Tottenham Hotspur did it the hard way this evening, but is there any other way to do it away at the Etihad against Manchester City?
Let’s take a look at the five things we learned from the 3-3 result:
Stopping the Slide –
The biggest takeaway for me is the fact that Tottenham prevented a fourth successive Premier League defeat. Not because it would have made any difference to the long-term project, but because it completely changes the headlines for Spurs this week. They have gone from serial losers and ‘is Postecoglou getting found out?’ to brave Tottenham who played City at their own game and got a point. That is huge for morale.
That Kulusevski Magic –
Three games at the Etihad and three goals for Dejan Kulusevski! It’s fast becoming his favourite away ground in the Premier League, and that is saying something. I was really impressed by his tenacious work in the pockets in the first half as he started in that number ten role again – up against Rodri no less. On the right in the second 45, he had acres to run into. At times, I want to see that Dejan of a year ago when he would take players out wide with his right foot just as often as cutting in. But there is no arguing with his work rate or his ability to put the ball into Man City’s net!
Ange Ball Strikes Again –
All the build-up to the game was about how Postecoglou simply could not play his style of football away to Man City with so many absent players and come out with anything but a hiding. Once again, Postecoglou showed that you don’t have to bow to the big sides. Even if Spurs had lost this evening, I still think people are missing the point. It is not about the short-term with Ange. Win, lose or draw, it’s about creating a new culture and a new way of playing at the club. You don’t change everything just because someone is injured, you simply teach every member of your squad to play the same way and improve together. It’s all a process and the signs are very positive for the long term.
Champions League Places –
Thanks to that point, Tottenham remain in what could be the Champions League places come the end of the season (if England are handed a fifth slot). They remain one point ahead of Newcastle and are just two behind Aston Villa in fourth. But perhaps more importantly, they once again showed they can mix it with the big boys.
Returning Players –
In theory, Tottenham’s woes should get ever so slightly lighter by the next game. Cristian Romero’s ban is now over and Richarlison made an appearance off the bench for Spurs. It’s not much compared to the long list of absentees, but it at least relieves some stress on the starting XI. And I would imagine Romero and Davies will now become the regular back two for the foreseeable future.
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