Heaven knows I’m miserable now following what was a hideously frustrating finish to a game that City dominated throughout and undoubtedly deserved to win. Whilst the decision to disallow Jesus’ would-be winner was sickening enough to observe, the blues were also denied a stone-wall penalty in the first half as Rodri was grappled and flung to the ground by Erik Lamela during an early City corner. Nevertheless, here are five things we learned from the game:
De Bruyne is well and truly back
When fit, Kevin De Bruyne is arguably the best player in the league and is potentially the best midfielder in the world. De Bruyne missed the bulk of last season courtesy of injury, however, the Belgian looked to be back to his brilliant best against Spurs and his pinpoint passing in the final third led to De Bruyne to registering 2 assists against last season’s Champions League finalists. De Bruyne pulled the strings for 90 minutes as City dominated the game from start to finish.
Zinchenko is a plaster on a serious wound
To be frank, Zinchenko’s performance today was awful, whilst the young Ukrainian is good technically, he is not a natural defender and Zinchenko is becoming a real liability at left-back. Whilst it has never been expected that Zinchenko was to become a long-term cog in the Manchester City machine, the Ukrainian’s poor performance against the north London side further highlighted the fact that Zinchenko is little more than a stand-in. Moussa Sissoko dominated Zinchenko throughout the game and the number of times that the Ukrainian was found wanting was embarrassing. Hopefully one day soon, Mendy will return to the fold and he will become the player that we know that he can be.
The search for Fernandinho’s long-term replacement is over
Having watched each of Rodri’s few outings in a sky-blue shirt, I have concluded that the young Spaniard is truly fantastic, and he is undisputedly the long-term replacement for Fernandinho that we have been craving for years. Whilst Fernandinho is still an excellent player, the Brazilian is likely to be slowly phased out throughout the season but will be called upon when needed, not too dissimilar to Vincent Kompany’s role in his final year the club. It would be wise to expect ‘Dinho to play in “bigger games” against teams such as Arsenal and Liverpool, teams that have class on the pitch but don’t possess an overt physical advantage over the blues such as Tottenham.
Laporte is the heir to Kompany’s throne
Whilst this article is titled “5 Things Learned”, I’m going to disregard this in favour of simply reiterating just how good Aymeric Laporte is. The Frenchman is certainly one of the defenders in the world, we already knew this but oh well, the Frenchman was solid against spurs, his positioning was fantastic, he was dominant in the air, his tackling was very well-timed, and his passing was excellent throughout the game. Laporte spent much of the game covering for Zinchenko and was integral in City only conceding two shots on target during the 90 minutes, yet whilst both shots were well-placed and went in, the Frenchman was not at fault.
VAR is sickening
I considered ending this article with praising Gundogan’s impressive performance or the energetic impact the Jesus had on the game, however, if the issue of VAR wasn’t addressed then I would feel remiss in my duties. As sickening as it was to see Jesus score, celebrate wildly for minutes and then see the goal disallowed, it was (technically) the correct decision, however, that doesn’t take away from the negative impact that VAR is having in football stadiums. Football has always been known as the peoples game and the influence of modern technology is irreversibly harming the sport, VAR has been brought into the game to verify that “clear-and-obvious” decisions are not mistakenly given, however, was the ball ricocheting off of Laporte’s arm before finding Jesus an obvious error? No, it was not. Furthermore, nobody knows where the line is drawn regarding the handball rule anymore, last season Tottenham’s Fernando Llorente scored a goal with his arm, and that goal which wasn’t disallowed proved vital in Spurs progressing to that season’s Champions League Semi-Finals.
Follow us on Twitter here: @city_xtra
Follow the Author here: @brandonevans_18