Before Spurs’ evening trip to the Etihad, all the talk was about whether Pep Guardiola’s side would be able to cope with this in-form Tottenham side. But the reality was quite different, with City dominating the game – though they failed to come away with all three points. Let’s take a look at four of the biggest talking points from the 2-2 result.
City cannot afford be to be this profligate again
In many ways, this was one of the better performances of the last few weeks for Manchester City, but they will still have left dissatisfied after failing to win the game. There are a number of reasons why Guardiola’s men ended up with a draw (not least the officials, which we’ll come to in a minute), but in many ways City only have themselves to blame, after failing to take a number of clear-cut chances.
It would be an understatement to say that City dominated the first half – in reality, they were all over a poor Spurs side, and Pochettino and his men would have been delighted to go in at half-time level. Really, City should have been out of sight after about 30 minutes, and the fact that they weren’t cannot be blamed on referees or luck – had they put the game to bed earlier, the referee wouldn’t have been able to have the influence he did.
Video replays, anyone?
Having said all that, it was a shocker of a decision from Andre Marriner not to penalise Kyle Walker for a blatant push on Raheem Sterling. The push may have been light, but Sterling visibly stumbled and shanked his shot wide, and under the rules this should have been punished with a penalty and a red card.
When the foul was so clear to all aside from the referee, one has to ask the age-old question of whether or not it is time to bring technology into the game? A video referee could very quickly have explained to Marriner that Walker had committed the foul – it would not have slowed the game down.
Sadly, what incidents like this only serve to do is make it clear to players that the way to get a decision to go your way is to go down. Had Sterling reacted to Walker’s push and gone down, he would have been far more likely to get the decision, but it should not have to be like that.
— Spurs Family (@spurs_family) January 21, 2017
A point gained, rather than lost for Tottenham
Despite originally hoping for a win, Spurs will have been happy to escape Manchester with a draw that they scarcely deserved.
In what was a difficult day at the office, they showed resolve and fight, and that is the mark of a team able to compete at the top end of the division – getting a result without playing to the best of your ability.
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) January 22, 2017
Could it be starting to click at Man City?
Guardiola has received a lot of criticism over the last few weeks, and it’s fair to say that he has endured a difficult start to his Manchester City career.
But on Saturday, bar the finishing, City looked like the real deal. If they’re able to do that to a Tottenham side with the best defence in the league, then what will they do to the lesser opposition?
— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 22, 2017