Gil’s attempt to comfort Bentancur, huge Son moment – 5 things spotted in Tottenham vs Man City

By Staff

A top-four finish is no longer a possibility for Tottenham after losing 2-0 at home to Man City in a crucial Premier League encounter on Tuesday evening. The result means that Aston Villa will be playing in the Champions League next term and Spurs now need one point to secure a Europa League berth.

Following last weekend’s late 2-1 win over Burnley, Ange Postecoglou made three changes to his starting XI as Radu Dragusin, Rodrigo Bentancur and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg all came into the team. It was Bentancur who very nearly put Spurs ahead but Ederson was on hand to tip over his effort.

Guglielmo Vicario was then called into action not long after as he denied Phil Foden from close range after Hojbjerg’s poor clearance had fallen perfectly for him. All square at the break, City made the crucial breakthrough in the 51st minute through Erling Haaland.

It was a simple finish for the Norwegian international but it all came from some excellent play from Phil Foden and a superb pass across the face of goal from Kevin De Bruyne. Tottenham did have their chances, most notably through Son Heung-min on the cusp of full-time, but it was City who came away with all three points after Haaland netted his second of the evening from the penalty spot.

Here are five things we spotted in the game in north London:

The left-back experiment

Destiny Udogie’s season-ending injury really has given Postecoglou a headache he really didn’t need at such an important time in the season. With Emerson Royal struggling in the 4-2 defeat to Liverpool, Oliver Skipp was handed a start in the position against Burnley after a good cameo appearance at left-back in the closing stages of the Liverpool loss.

It was a bit of a mixed bag from Skipp in the Burnley win, which is entirely understandable given it’s not his natural role, and he was back on the bench for the visit of Man City. Micky van de Ven started in his place at left-back after scoring the winner for Tottenham against the Clarets after taking on the role for the final 15 minutes of last Saturday’s game.

READ MORE: Tottenham player ratings vs Man City – Dragusin and Bentancur impress as Son misses huge chance

READ MORE: Postecoglou makes it clear what Tottenham need in transfer windows to challenge Manchester City

Tottenham fans have called for the player to start there recently but Postecoglou mentioned in his post-match press conference that he was reluctant to play the Dutchman at left-back due to his previous injuries and also because of the demands of playing there. However, he clearly believed the time was right to play the ex-Wolfsburg man at left-back due to Man City’s attacking might.

Van de Ven did have quite the challenge on his hands with Kyle Walker having so much space down Tottenham’s left time and time again with the hosts not doing enough to support the makeshift left-back.

A bright future

A gap in Postecoglou’s first-team squad to take on Man City opened up following Yves Bissouma’s season-ending injury. Sustaining a knee issue in the Burnley win, the midfielder will unfortunately now sit out the rest of the season.

Already missing a host of first-team stars, academy ace Tyrese Hall got the nod to come into the matchday party. The 18-year-old’s inclusion was richly deserved after a terrific season for the Under-18s and Under-21s.

Hall joined fellow academy star Mikey Moore on the bench, with Dane Scarlett, who impressed in a cameo appearance against Burnley on Saturday, part of the matchday squad once again. It very much gave Spurs fans a glimpse of the future with Moore and Hall potential first-team regulars in the years ahead if they continue to progress at their current rate.

Moore did in fact come on for the closing minutes in stoppage time as he replaced James Maddison. A moment the player has deserved after impressing in first-team training recently, more minutes could possibly come his way on Sunday at Sheffield United.

Ange’s formation

Postecoglou’s Tottenham formation to take on Man City was rather interesting and it certainly had people talking. Without an experienced out-and-out striker due to Richarlison’s injury, the head coach also had to do without Bissouma due to a knee problem.

Hojbjerg and Bentancur came into the side, with Dragusin also handed a rare start as Van de Ven moved across to left-back. In terms of Tottenham’s attack, Postecoglou had Brennan Johnson and Son on the right and left flanks respectively with Pape Matar Sarr and Maddison interchanging at times in a false nine role.

Certainly an unusual role for both players, Sarr regularly looked to push upfield and was causing City some problems at times due to his running. Despite question marks surrounding Spurs’ formation, they performed very well as they had plenty of defensive cover, runners from midfield and pace out wide.

Not only frustrating the visitors at times, Spurs also troubled them as they looked a threat in the final third. However, it was City who prevailed in such a vital match.

Unlucky Bentancur

Bentancur will be hoping for better luck in the 2024/25 campaign after such a mixed season. Always going to be a tough year for him as he worked his way back to full fitness following that ACL injury he sustained at Leicester City in February 2023, the Uruguayan was dealt a hammer blow so soon after his return after picking up another injury in the home defeat to Aston Villa.

In and out of the team since then, Bentancur was handed a start against Man City and went very close to opening the scoring only for Ederson to tip his effort over. A willing runner from midfield and putting himself about, the ex-Juventus man was having a big impact on proceedings but he made life difficult for himself with a yellow card for a poor tackle on Foden.

Unable to really put in a strong challenge on the England international seconds before City opened the scoring through Haaland, Bentancur was replaced moments later by Dejan Kulusevski. Really unfortunate to make way after such a good showing, the player’s yellow card didn’t exactly help his cause and it always seemed likely that he would be substituted at some point.

Upon returning to the dugout, Bryan Gil held his hand out for Bentancur but he soon withdrew it as his teammate kicked his seat in anger three times. Gil then gave the midfielder a pat on the back but the ex-Juventus man hadn’t finished there as he launched his water bottle to the ground.

Clearly a tough moment for the 26-year-old, Bentancur will hoping another start comes his way on the final day when Tottenham travel to Sheffield United.

That Son chance

Leading 1-0 going into the final few minutes of the contest and with one hand on the Premier League title, all connected with Tottenham, Man City and Arsenal collectively held their breath as Son raced through on goal. Usually so decisive in front of goal when the big chances arrive, the Tottenham captain saw his low shot saved by substitute goalkeeper Stefan Ortega.

It proved to be a huge moment not only in the context of the game but also the season. Pep Guardiola even dropped to the floor after his goalkeeper’s heroics. That’s how important it was.

Always going to be a tense finale due to their one-goal lead and the importance of collecting all three points to dent Arsenal’s hopes, City scored a crucial second in the 90th minute as Haaland emphatically converted from the penalty spot after Pedro Porro had fouled Jeremy Doku.

If Man City do go on to win the Premier League title on Sunday at home to West Ham and Arsenal finish the season in second, that Son chance could well haunt Arsenal fans for quite a long time.

Want breaking and top Tottenham stories sent straight to you? Join our Spurs WhatsApp community by clicking this link. If you’re curious you can check out our privacy policy here.

Catch up with this week’s Gold & Guest Talk Tottenham by clicking here! In depth Spurs chat on your preferred podcast platform.

Share This Article
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *