‘Harry Kane crew’ jibe to VAR agony – how Tottenham grew to become Man City’s bogey aspect
Considering that this season, on the time of writing, is the primary time Spurs have felt like something greater than high 4 contenders since Pep Guardiola’s males beginning routinely mopping the ground with their home rivals 5 years in the past, their document towards the Citizens greater than warrants a nodding pout of approval.
Since 2019 in all competitions, Tottenham have overwhelmed City six occasions and misplaced simply 5, a document which betters that of Liverpool (4 wins and 6 defeats), who’re the one crew to have saved a level of tempo with Pep’s runaway trophy-hoovers, and which dwarves that of Manchester United (5 wins, eight defeats) and Chelsea (4 wins, 10 defeats). In quick, Spurs have develop into City’s bogey crew, and here is how they’ve managed it:
‘The Harry Kane crew’
Guardiola most likely thought nothing of it when he labelled Tottenham ‘the Harry Kane crew’ forward of their Champions League quarter-final conflict in 2019, however little did he know he’d lit a fireplace underneath Heung-min Son that might be powerful to extinguish.
Spurred on by the (presumably inadvertent) suggestion that he was nothing greater than icing on a Kane-shaped cake, Son turned on the model over the 2 legs, netting three of his aspect’s 4 objectives as Spurs miraculously superior.
After netting the winner in first leg, Son lurched in the direction of the pitch-side digicam and yelled: “Do you know who I am?” No prizes for guessing who he was speaking to.
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Man City may need lastly received their Champions League monkey off their again by profitable the competitors final season, however their dramatic defeat to Spurs in 2019 all however broke them. Mauricio Pochettino’s males had been huge underdogs heading into the conflict, however sealed a 4-4 mixture victory after an harm time Raheem Sterling winner was controversially chalked off by VAR.
It was a end result that not solely established Tottenham’s newfound European pedigree, but in addition one which earmarked City as perennial underachievers within the competitors, having been knocked out by Monaco and Liverpool within the two years prior. Underdogs Lyon and Chelsea then knocked them out in 2020 and 2021, and a few outstanding Tottenham-in-2019-esque drama value them towards Real Madrid in 2022.
It was clear the defeat to Spurs messed with City’s minds in as far as they appeared to neglect how good they had been when it got here to the enterprise finish of the Champions League, and certainly when it got here to taking part in Tottenham.
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When Jose Mourinho, Guardiola’s everlasting foe, rocked up at Tottenham in 2019, the City boss should have cursing his luck. Despite profitable simply two of the six video games towards his City crew as Man United boss, Mourinho’s skill not solely to get underneath Guardiola’s pores and skin, but in addition to doubtlessly outfox the tactically-savvy Spaniard was sufficient trigger for concern, not least with him becoming a member of the aspect that had simply dumped the Citizens out of Europe a couple of months prior.
Mourinho’s Spurs gained back-to-back video games towards City, and in typical late-career Mourinho trend too, registering simply 33% possession in each fixtures. The ‘we now have your quantity’ can was kicked additional down the highway and City’s psychological block in Tottenham video games was extra evident than ever.
Pep’s crew gained their third encounter, and Mourinho was controversially axed on the eve of what would have been the fourth, the 2021 Carabao Cup ultimate. A Ryan Mason-led Spurs misplaced 1-0, leaving followers understandably peeved on the timing of Mourinho’s dismissal.
Tottenham haven’t solely been beating Man City on the psychological battlefield, but in addition on the technical battlefield too. Kane’s transformation into an all-encompassing inventive ahead was like Kryptonite towards City’s aggressive high-line and urgent model.
Around the flip of the last decade, Kane began dropping deep and pulling the strings from midfield positions. His typically-stupendous approach, spatial consciousness and admittedly outrageous passing skill made him near-impossible to maintain quiet, particularly given the telepathic understanding he cast with Son.
The manner the England skipper would drop deep with the ball, invite the City press, and play inch-perfect passes to on-rushing team-mates was a serious cause why the Citizens struggled to deal with Spurs, and you may wager your backside greenback they will be relieved Kane is in Germany, somewhat than within the reverse dressing room, at present.
Conte-nuing their kind
Antonio Conte’s spell at Tottenham was a little bit of a combined bag, however he may all the time depend on video games towards City to regular the ship. The Italian struggled to determine a real Conte model of soccer in north London, like he so efficiently at Chelsea, however the whole lot appeared to click on when City got here to city.
Six months after predecessor Nuno Espirito Santo sealed the one important win of his depressing Spurs tenure towards the Citizens, Conte ended a run of three-successive league defeats by masterminding a 3-2 win on the Etihad.
His aspect almost repeated the feat the next season, letting slip a 2-0 result in lose 4-2, however made amends within the residence fixture a couple of months later, regardless of the actual fact Conte was at residence recovering from surgical procedure on the time.