Tottenham Hotspur – Manchester City: Guardiola’s cautious approach backfired as Spurs gained the advantage in the tie (1-0)
Manchester City were nowhere near their accustomed attacking flair as Pep Guardiola’s choice of a double pivot led to a lot of unambitious possession play. Tottenham successfully stifled City’s midfield, and despite losing their talisman, they managed to capitalize on Manchester City’s weak link and get an important first leg victory.
Tactical analysis and match report by Cem Soylu.
Pep Guardiola’s choice of a 4-2-3-1 formation is the main talking point of this game, since everyone is pointing out Guardiola’s Champions League shortcomings - most notably last year’s trouncing at Anfield at the same stage of the tournament, with the same choice of formation. Guardiola also chose to play this formation at Anfield earlier this year in a 0-0 league draw, in a game that both sides were happy with a draw. It was the same case here for Guardiola; he came for a draw.
Tottenham had their best team available and Mauricio Pochettino also chose to play with a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Dele Alli behind Harry Kane, flanked by Christian Eriksen on the right and Heung-Min Son on the left. Manchester City replicated the squad that started the 0-0 draw at Anfield with Riyad Mahrez preferred over Leroy Sané, but since Bernardo Silva and Benjamin Mendy were not fit enough, Guardiola reverted to İlkay Gündoğan and Fabian Delph to replace them.
Manchester City buildup and Tottenham’s pressing
The frame we saw the most during the game was . . .