This fixture was deemed absolutely pivotal. The clash was picked up early season as the two teams with potential to break the top four bond. Luckily, before this fixture we were still edging towards a top four finish. Poor showings against Hull, Burnley and Fulham etc would have all been gladly pushed aside if we picked up a victory at WHL. However, this performance has put us as far away from that coveted position as possible, not just in points but the mentality and morale would have taken a huge dent tonight. Instead of the all-action, firing on all cylinders display we were promised, we were left witnessing an uninspiring, lacklustre and poor excuse of a competitive match.
This, sadly, has to be the lowest point of the season. Despite the collective talent on display at Tottenham, this match rates as poor as any I`ve endured this campaign. The league table doesn`t lie and after 16/17 games it paints an unbelievably accurate picture. 8th position is extremely difficult to swallow and if performances like the traumatic experience at WHL are anything to go by we will simply continue to fade away.
The match started brightly for the blues, looking like the home side we set out to win this game. Our midfield started strong and our retaining of possession in the first 15 minutes was admirable. Our crisp passing and neat interchange would have been worrying for Spurs, early on their only hope was an away style of “counter attack” football.
Suddenly, this all changed. Tottenham started to use Lennon wisely as he rampaged and skipped past the veteran Sylvinho with ease. The frenetic pace Tottenham were setting was hard to cope with and the gaps in both midfield and defence were being picked off with ease.
The “one dimensional” threat of Spurs was working. The ball wide to Lennon and into the middle to Defoe and Crouch was unbelievably slicing our defence apart. Sylvinho was having a torrid time, as was Toure, City`s captain has come under recent criticism from fans and the doubts over his performance were cemented tonight with an inadequate display. With no injection of enthusiasm we were left sitting back and admiring a solid home performance.
Our array of talent upfront was providing little threat and only Tevez and Ireland looked ready to challenge Spurs in an attacking sense. On 37 minutes disaster struck as Tottenham took the lead. Unsurprisingly Lennon provided the spark with a deep cross aimed at Crouch, after a blocked header, the ball unfortunately for City fell kindly for Kranjcar to slot home and make the score 1-0.
An effortless performance was resumed as usual from City as Tottenham were left rueing several chances missed. Rampaging down both wings and through the middle we were left clueless and lucky to escape more punishment before the referee called time on a dismal first half for us.
Half Time- TH- 1- 0 – MC
The second half remained as pitiful as the first. After what must have been a shouting display at half time for Hughesy the players came out more timid than the first. Our mentality has been praised highly this year with continuous fight backs, none more recent than Bolton. We weren`t out of this game, we needed to take charge in midfield and start creating more chances in front of goal.
If we wanted a win from this fixture a goal before the hour was much needed. As luck would have it the game was treated to a goal before the hour. However, it was Defoe who was celebrating and our chances of three points were in ruins. A punt from Gomes was headed on by the bionic 9ft Crouch, his header, after an abysmal effort from Toure, found Defoe. The pocket rocket striker was faultless in his finish.
Finally an introduction of the yellow card from Alan Wiley sees a foray of players booked. Robinho was replaced by Santa Cruz and the Paraguay striker looked to make an immediate impact.
An enthralling game created few chances after the second goal as we begun our fight back mission.
he inclusion of Petrov added to the earlier sub of Santa Cruz saw our first bright patch in the second half. Both Ireland and Petrov came close before a blatant handball from Dawson on the Tireless Cruz went unpunished.
very player, supporter and member of the City squad were becoming increasingly frustrated as Adebayor added to his woeful display, shooting over from 6 yards. Continuous pressure from us was “too little too late” as we failed to find the breakthrough. Missed place passes, poor runs and terrible shooting added to the all round unacceptable display.
Time was running out and our fate was finally sealed when Kranjcar danced through shocking defensive efforts and made it 3-0. The score line was a fair reflection on an unenthusiastic display in a vital match.
his match portrayed how far off we are from the top four monopoly. Crucial home games commence in the near future where a winning run must begin.
Full Time TH-3 – 0- MC
City’s no1 stopped as much as possible. Was blameless with all the goals and will be extremely disappointed with his woeful defence.
Muscle bound Richards wasn’t tested as much as our other fullback. Sometimes drove forward with intent but lacked defensive awareness.
The City skipper is continuously looking a poor shadow of his old self. Few leadership skills and poor performances have caused defensive unrest.
Played reasonably well on his return to the first team. Was tasked with marking the brilliant defoe and did well until he passed him on to Toure.
Veteran Brazilian tried effortlessly to prevent Lennon’s bursts, crosses and shots. Without the pace the task was clearly unenviable and he had a poor game.
After a recent absence through swine flu De Jong battled well in a game when our midfield was bossed. Was unfortunate to be booked and shouldn’t be used as a scapegoat substitute when performing better than others.
Broke up play on a few occasions but didn’t provide any creative spark. Would have helped if he provided cover for Sylvinho on numerous occasions.
One of the very few players who put in a performance. Ran with enthusiasm and looked more of a carbon copy of last season’s Ireland. Was unfortunate not to force the breakthrough for either himself or others.
A passenger for most of his 60 minutes. The Brazilian was rightfully replaced after failing to provide any spark or attacking flair.
Another tireless performance from Tevez. Plays for the whole 90 minutes but wasn’t helped by poor attacking options.
Woeful. Two games running the big striker has been poor and will be fortunate to start on Saturday.
Worked well when brought on. Much more of a threat than Ade and linked up well with Ireland. His match fitness was much improved today and will hopefully start on Saturday.
Little match time. Came close with a free kick and was unfortunate not too be put through by Adebayor.
Hughes- I have the utmost sympathy for Hughes. He tries to put his best side out but is rewarded with abysmal performances like this. Saturday is a chance to bench any egomaniacs and provide other players with an opportunity.