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Manchester City 2-2 Tottenham Hotspur: 5 talking points

Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League
Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League

Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur played out a thrilling draw, both sides scoring twice during the match. City turned out to be the dominant side in their backyard as they constantly hounded the Lilywhites, but a resilient Spurs side despite being outplayed for large portions of the game managed to get a solitary point at the Etihad.

In doing so, Spurs pulled off a feat that no team in the last fifteen Premier League fixtures was able to do, Lucas Moura's goal signaled the end of a fifteen match winning streak, during the period of which, City scored 37 goals and conceded two.

Rahim Sterling opened the scoring from a sublime cross by Kevin De Bruyne. City were remiss for conceding an unavoidable goal when Erik Lamela swung the ball in the right corner past Ederson.

It was from this point that Pep Guardiola's wards laid siege to the Spurs defense, forcing defensive errors as the team in white unsuccessfully tried to play through the press. City deservedly took the lead after another brilliant De Bruyne delivery was latched onto by Sergio Aguero, directing the ball past Hugo Lloris.

Lucas Moura's introduction after the break steadied the game in Spurs' favor. The diminutive Brazillian headed in the unlikeliest of goals, with Kyle Walker being suspect of ignoring his marker. City again led an onslaught of attacks on Lloris' goal post but were unable to take their chances.

Gabriel Jesus' short-lived goal in the ninety-second minute, was viewed as a deserved goal by his teammates, but just like the breathtaking UEFA Champions League Quarterfinal meeting of these sides last season, V.A.R played a huge result on the bearing of the outcome, ruling the substitute's goal out.

Ultimately both sides settled for a point, here are 5 talking points from the match.

#5 The double pivot of N'dombele and Winks fails to play through the home side's press

Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League
Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League

Mauricio Pochettino decided to use the double pivot of Harry Winks and Tanguy Ndombele to play through the press of a marauding City forward line.

Coupled with the Englishman's fine passing skills and the Frenchman's balance of physicality and deft touch, Pochettino aimed at unsettling the Mancunians, hoping to push back their midfield, however, the duo failed to live to the task assigned by their manager.

Ndombele and Winks considerably slowed the play down, this might have initially helped Spurs from a defensive point of view but the failure to exploit this passage of play when transitioning in attack meant Spurs gave away the ball to City as quickly as they had won it.

City recycled the ball with quick distributions to the forward line and opted to attack from the wings, scoring in quick succession. The inability of the pair to play in quick forward passes through the channels when in possession cost their team attacking opportunities and pinned them in their half.

#4 Sterling continues to impress

Manchester City scorer Raheem Sterling
Manchester City scorer Raheem Sterling

Raheem Sterling continued his blistering start to the new campaign, adding another goal to his tally after the hattrick he scored against West Ham last week.

Time and time again, the Englishman's devastating runs down the left wing allows City to score almost repetitively against their opponents, Sterling runs in behind the defender, receives a through ball and cuts back inside the box and passes to the nearest man or shoots himself.

It is astounding to see City score the same type of goal, match after match, and Sterling did it again on Saturday. De Bruyne laid a meticulous cross at the forward's path, who lashed the ball inside the Spurs net.

In the second half, Sterling continued to harass the opposition defense and was guilty of wasting two clearcut chances but what cannot be denied is that the former Liverpool man has reached a new level of play under Guardiola, and will surely seek to stake his claim on the golden boot this season.

#3 Moura again proves to be the supersub

Tottenham Hotspur scorer Lucas Moura
Tottenham Hotspur scorer Lucas Moura

Lucas Moura scored uncannily after just being introduced for nineteen seconds on the pitch, exploiting Kyle Walker's complacency to bring much needed composure to his side.

The Brazillian was one of the standout performers at Spurs last season, most notably single-handedly bailing them out against Ajax during last year's UEFA Champions League Semifinal tie and performed in a similar capacity during this match.

Moura's goal shifted Pochettino's mindset to seeing out the game. Spurs were content to give the ball away and wait for a counter attacking opportunity. Moura was diligent in helping out his fullback and led expansive forays into City's half, with one of those nearly resulting in another Erik Lamela goal, but the Argentine wasted his shot.

The sight of the Brazillian standing at the touchline, ready to come on, will perhaps now signal a strange kind of excitement for his onfield teammates and trepidation for his opponents. He has done it so many times that attaching the moniker of the supersub to his name won't be an exaggeration.

#2 De Bruyne shows his worth

Manchester City forward Kevin De Bruyne
Manchester City forward Kevin De Bruyne

The last couple of seasons at City haven't been the Belgian's best, with constant injuries restricting game time and starts. After completing an extensive recuperation program last season, many thought that De Bruyne would take time to get back to his prime.

The playmaker replied with resounding tenacity to his critics, setting up all of his team's goals. The first one was a sublime cross to play the ball to the other side, spotting Sterling's run and having the vision to play the perfect delivery.

The second showcased his adept crossing abilities, running with the ball past Danny Rose and playing a low cross to Sergio Aguero who finished the move with grace.

De Bruyne did not stop at point, carving several more opportunities for his side, with an almost identical cross to the one he delivered to Sterling being directed at the Englishman's path once again, along with more low crosses inside the box. De Bruyne delivered a statement performance with this match, and currently sits at the top of the assists chart. The playmaker will surely target to break Thierry Henry's assist record this season.

#1 City miss their clinical edge

Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus
Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus

The conversation about V.A.R and its unpropitious relationship with the Citizens will undoubtedly be a part of the match narrative, as the third assistant once again rescued Spurs from the jaws of defeat, rightfully ruling Gabriel Jesus' injury-time goal out as a result of a handball infraction committed by Aymeric Laporte.

This is the second time in a space of over six months that City feel hard done with a technology that failed to award what the City players felt was a legitimate penalty against Erik Lamela when the Argentine held Rodri back in the box. However verily the men in blue might present their qualms, the undeniable truth remains that had the team been more clinical, they might have taken three points.

The Mancunians had a mammoth ten shots on target to Spurs' two, in total they took twenty shots to their opponents' three yet failed to convert their chances. The clinical edge displayed by the Lilywhites in this match perhaps affords them a degree of reverence, but in the latter stages of the second half, the game was there for the taking. Tottenham had retreated deep into their own and their half-hearted attempts at a counter except for a few conciliatory attempts by Lucas Moura presented the incentive to City.

Pep Guardiola's men did everything right in their build-up play to the Spurs's box, except score when it mattered, and that is what cost them vital points which they might rue in the future, considering an equally adroit Liverpool team that finished only a single point behind them last season will again be a part of the chasing pack.

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Edited by SK_Mod_PJ
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