Tottenham’s Hugo Lloris and Heung-min Son set the stage for Spurs in a huge missed opportunity at Man City

Tottenham’s Hugo Lloris and Heung-min Son set the stage for Spurs in a huge missed opportunity at Man City

At least Tottenham didn’t Arsenal no favors in the title race. Every cloud and all that. But the silver lining is more of a splinter for Spurs and Antonio Conte, who can’t even rely on their yearly success at the Etihad to pick up three points this season.

I was there to drink. In the first half, City turned off the alarms and opened the main door for Spurs to sneak in on the counter. Ederson was in charge of bringing Dejan Kulsevski into the heart of the penalty area. No wonder the Etihad greeted the halftime whistle with boos.

Yet Tottenham’s response to being on the rise was the stuff of “Spursy” clichés, the kind of collapse Antonio Conte was appointed to eradicate. At both ends of the pitch, key players hampered the game, Hugo Lloris expanding his range of mistakes while Heung-min Son offered further indications that this is not a wobble, that the 30-year-old has entered his decline.

Champions League qualification looks increasingly unlikely for Spurs, who trail Newcastle and manchester united by five points having played one more game. Would Conte stay without him? should he? Kane? A win wouldn’t have changed these big existential questions hanging over Tottenham, but it would have given all parties a breather. That victory was there for the taking, at least for a while.

For 45 minutes, City’s control was passive and conservative, Pep Guardiola’s worst habits unleashed in Kevin DeBruyne absence. All possession, all patience, no penetration. rich lewis He was excellent in the role that corresponded to him, going from right back to third midfielder, but his presence in the center of the field only served to fatten the central zones even more. Progression through the gears was agonizingly slow and Spurs were only too willing to give their opponents time to smooth out the pitch.

After all, it’s not the worst strategy to wait for the mistake that has occurred all too often at City lately. The risks of Ederson’s arrogant play with the ball at his feet are outweighed by the rewards of his contribution to the possession game, but he will occasionally pick the wrong moment to ask something of Ederson. Rodri. On this occasion Rodrigo Bentancur stole, Kulusevski punished the mistake emphatically. In the cavalcade of chaos that was this Totttenham performance, the Swede was graceful under pressure. Many of his teammates could learn from him.

Still, at half-time it looked as if a little fuss might be enough for Spurs to battle their way to all three points. harry kane clearance from the baseline forced Ederson to palm the ball into the air and Emerson Playing on the bewilderment of a man suddenly awakened from a dream, Royal headbutted on the rebound. From here it only took a bit of determination and organization in defense, something like the solidity that Tottenham showed in the second half of last season. Add to that a pushing advantage to the infrequent counters that could come along and the Spurs would be well placed.

Boos rang out around the Etihad. The title defense seemed to be falling apart and it was the manager’s fault, another game of late where the manager seems to have decided to make things too complicated for no reason. This approach had cost City the game until they earned it.

Of course, there were adjustments beyond Guardiola sticking his head in the Etihad dressing room and declaring to his players: “Guys, it’s Tottenham.” After insisting on hammering down the middle, City began to hit the flanks, Riad Mahrez too willing to dance to the beat when Ivan Perisic invited him to hit the right foot. Lloris sped into no man’s land, flapping in the open before Julián Álvarez entered.

The Frenchman has been one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League for the past decade, not averse to a howler but capable of highly belligerent performances when the mood strikes him. In his fall years, the Spurs captain may have found some level of consistency, often actively hurting the cause with poor shooting saves. Lloris was in no man’s land when Mahrez nudged goal with a header for Haaland to turn, a deflection from Ben Davies certainly made the Algerian’s shot more difficult for City’s winner to handle, but when these mistakes They don’t compare to spectacular saves elsewhere, likability will. he will be short of angry Tottenham fans.

They’re watching what’s left of their great team from the past decade quickly age out of its prime. Harry Kane still threatens, but his strike partner, Son, is a shadow of himself. Now, when the chances of him countering his touches are heavy, the burst of rhythm is nowhere to be seen when Jack Grealish he lunged back to grab the ball from her feet.

Most alarming of all, a player who was all instinct seems a prisoner of his thoughts. Son’s every action seems to require a level of consideration that he didn’t need when he was in the running for the Golden Boot. He needs the extra touch that the Premier League doesn’t give anyone. A player with his individual achievements in a Tottenham shirt may feel like he’s earned the right to try to get back to fitness, but Conte must surely see his cause hampered by Son’s presence in the side.

On the other hand, the Spurs don’t have a manager they appointed to make tough decisions about the long-term viability of their big men. Conte was appointed to win what was left of this team and each of his press conferences makes clear his displeasure for a rebuilding job. But when your captain and half of your first transforming line seem to be on the decline, then it’s time to freshen things up.

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