Premier League 2019-20: 3 key battles that decided Manchester City's 2-2 draw against Tottenham
For almost a minute there, it seemed that Manchester City had done it all over again. For a minute or two there it seemed like we were seeing the Manchester City of last season, pulling a goal out of their magic hat in the dying moments of the game and thus taking the three points they were owed.
And then, VAR happened. This is going to be a good season, controversy-wise.
For all their efforts and domination, City's inability to take the game by its throat is a good sign for the rest of the title aspirants. Twice City led - first through a Raheem Sterling header off a glorious Kevin de Bruyne ball, and then through a faux sitter from Sergio Aguero, again off a setup by the Belgian. But both times their lead was cut up against the run of play - once by a searching shot by Erik Lamela, and finally by a Lucas Moura header from a corner.
Of course, there were several individual battles that had a say in how the contest ultimately turned out. Here's a look at three of them:
#1 Kevin de Bruyne vs Christian Eriksen
Quite understandably, a lot of the match involved the midfielders of either side, with their primary attackers and chief defenders waiting in position and looking to capitalize on mistakes or to prevent any. In such a scenario, the most important battle was between their chief playmakers.
Kevin de Bruyne, almost 6 feet of pure Belgian delight, won this hands down. Not only did he end up providing the assists for both of the goals, but he also produced a masterclass in ball retention and distribution. He was the cause of an unimaginable 9 key passes, and took 9 corners for his side.
Christian Eriksen, on the other hand, had an off night, but that was mostly due to the fact that City never quite allowed Tottenham enough time on the ball for the Dane to do something with the ball. On the rare occasions that they did, the other attackers squandered chances far too easily, making it all moot.
How Spurs managed to draw this game, only they truly know.