Guardiola has had all that money but he’s never been able to buy VAR when up against Spurs, well he finally got it to go his way, but Spurs and one player in particular made that irrelevant in their second victory over the league leaders this season.
Think I’ve said on here before that City didn’t buy Kane because Pep really didn’t want a player who could take the limelight from himself.
So far this season, Kane has been off form, not up to his usual standards and Pep couldn’t help himself commenting on his team’s need for a real striker. They didn’t need Kane this season.
Was that the spur for Kane? To show Pep exactly what he would have got and what he is missing, with the kind of limelight stealing performance that might make sure a summer move doesn’t happen again. Look at the post match media comments, it was pretty much all about how brilliant Kane was, yes Conte got the odd mention but it was mainly focused on Kane. Pep would not like that one bit.
In truth it was an all-round performance from Spurs, though some names deserve to be mentioned alongside Kane’s for the top praise. Kulusevski on his first league start, the returning Dier and Romero in defence and of course Winks, for not making it off the bench.
Funny that, drop Winks and win. Who knew?
Anyway, the opener was pure Nuno ball. Just like the opening match of the season, but this time with the addition of Kane. Of course back then the fans were chanting “are you watching, Harry Kane?” City have all the ball, Spurs break and score. It took 55 minutes last time, less than five this.
A quick break, the way Spurs look at their best. A ball into Kane, inside his own half, his no look, left-foot, ball out to the left wing, just knowing Son would be there and off at the races, was perfect. Now Sonny has looked a little hesitant and dithery of late, I thought he was going to mess it up being so again. He was a bit as the ball ran away from him but squared it for the new boy, Kulusevski, who placed it between the defender’s legs, into the net with a first time shot. Always helps getting a goal as soon as you can at a new club, this his third league game.
From there on it was all out City.
With Dier and Romero back in tandem, along with Winks not being there, you felt a bit more comfortable but you still knew there’s more chance of conceding than keeping a clean sheet. And with the way they were defending, that it would take a howler.
And so it did. A cross in from their left though not easy should have seen Hugo do better than knock it back out into the area for it to be banged into the net. Poor from the captain, yet again. As I tweeted at teh time, it’s like pre-contract Hugo was Pat Jennings flying through the air. Post-contract Hugo is Barry Daines sat on his arse with Steve Perryman asking “WTF?”
While city were looking toothless in front of goal, Spurs breaks looked dangerous nearly every time. A quarter of an hour after half-time and Kane was starting things again. A lovely ball, just inside the City half, again to Son. It didn’t find his strike partner but the City nod down did go to Sessegnon who played it to Son. Son sized up the situation and seeing Kane race into the box, almost ignored by the defence, he put the perfect cross onto Kane’s foot for the second.
It was the Kane of old. The Kane of new followed shortly after when he should have made it three but let the keeper close him down. City broke up field and Hojbjerg took one for the team. The rank hypocrisy of City players complaining at the professional foul, when it’s their stock in trade. Fernandinho anyone, or Laporte last season in the League Cup final taking Moura down twice.
It had looked like the third had come though, when a ball out to Kulusevski, he turned his cross was deflected behind Kane in the box but controlled it got some space and shot it through the keeper’s hands. But VAR came to Pep’s rescue with an offside decision against the Swede.
I had Tweeted during the game asking at what minute the ref would give a penalty. And sure it did arrive. Romero going down to make another block in the box had his arm up and the ball hit it, would have probably hit his head if his arm hadn’t been there. This was just before the 90 minutes were up. Into added time the VAR told the ref to have a look and you knew what was coming.
Hugo had no chance with the penalty. He had made one brilliant flying save earlier, which was pure Big Pat.
But with plenty of time added and that City defence – people still think Kyle Walker is a great defender – there was still hope. Again it was a ball to Kulusevski, turning in he made a bit of room and put the ball into the box for Kane to attack. Up against Walker, who as per usual was playing the man not the ball, only one player wanted it and Kane got it. The 95th minute winner.
Conte went crackers. Imagine if Spurs had a chairman who backed this manager. Pep started moaning, don’t know if it was about not having a striker up front. I mean, he’s finally bought VAR and this happens.