Match Coverage

Mangala pockets Kane and KDB is the world’s best midfielder: What We Learned from Man City vs. Tottenham

Another win, another dominating performance. There was plenty of apprehension pre-match about how City would fare against a team that caused them so many problems last season. All of those worries were put to bed early as City took control of the game and never relinquished it. Spurs were made to look like a mid-table team at best and a late Eriksen goal robbed City of the clean sheet their performance merited.

It cannot be overstated just how good the performance was today. Our play with and without the ball was on an entirely different level to anything we have ever seen in the Premier League before. However, Pep is a perfectionist and the continued inability to finish excellent chances on the counter attack is something that will frustrate him to no end. So long as there are areas such as this for the side to improve on, Pep will help guide them from strength to strength.

Kevin De Bruyne is the Best Midfielder in the World

Bold claim? Yes. I challenge you to find another midfielder who is playing on his level at the moment, though. It isn’t just that he is devastating going forward but his defensive work has excelled beyond belief this season. The amount of times he can be seen leading the press and either recovering the ball himself or aiding with the process is incredible. Who would have thought that De Bruyne would become an elite deep-lying midfield player when he first joined the club?

His influence over games is absolutely staggering. Whether it’s seeing passes that nobody else would even think to attempt or driving past two defenders and attacking the edge of the box, it seems like there is nothing he can’t do.

Today was no exception, De Bruyne was the stand out player on the pitch and a constant thorn in Spurs’ side. The Belgian played that well Dele Alli tried to break one of his ankles out of frustration. Even that couldn’t stop him, moments later he drove into the Tottenham box and rifled a left footed past Lloris.

In some way those five minutes sum up everything about De Bruyne: an extremely skilled player with fiery determination and drive. Pep once said there’s a table reserved for Messi alone when it comes to the best footballer players in the world. If his meteoric rise continues over the next few seasons, perhaps Kevin may have a table to himself as well.

No David, no Problem

Unfortunately, David Silva was unable to play today due to urgent personal matters that he had to attend to. This left Gündogan with the task of playing alongside De Bruyne in midfield. Plenty have been left rather disappointed with the German’s displays so far this season, with some even going so far as to question his ability to be an asset to this City team.

Gündogan has without a doubt silenced those critics with his performance this evening. He was essential when it came to resisting Spurs’ high pressing efforts with his close control and ability to beat players with his dribbling skills. It was a regular occurrence to see him beat his marker and charge forward with the ball, allowing the attackers to make dangerous runs and provoke mistakes from the Spurs back-line.

Most importantly though, for those who were criticising him, Gündogan contributed heavily to City’s end product. The German opened the scoring and also played a part in City’s third. He positioned himself well in front of the Spurs defence and played a beautifully incisive pass to Sané who squared for Sterling for an easy tap in.

City didn’t miss a beat with Ilkay playing instead of Silva and that can only be a good thing as unfortunately El Mago won’t be around forever.

Could Pep Fix Mangala?

I know, I know, how can anyone salvage Mangala? There was plenty of doom and gloom, doubt and uneasiness surrounding Mangala when he was introduced in the second half at Old Trafford. Much to everyone’s surprise, the Frenchman was excellent and made several key interventions to help City hold on for a massive victory. Against Swansea, he again performed well and fulfilled his role to a good standard.

Today though, facing the daunting prospect of keeping Harry Kane quiet for ninety minutes, he excelled. Over the course of the game he barely put a foot wrong, his passing was efficient if unremarkable and as a result of these efforts City looked incredibly comfortable for the vast majority of the game.

Pep is known for his ability to improve players and with the wonders he has worked with Otamendi and Stones, could Mangala be another player to benefit from his coaching? Time will tell as City are still without Stones and Kompany (presumably) for the next few fixtures. If the Frenchman continues in this vein, perhaps his time at City may be remembered a little more fondly.

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