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Man City vs Tottenham: Spurs set up and De Bruyne's delivery

It's fair to say the last-minute VAR call overshadowed Manchester City and Tottenham's 2-2 draw o...

Raf Diallo
Raf Diallo

16:25 19 Aug 2019



Man City vs Tottenham: Spurs s...
Soccer

Man City vs Tottenham: Spurs set up and De Bruyne's delivery

Raf Diallo
Raf Diallo

16:25 19 Aug 2019

It's fair to say the last-minute VAR call overshadowed Manchester City and Tottenham's 2-2 draw on Saturday evening.

What has sometimes got lost in the mayhem, is that VAR is not the problem. The new handball rules are, throwing common sense out the window. VAR just highlights the issue as it did in the weekend's big Premier League game.

But leaving the last minute mayhem to the side, Tottenham didn't exactly do a brilliant job of stopping Man City. It's obviously easier said and done, of course, given City's qualities.

Shape

One Spurs goal came from Erik Lamela's run down the middle and a speculative strike from range. The second saw Lucas Moura head in a corner. From open play, Tottenham created very little, apart from a short spell after their first goal.

But how did they go about setting up defensively in the first half? Nominally, Mauricio Pochettino set up in a 4-3-3. Christian Eriksen took up the left side but appeared to be tucked in, given he is more comfortable operating centrally.

Sky Sports' highlights of the game:


You would think that would leave Kyle Walker space to run into. But he didn't get to the byline very often. However, City's right side was the undoing of Spurs. We'll get to Kevin De Bruyne though.

Interestingly, Tottenham defended relatively narrow but surprisingly more on their right side. It was an interesting move given that Raheem Sterling offers more direct pace and width than Bernardo Silva on the other side.

Right Side

Either way, Sterling troubled the youthful Kyle Walker-Peters whenever passes were passed out to that flank. However, as much as City threatened down that avenue, that's not how the goals came, although that space was relevant for the finishers.

If you watch the Sky Sports' highlights above, both goals come from the City right. On both occasions, Silva lays the ball off for De Bruyne to cross. They are two different sorts of lay-offs and though and crossing placement was varied.

For the first, Silva played it short for a lurking De Bruyne to whip in from deep towards Sterling at the far post. Watch the yawning gap between Sterling and Walker-Peters before Silva lays it off to De Bruyne. Indeed, Ilkay Gundogan is also free in the space just inside the England winger.

De Bruyne's delivery was so pinpoint and Walker-Peters'marking so lax that Sterling had time and space to run at it and guide it into the far corner of the net.

And for the second, it was played into space for De Bruyne to run onto before linking up with Sergio Aguero's near-post run. Even if Aguero hadn't connected with it, Sterling was lurking behind Walker-Peters and ready to pounce in case the defender made an error. On a third occasion, De Bruyne almost got a third assist but Ilkay Gundogan just fired wide on the run.

What the goals show are the variety of creators in the team. De Bruyne is by no means a wide-man but bloody hell, he can whip in a mean ball!

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Read more about

Bernardo Silva Football Kevin De Bruyne Kyle Walker-Peters Manchester City Premier League Tottenham VAR

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