Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur were two of the pre-season favourites to lift the Premier League trophy. Both teams came into the match high on confidence after winning their respective opening fixtures.
There was an element of hype surrounding this match owing to an unforgettable UEFA Champions League quarterfinal encounter in which a controversial VAR decision eliminated Manchester City. Tottenham had improved their side with some good signings and are considered a genuine title contender by many experts.
Pep Guardiola made four changes to the starting lineup that won the first match against West Ham. Sergio Aguero replaced Gabriel Jesus as the striker after being rested for the opening fixture. Bernardo Silva started in the right-wing while Ilkay Gundogan replaced veteran David Silva. John Stones' injury forced Guardiola to play Nicolas Otamendi in place of the Englishman.
Mauricio Pochettino opted for a 3-man midfield with Harry Winks, Tanguy N’Dombele and Moussa Sissoko.
The match lived up to its billing as Manchester City pushed for a victory but Tottenham kept clawing back into the game. Manchester City were ruthless right from the first minute and Raheem Sterling’s header gave them an early lead. Out of nowhere, Erik Lamela scored the equalizer at the 23rd minute with a magnificent strike from twenty yards.
Manchester City took the lead again with Kevin De Bruyne assisting Sergio Aguero with a perfect low cross from the right-wing. Tottenham’s UCL semifinal hero Lucas Moura turned out to be their saviour again as he scored a stunning header after coming on as a substitute.
Manchester City kept creating chances throughout the game and with a bit of luck, they could have won this encounter with ease. Their unluckiest moment came during the extra time as Gabriel Jesus's winner was ruled out by VAR. Here are the three reasons why the game ended in a draw.
#1 Kevin De Bruyne’s compelling performance
Kevin De Bruyne was instrumental in Manchester City’s record-breaking victory in the 2017/18 season but he missed out a major part of the last season due to frequent injuries. Manchester City won a domestic treble even without him contributing significantly and that raised questions as to whether he would still be a first-choice player in this City team.
Kevin De Bruyne answered all the doubters by dominating the first 45 minutes of the game with a brilliant display of vision, guile and exquisite passing. In the 20th minute, he played out a beautiful cross into the box which was headed home by Sterling. For City’s second goal, he got away from Danny Rose before perfectly setting up Aguero to score from close range.
He currently has three assists from two games and averages 6 key passes per game which shows why he is a class above from the rest. If he can remain fully fit for the rest of the season, Manchester City has every chance of winning another continental treble.