Manchester City – Tottenham Hotspur: Tricky Encounter Reveals The Importance Of A Goalkeeper’s Ball Playing Abilities (1-0)
Manchester City scored early through Phil Foden, but struggled to break down Tottenham Hotspur’s 5-3-2 defensive block. Pochettino’s clever formation choice also proved to be useful against City’s 4-1-4-1 high press, until Paulo Gazzaniga’s passing ability was exposed.
Tactical analysis and match report by Om Arvind.
Pep Guardiola’s legacy is under some serious pressure, whether you think it should be or not. Just last Wednesday, Manchester City were knocked out of the Champions League quarter finals by Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham Hotspur after a couple of crucial VAR decisions. That tie demonstrated the randomness of football and also the ability of pundits and fans to pounce on that randomness and use it for narrative building.
As you are aware, the current story is that Guardiola is overrated thanks to his repeated failures in the Champions League. Nothing will put that argument to bed like winning the competition itself, but securing a second consecutive Premier League title would certainly hold off some of the critics. This is what was at stake in Saturday’s clash between Manchester City and Tottenham – the former’s title hopes and Pep’s legacy.
Having lost dynamic midfielder Moussa Sissoko and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris to injury in the aforementioned Champions league encounter, Pochettino started Paulo Gazzaniga in goal and shifted away from his diamond setup to a 5-3-2 formation. Center-back Juan Foyth deputized at right wing-back on the opposite side of Ben Davies, while Dele Alli, Eric Dier, and Christian Eriksen made up the midfield trio. Ahead of them sat pacey wingers Lucas Moura and Heung-Min Son . . .