with Harry Kane?
Pep Guardiola still can’t buy a goal at the Tottenham Stadium, never mind a victory, as again the home side remain a bogey side for the Spaniard, as Harry Kane scores the winner to break the unbreakable record.
Guardiola’s first visit to Spurs, back in 2016 ended his 100% start in the Premier League, that started a run of six straight games at Spurs’ official home – in Premier League and Champions League – where City haven’t even registered a goal, while losing all six games – we don’t count the two seasons at Wembley.
But it’s a long way from Manchester to London… apparently.
I suppose Pep needs to deflect from not starting De Bruyne, which surely was a lift to the home players. Especially in the opening 15 minutes, where City had all the ball as yet again Spurs couldn’t string two passes together to get out of their own half. Just luckily there was no one in the away team who could string a pass to the man who could have hurt Spurs. Haaland.
Things changed on that quarter hour, as Spurs finally got some bodies forward and did a bit of pressing. Five white shirts on or just off the edge of the City box, Bentancur presses the City defender into a mistake, as he passes the ball off to Hojbjerg, who heads straight int the box. Stumbling he squares the ball to Kane who didn’t need a second invitation to break the record of Jimmy Greaves.
It was also Kane’s 200th Premier League goal, achieved quicker than the only two players to have reached that mark, Rooney and Shearer.
I wonder if it dawned on Kane as he took that adulation for breaking that record, what could have been and that the grass may not be so greener. Yes, if Kane had moved to City he no doubt would have won things, something he’s desperate to do. But throughout the game his opposite number, Haaland, kept making great runs, while no one would find him with a ball. Not that they couldn’t, just they seemed to not want to. Grealish and Mahrez, looking for personal glory than playing for the team.
Honestly, Guardiola doesn’t really like strikers, he’s fallen out with enough of them. They take the glory from “his team”. I wouldn’t put it past him to do it on purpose. I mean, really, why else would you bench your best link player? De Bruyne did come on with half an hour to go but it didn’t work and even with Spurs down to 10 men for the final few minutes, Haarland didn’t have a single shot all game.
So while one manager influenced the performance of his team, did the lack of another manager influence his? Now you know from his sick bed Conte would have micromanaged this with his number 2. But without Conte prowling the touchline the team seemed… happier, livelier. Though still, playing the counter, with only a third of the ball, they looked more attacking.
Though the eulogies for Emerson Royal, weren’t half a bit overboard. Yes, he didn’t cough up a penalty, though close, didn’t put the ball in his own net and generally defended decently against Grealish who really wasn’t offering much bar falling over. But he still butchered far too many forward moves.
Romero was that man shown the red card, it was a surprise he lasted as long as he did after that first yellow, just 25 minutes in. Which was… well… wild shall we say. Crazy, you could add. Grealish made sure there was contact, it’s funny how Bale used to be tagged as a diver when he was clipped at speed and couldn’t keep his feet, while nothing for certain players who make sure they go down.
How much more money will Pep need to spend to get that first goal at a Spurs stadium?