CITY 0 SPURS 2
Report by Eddie Blount
Spurs next game on Tuesday is Barcelona away; thus it was unlikely that they would be fazed by a visit to the King Power and indeed they were not. Although City were never totally out of this game they never really looked like getting anything from it. Given that City need their best players available and firing if they are to compete with the top sides the news that Vardy was out and Maguire only fit to take a place on the bench made this an easy result to predict. And Spurs achieved this without Erikssen and the mighty Kane, both only coming on as late substitutes when the match was effectively over.
In spite of the talent on view this was a strange match in terms of final outcomes. City managed a mere handful of goal attempts and Spurs for all their quality had only two attempts on goal both of which succeeded! They moved the ball well, always thinking and acting a little quicker than their City counterparts, and frequently moved into threatening positions but City generally defended better than they attacked and Schmeichel, the goals apart, barely had a shot to save.
At the other end we were frankly toothless! City’s attacking style is geared to Vardy and Iheanacho is a completely different striker and much less experienced so although we commendably kept going the prospect of our scoring, never significant, receded altogether. I lost count of the number of crosses we put in not one of which reached a City player – not that the crosser had much choice of targets! It was different when Spurs attacked as they always had the sort of numbers available that we should aspire to. In short they attacked and defended as a unit but we did not!
As the first half drew to a close it seemed likely that City would reach the interval in a position of parity but it was not to be and Son’s strike effectively determined the result of the match. Again it illustrated the gap in quality between the two sides. Son worked his way along the edge of the box, City defenders stood off, fatally, giving him space to curl a superb shot high into the corner of the net to Schmeichel’s right from all of 20 yards. Later in the game we had two not dissimilar chances, one of which was blocked, as Son’s should have been, and the other finished near row Z!
The second half followed the same pattern as the first with little to give City fans any hope of a change of fortunes. We were put out of our misery fairly early on when a second goal for Spurs meant the definitive end of the contest. This was a very poor goal to concede.
Son made progress down his left and immediately Alli moved into position at the far post – completely unmarked. He remained in that position for what seemed – and was – an age, still completely unmarked. Son stopped his forward run, sized up his options and spotted Alli. Evans, who had a decent match, glanced to his left and saw Alli but he realised that he had two players to mark and chose to leave Alli unmarked. Chilwell, the absent defender, was now at the edge of the box having made his way back from a forward position at something much less than top speed. He sensed the danger but seemed paralysed by that thought as he failed to close the gap between himself and Alli. Son’s cross was pinpoint and Alli’s uncontested header was pushed by Schmeichel into the roof of the net. Game over!
I have to put Chilwell in the dock for this goal. This gives me no pleasure at all as he was arguably City’s top performer overall but he must improve his defending. It is not easy when he is expected to bomb forward at every opportunity to be in position in the back four when the opposition counter-attack but every wing-back faces that same dilemma. In this case he was not that far advanced when Spurs attacked on the counter and needed to bust a gut to get back but didn’t. Coleman of Everton would have got back and so would some others. You cannot switch off for a moment.
Generally speaking the back four came out of this match with the most credit, with special mention for Wes Morgan, one tackle on Alli a particular moment to treasure. Ricardo also looked the part having seemingly improved his defending. Up front City had little to offer. Puel’s decision to offload both Ulloa and Slimani has left us shorthanded whilst having a bloated squad overall! It has also left us with no Plan B and no strikers who provide an aerial threat.
Finally, I do hope Maddison took note of Son’s masterclass!
City: Schmeichel, Ricardo, Morgan, Evans, Chilwell, Iborra ( Albrighton 56), Ndidi, Mendy (Okazaki 79), Gray, Iheanacho (Ghezzal 56), Maddison
Spurs: Lloris, Aurier (Walker-Peters 77), Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies, Sissoko, Dier, Winks, Alli, Son (Kane 74), Lucas (Erikssen 67)
The views expressed in this report are the opinions of the Trust member nominated to file the report only and do not represent the views of the Foxes Trust organisation