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Five Things Learned: Tottenham 0-2 Manchester City (Premier League)



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Manchester City took a decisive step towards the Premier League title with a vital win away to Tottenham Hotspur.

With just two games remaining of the season for Pep Guardiola’s team, it was imperative that the team in Sky Blue took all three points on offer at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Locked in a relentless title race with challengers Arsenal, City could not afford to make any mistakes in north London on Tuesday night.

After a lively start, Phil Foden was denied magnificently by Spurs keeper Guglielmo Vicario with his outstretched right arm.

Manchester City pushed and pushed but could not find the crucial goal to fire them into a well-deserved lead so the sides went into the break locked together.

The stalemate was broken however after Bernardo Silva and Kevin De Bruyne combined to provide Erling Haaland with a tap in early into the second-half.

Maintaining their lead, the Premier League champions battled against Spurs’ varying attacks to ensure the backline was no breached.

An injury to goalkeeper Ederson meant substitutions had to be made with Stefan Ortega coming on to man the Manchester City barricade.

The German keeper came in clutch when Heung Min Son raced through one-on-one only for the City man to make a crucial save with his leg.

Tensions continued to rise until glorious relief was handed to the away end and some parts of the home support as the visitors were awarded a peanlty. Jeremy Doku was felled in the box after a dazzling Foden pass, meaning Haaland had the chance to put the result beyond doubt.

The Norwegian coolly converted from the spot, sending Vicario the wrong way and the travelling City fans into delirium.

After 100 minutes played, the referee brought proceedings to an end and the Cityzens celebrated what could prove to be a very famous win come next week.

Here are five things we learned from City’s crucial midweek victory.

Title race regulars

Some things in football you can almost take for granted and one of those is Manchester City’s elite mentality at the backend of the season.

Yet some fans did not take this for granted heading into Tuesday evening’s key clash with Tottenham Hotspur.

Rightly so given City’s previous poor record at the ground but the Blues’ mentality once again proved most important as they masterminded an imperative victory.

Now unbeaten in 34 straight matches, the Manchester City are storming towards a fourth consecutive league title and their end-of-campaign form is a huge part of that.

Curse over?

It is no secret amongst Manchester City fans or fans of English football that the Premier League champions have struggled at Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium.

Having lost all previous Premier League matches at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, City arrived on Tuesday without even a goal to their name in the league.

The boys in blue dug in with a confident performance to ensure the goals went in and the points came home.

This was a show of maturity which City had not yet shown in their usual annual loss at the ground, showing that the Spurs away curse has finally ended for Pep Guardiola’s side.

Erling Haaland big game player

Much has been made of whether or not Erling Haaland is a quote-on-quote “big game player” with the striker often failing to score when it mattered this season.

Yet arguably in City’s most important game of the season yet, the Norwegian stepped up to break the deadlock for Pep Guardiola’s men.

It was not the most stylish of goals but its importance cannot be understated and it was no fluke either with Haaland bagging seven goals in his last four league games.

As if that was not enough, he then stepped up to double the lead with a high-pressure penalty late on in the game.

If City do go on to claim the title on Sunday, the young Norwegian’s end-of-season form has been a big factor in that surge to silverware.

Glorious goalkeeping

Ederson was imperious as usual when called upon in the crucial game but one unexpected hero showed off his goalkeeping skills in London.

When the Brazilian shot-stopper picked up a head injury in the second-half, it fell to back-up keeper Stefan Ortega to come on and maintain the clean sheet.

The German entered the field and immediately started to put in a man-of-the-match performance with stupendous saves from Tottenham’s attackers.

Such saves will be remembered for quite some time given they came in such a pressured match and time of the season.

Every member of the squad have played their part this year and Ortega’s heroics were a true testament to that season-long group effort.

Sublime substitutions

Much has been made about the performances by Manchester City on the pitch but special credit should also be reserved for those off of it.

Pep Guardiola made some inspired substitutions during the game to change the tide of the match and secure the win.

His hand may have been forced by the injury to Ederson but Ortega’s introduction was so very important to City’s special win on Tuesday.

Jeremy Doku’s cameo helped win the penalty which secured the victory with the young Belgian winger bringing much-needed creativity to the pitch just as legs were starting to tire.

Guardiola got it right with his changes and that should be commended just as much as the players’ masterclass on the field.