14/08/2010 Venue: White Hart Lane Att: 35928
Starting Line upTottenham: Gomes, Corluka, Dawson, King, Assou-Ekotto, Lennon, Modric, Huddlestone, Bale, Crouch, Defoe. Subs: Cudicini, Kaboul, Pavlyuchenko, Keane, Palacios, Giovani, Bassong.
Man City: Hart, Richards, Toure, Kompany, Kolarov, Wright-Phillips, Toure Yaya, De Jong, Barry, Silva, Tevez. Subs: Given, Zabaleta, Adebayor, Adam Johnson, Lescott, Vieira, Jo.
Referee: Andre Marriner (W Midlands)
Quite a crucial match for Manchester City at the start of season. It was just a few months ago that they were lost out in Champions League qualifying spots by Tottenham Hotspur. In the past seasons, City looked vulnerable against Spurs side in general and especially at away match, City were unable to beat Spurs since 2003.
As expected, there were three débutantes from City (Silva, Kolarov and Y. Toure) and it was only Jerome Boateng who missed the match due to injury. The most surprising inclusion in the starting line-up was Joe Hart, who had an excellent loan spell with Birmingham City. As poor form of Shay Given continued from January onwards, I guess Roberto Mancini had to give Hart a try. Two other things that which came a shock to me was three defensive midfielders and playing SWP instead of Adam Johnson.
First half was completely dominated by Spurs and City was lucky to finish the half without conceding a single goal. After possessing the ball from the start of the match, Jermaine Defoe came close to score after receiving pass from Aaron Lennon but it was turned away by Hart and it was only the start of Hart's brilliance. Between 11th minute and 32th minute, Hart had to make six excellent saves to keep City in the game.
So what was wrong with City? Personally, Micah Richards was the villain, as he showed too much space to flying Gareth Bale. Also, squad as a whole did not do any pressing when Spurs were in possession throughout the first half.
Second half was slightly better and City should've scored in the opening minute when SWP had clear chance in front of keeper but he squandered it badly. After that, there were some glimpse of hopes on goals from either side (Roman Pavlyuchenko in particular) but none of them overcome Hart.