Japhet Tanganga and Davinson Sanchez produce a defensive masterclass as Tottenham Hotspur secure a 1-0 win over Manchester City.
Manchester City’s title defence got off to a rocky start as they fell to a 1-0 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday. It was a glorious performance from Nuno Espirito Santo’s inspired squad that remained resilient to defend the second-half goal scored by Son Heung-Min, eventually clinching vital three points in front of a packed set of home supporters.
The game was cagey, though, it was Manchester City that calmly dominated proceedings in the first 15 minutes. Tottenham did well to push forward a bit, leading to a balanced affair with neither side being able to craft any clear cut goalscoring opportunities. And to no one’s surprise, the two sides drew goalless at half-time.
The match seemed to be heading in the same direction during the initial stages of the second half. However, a sublime strike from Son in the 55th minute was enough to find the opener for Tottenham. The goal opened the game up with Manchester City committing men forward in search of an equaliser.
It left gaps in the backline, something Spurs were able to exploit but not find the end product that would have given them a two-goal cushion. Nevertheless, their defensive resilience made it almost impossible for the Citizens to find the breakthrough as they eventually sealed all three points.
Here are the player ratings for both sets of players in this interesting result at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium this weekend.
Hugo Lloris: 7/10
Despite all their dominance, Manchester City could only muster four shots on target. It made the job easier for Hugo Lloris, who remained solid in between the sticks to preserve Tottenham’s clean sheet.
Japhet Tanganga: 9/10
Japhet Tanganga produced a marvellous display at right-back this evening. He was immense in defence, expertly dealing with the threat of Raheem Sterling and Jack Grealish. Taken off late in the game, receiving a standing ovation from the crowd.
Japhet Tanganga's game by numbers vs. Man City:
100% long ball accuracy
90% pass accuracy
4 duels won
4 fouls committed
No way past. ⛔ pic.twitter.com/Xo67Ngrgii
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 15, 2021
Davinson Sanchez: 9/10
Davinson Sanchez was another rock at the back for Spurs. His imposing presence in defence made it difficult for the opposition attackers to find any space or freedom inside the box. He notably notched up five clearances.
Eric Dier: 8.5/10
Eric Dier silenced his critics by playing a nice supporting role alongside Sanchez in defence. He was strong in his tackles and defended well in the deep, ending the game with six clearances.
Sergio Reguilon: 8/10
Sergio Reguilon looked more matured at left-back. He wasn’t as involved in the attacking department as one would predict, but the Spaniard remained disciplined in defence, dealing well with the threat of Riyad Mahrez out wide.
Oliver Skipp: 7.5/10
Oliver Skipp played as the holding midfield for Spurs. He was vital in bringing the ball out from the back and spreading possession throughout the game. A solid start to the season for the youngster.
Credit to Skipp. Thrown it at the deep end today and struggled at the start but grew into the game, ended up putting in a real shift in midfield alongside Hojbjerg and showed he can step up to the level. Loved that tackle at the end. Brilliant performance vs world-class oppo 👏 pic.twitter.com/zyxhqy1uCj
— COYS.com (@COYS_com) August 15, 2021
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg: 7.5/10
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg wasn’t the standout performer for Tottenham as he often was last season. And that is a good thing given the fact that the Dane was very influential in the second line of press. He hurried and hassled the opposing ball carriers, making it difficult for them to dominate.
Lucas Moura: 7/10
Lucas Moura wasn’t effective with most of his forays into the final third. But the Brazilian poured his heart out and ran his socks off in trying to get at the opposition backline.
Dele Alli: 6/10
Not the most influential performance from Dele Alli who was given the nod ahead of Giovani Lo Celso. The Englishman did occasionally spray useful forward passes but needs to improve his game in order to become a regular.
Steven Bergwijn: 8/10
Steven Bergwijn was one of Tottenham’s two major threats on the counter. His pace and tenacity served as a menace for the Man City backline, with the Dutchman also producing the assist for Son’s goal. Missed a glorious opportunity later in the game, though.
Son Heung-Min: 8.5/10
Son Heung-Min produced a commendable display in the final third, spearheading the line brilliantly in the absence of Harry Kane. The South Korean international was always a threat for the opposing defence due to his quality and efficiency in front of goal. It became evident in the second half when the attacker beat Ederson to score the winner in an exquisite fashion.
— Daily Hotspur (@Daily_Hotspur) August 15, 2021
Giovani Lo Celso: N/A
Giovani Lo Celso made a late appearance in the game, which was a much-needed one given his lack of involvement during the pre-season. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.
Matt Doherty: N/A
Replaced Tanganga late in the game. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.
Cristian Romero: N/A
Made his much-awaited Tottenham debut, slotting in at central defence in the final few minutes. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.
Ederson didn’t have anything much to do as Tottenham only mustered two shots on target in the entire game. He was quite easily beaten by Son, though his vision was likely blocked by one of his defenders.
Joao Cancelo: 6/10
Joao Cancelo started the game well, getting into good positions. But his influence faded as Tottenham started to push men forward. Had a difficult time dealing with Bergwijn, at times.
Ruben Dias: 6/10
Ruben Dias looked awkward in his positioning to defend the Son goal and he was the one who blocked Ederson’s vision. It was a major dent in an otherwise clinical defensive display.
It’s time we talk about Ruben Dias pic.twitter.com/b9qk9pORUe
— Yahya (@UtdYahz) August 15, 2021
Nathan Ake: 6.5/10
Nathan Ake looked a bit sluggish in certain parts of the game, but it was largely a decent defensive performance from the former Chelsea starlet. It might not be enough to get him the nod ahead of John Stones in the next game, though.
Benjamin Mendy: 6/10
Benjamin Mendy didn’t provide anything to the table for Manchester City going forward. He wasn’t quite effective with his crosses, though he wasn’t defensively challenged either.
Fernandinho ran the show in midfield brilliantly during the first phase of the game. His dominance didn’t last long as Tottenham started to enjoy more possession. Never really recovered his control after that period.
Ilkay Gundogan: 7/10
Ilkay Gundogan looked like one of Man City’s more inspired players. He offered good passes into the final third but didn’t receive enough support to truly make a difference.
Jack Grealish: 6.5/10
Making his full debut for Manchester City, Jack Grealish lacked the space and freedom on the far side. He wasn’t exactly bad but rather defended quite well by Tanganga.
Jack Grealish was fouled more times than any other player in the first half against Tottenham (4).
New club, same Jack. pic.twitter.com/KyM0vX7QO7
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 15, 2021
Riyad Mahrez: 6/10
Riyad Mahrez couldn’t impact the game at all from the left flank. It was turning out to be difficult for him to get past Reguilon, especially with additional support from Dier.
Ferran Torres: 6/10
Ferran Torres didn’t provide enough quality in the number nine position to emerge as the matchwinner for Man City. He got close once or twice but failed to add the final touch.
Raheem Sterling: 6.5/10
Raheem Sterling also had difficulties getting past Tanganga on the far side. He did look dangerous at times but his work rate and effort weren’t reciprocated by most of his teammates.
Gabriel Jesus: 6/10
Gabriel Jesus made his late appearance, coming on for Sterling in the 70th minute. Offered more freshness but not enough to make an impact.
Kevin de Bruyne: N/A
Made a welcome return to the pitch after making his recovery from an injury. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.
Oleksandr Zinchenko: N/A
A late replacement for Mendy. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.