandar Kolarov and a Dele Alli strike before the interval, while Erik Lamela missed a second-half penalty. Here are five talking points.
1. Son is preferred to Janssen up front
Mauricio Pochettino elected to drop his only available striker, Vincent Janssen, and deploy Heung-Min Son up front instead.
It seemed a little harsh on Janssen, who has linked the play fairly well and had set up goals for Erik Lamela and Son in his previous three starts.
However, the Dutchman has also looked a little shot-shy, turning his back to goal too readily, and has only scored once for Spurs (from the penalty spot).
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Meanwhile, the in-form Son had scored five goals in five games going into this match - including three in his previous two games. Significantly the latest of those, against CSKA Moscow in Russia on Tuesday, came from a central position shortly after the ineffective Janssen had been substituted.
Pochettino’s decision today was fully vindicated. Son’s pace and purposeful running caused City endless problems, and it was the South Korean who was attacking Danny Rose’s cross when Kolarov scored his early goal, while he also set up Alli’s goal with a neat through ball.
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2. Another early opener
Slow starts were a problem at the start of the season – Tottenham trailed at half-time in three of their first five games.
However, they are now flying out of the blocks. Just like at Middlesbrough last weekend, Spurs were ahead inside the opening 10 minutes and 2-0 up at half-time against City, who were never allowed to gain a foothold in the game and draw breath.
3. Wanyama left alone again
Tottenham have generally played with a 4-2-3-1 formation under Pochettino but there has been a subtle shift to 4-1-4-1 recently, with Victor Wanyama the only designated holding player in front of the back four.
That move has allowed both Christian Eriksen and Alli to provide a threat going forward, and that positivity was rewarded as Alli scored the second goal today.
There was also had a defensive advantage. Alli was able to press high up the pitch and help to ensure that City were unable to settle on the ball at the back and build possession.
Meanwhile, Spurs’ band of creative midfielders ensured at least one of them was back alongside Wanyama, and that the Kenyan was not outnumbered, when Spurs lost the ball. Pochettino then introduced Eric Dier to play alongside Wanyama in the second half, giving the defence extra protection.
4. Defensive solidity
City had scored the most goals in the Premier League at the start of the weekend (18 in six games) but they were unable to find a way past Tottenham, who have the best defensive record in the top flight, having conceded just three times in seven fixtures.
The Lilywhites’ organisation and pressing game faced a stern test today against the league leaders, but they kept yet another clean sheet – their sixth in 10 games in all competitions so far this term.
5. Tottenham must be taken seriously
Spurs go into the international break one point off the top of the Premier League, as the only unbeaten team in the top flight and having won five successive games in all competitions. They have achieved most of that without Harry Kane, Mousa Dembele and Eric Dier in their starting line-up - three key players last season.
There is real cause for real optimism in the Premier League, Champions League and League Cup and Tottenham’s fans will be counting the days until the Lilywhites are back in action at West Bromwich Albion on Saturday October 15.
Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs