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Jack Grealish sums up Man City chaos in bizarre Tottenham co

แหล่งที่มา:未知 ผู้เขียน:admin เวลา:2023-01-20

Manchester City took the breath away at both ends of the spectrum in a remarkable game against Tottenham

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A team built up byPep Guardiolato be a perfect vision of control and harmony has this year lost all manner of order, with chaos reigning so far in 2023. Cityserved up a wild ride against Tottenham, collapsing miserably to concede two goals at the end of the first half before responding emphatically to take the lead with 20 minutes of the restart.

The weaknesses exposed in the 4-2 win over an averageSpurs side may not bode well for a challengerwith intentions of winning the Premier League this season, although it is far better than it looked as fans disappeared for a stiff drink at half-time. What is clear is that this is a very strange time for City.

Also read:City player ratings vs Spurs

After the dire straits at Southampton followed by the red mist at Old Trafford, Guardiolas men desperately needed a win just to get themselves feeling like themselves again and inject some confidence into a side questions are being asked of. They were given a home game against another team enduring their own struggles, yet Guardiola would still probably rather have picked any other opponents.

Football can defy logic and never does it seem to more in Citys world than when they take on Tottenham. The Harry Kane team. From the devastation of that Champions League defeat to the loss last year to breathe new life into a title race many had given up on, whenever City suffer misfortune more often than not the North Londoners are involved.

Guardiola has spoken in his last two press conferences about the need to involve Erling Haaland - who had not scored since the 1-1 draw with Everton on New Years Eve - and get more players close to him. A quirky lineup was testament to that, with Ilkay Gundogan and Julian Alvarez pushing up in support centrally and Riyad Mahrez and Jack Grealish offering width; Citys two most creative players, Phil Foden and Kevin De Bruyne, sat on the bench.

In the first half, it simply didnt work. Spurs contributed by making the game physical, a number of their players making their presence felt on rookie Rico Lewis as they sought to cut out Citys rhythm by literally breaking up the game.

Lewis, playing like a veteran, was the best in Blue as he showed why he has become Guardiolas star pupil in the last month. Picking himself up time and time again with an unruffled ease, it said a lot about the team performance that it was the young right-back who went closest to testing Hugo Lloris with a shot that deflected off Son Heung-min.

The ball barely went to Haaland, and when it did Citys No.9 appeared strangely tentative. He was left free at a corner but volleyed tamely, then when found with a long ball over the top took too long to get the ball where he wanted and Lloris smothered.

Having failed to build on their possession, City shot themselves in the foot multiple times. As half-time approached, Ederson misplaced a pass for Rodri in his own box and Dejan Kulusevski slapped the ball in. Then, just as on Saturday, the Blues responded horribly and a combination of Nathan Ake, John Stones, Rodri and Ederson (again) defended poorly to allow Emerson Royal to add a second.

One was a sucker-punch, two looked like a knockout. Some boos accompanied the whistle (although mostly for the referee) and it was a flat Etihad when the teams emerged for the second half with no changes from Guardiola.

So of course it was 2-2 within minutes. First, Alvarez scooped in a loose ball in the box, then Mahrez headed across for Haaland to break his mini-goal drought and level the game before Spurs had set themselves again.

City couldnt believe they were level, Spurs couldnt believe they had led it slip, and nobody could believe the level of defending in the game. It was anyones for the taking.

Few are better in such situations than Mahrez, Guardiolas go-to player where he needs nerves of steel and a silky touch. On the hour mark, the Algerian dispossessed Ivan Perisic outside the Spurs box and carried the ball inside before leathering it early in at the near-post to surprise Lloris.

As the 90th minute approached, the beleaguered Ederson launched a ball all the way down the pitch that wasnt dealt with and Mahrez nipped in again for his second of the night to make it 4-2. Finally, City could breathe.

Before then though, there had been more signs of the strange side that City are at the moment. They remained vulnerable to a third Spurs goal for much of the second half, with Lewis inadvertently Cruyff-turning the ball onto the crossbar and away from danger in a sign that he is enjoying a charmed start to his City career.

With the score still at 3-2, Grealish saw a chance to run with the ball and break the Spurs pressure, carrying the ball into the second half. Anticipation grew ... then he was wiped out with no foul given and in an instant Citys vulnerability was laid bare again.

Guardiola was encroaching on the pitch, such was his animated state, in part angry at the decision not to award a free-kick and also frenzied trying to help make sure his team didnt pay for it.

It is not the City we are used to seeing. It is probably not sustainable for a league title defence to be so wildly inconsistent, the same players and formation producing completely different 45 minutes.

But a win is a win, and a win on Sunday will take them within two points of Arsenal at the top of the table. As they showed here and many times before, a team capable of such turnarounds cannot be written off.

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