Manchester City continued their run of excellent results in the English Premier League. In the last game of the 10th round, the Citizens defeated Tottenham Hotspurs on the road. The sole goal was scored by Riyad Mahrez already in the 6th minute of this event.
The two teams didn’t have perfect conditions to play, as Wembley’s turf looked awful. Just one day before this clash, the biggest stadium in England hosted the ruling NFL champions Philadelphia Eagles who faced Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Citizens gained an early lead and silenced most of the Wembley after just six minutes of play. Kiernan Trippier made a bad judgment of one high ball, which eventually finished in Raheem Sterling’s possession. One of the fastest players in the whole of Europe, stormed into the box, made a pass to the other side to Mahrez who routinely executed. It was the fourth goal of the Algerian international in the Premier League this season, fifth in all the competitions. He dedicated this one to Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, Leicester City owner who lost his life in a helicopter crash this Saturday evening. To remind you, Mahrez spent his best years there, where he won the Premiership title back in 2016.
“It is not easy, the boss was very special to me. I spent four-and-a-half years there and I have many special memories with him. He was such a good person, such good human so I am very, very sad.” Mahrez said after the match. “That is why when I scored, I put my hands up in the sky for him. He did a lot for me and for Leicester. It is difficult to speak about it because it is very sad.”
Mahrez had a chance to score once again shortly after, but his effort has been denied by Hugo Lloris who made one superb intervention, preventing the champion to double the lead.
On the other side, Tottenham started to be more aggressive and dangerous, which eventually produced one chance for Harry Kane, who didn’t react in his usual manner, allowing Ederson to save his goal.
City was waiting for a chance to strike from the counter-attack, and that was the pattern they followed in the second 45 minutes. Aguero had two shots toward Lloris, who needed to put a lot of effort into his saves. Meanwhile, Erik Lamela missed the ultimate chance for the Spurs.
Eleven minutes before the end of the regular time, Dele Alli took the ball away from Mahrez after doubling him with Lucas Moura. He quickly moved towards goal, and saw Lamela who was in full speed coming into the box. Alli made a nice low pass and set the perfect position for the Argentinian, who sent the ball high and wide, causing much frustration to Tottenham fans.
Eventually, that was the last opportunity for the hosts to avoid their third defeat this season.
Though many pundits and fans are saying that the state of the pitch affected the overall performance of both teams and that Lamela’s strike was bad because of it, Mauricio Pochettino didn’t agree on that after the game.
“The circumstances of the pitch was the same for both sides,” Pochettino said in a post-match interview, “I think it was a very competitive game. We conceded a goal so early that was so cheap, and football punishes you.”
Meanwhile, Pep Guardiola is sure that the damaged surface prevented Lamela from scoring.
“Today was a little bit exceptional. Lamela had a clear chance, but because of the grass, they didn’t score. If the grass is good, I’m pretty sure he scores with his left foot but the bounce was not good, and that’s what happened.”
One of the best players on the pitch Aymeric Laporte also added that he was a bit stunned with the state of the surface.
“The truth is that we have been a little bit surprised about the state of the pitch.”, and continued, “But the most important thing was to win and that’s what we have done”
The interesting thing is that Manchester City didn’t lose a single Premiership event with the Spaniard in the starting eleven. In 19 matches so far with Laporte in the lineup, they have 17 wins and 2 draws.
Citizens are first in the EPL with 26 points, while Tottenham sits in the fifth place with five points fewer. Up next we have EFL games, and both these teams are involved. The Spurs are facing West Ham at London Stadium on Wednesday, while City awaits Fulham this Thursday.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.