Spurs suffer Man City rout after Danny Rose sees red
21:58 29 January 2014
Premier League: Tottenham 1 Manchester City 5
Tottenham saw their top four aspirations dealt a devastating blow as Manchester City thumped five past them.
The last time Tottenham conceded that many at White Hart Lane, Andre Villas-Boas was sacked. It’s too early for that to happen to successor Tim Sherwood but, after an unbeaten seven-game honeymoon period in the Premier League, the new head coach was given a unforgiving lesson in just how far his side are from securing a top four berth.
A red card for Danny Rose early in the second half was a controversial decision which will be looked on as the moment that killed the game, but the defender’s departure and the subsequent penalty from Yaya Toure – the first of four second half goals – masked over the simple fact that Manchester City are on a different planet to Spurs right now, as the 11 goals they’ve fired past the north Londoners this will attest.
Early on, Sergio Aguero netted his 50th goal in 81 Premier League outings - the fifth fastest in history - after numerous warnings for the home side. But Spurs were simply powerless to stop the incisive football that City opened the contest with.
If they closed down, the visitors made them dizzy with one-touch passing. If they stood off then the Manchester side’s tricky practitioners eagerly accepted the invitation to advance, and that’s how David Silva provided the opener, though it still required a deft finish from City’s leading marksman, who has now scored in eight games in a row.
They threatened a hatful but the half time lead, which stood at just the one solitary goal, flattered the hosts. So when the visitors added two more in quick-fire fashion after the break, however harsh the second was, it became an operation of damage limitation and whether they could admirably prevent City’s regular four-goal haul with a numerical disadvantage. They couldn’t.
Yes, Tottenham showed spirit but were hardly going to hold out for the best part of 40 minutes where better teams, with a full complement, had failed to keep Manuel Pellegrino’s men at bay.
And though Etienne Capoue pulled one back, Stevan Jovetic and Vincent Kompany completed a rout that had looked on the cards from the opening stages anyway.
While Manchester City look every bit Premier League champions elect, the prognosis for Spurs’ Champions League qualification – in the face of Liverpool’s free-scoring bid and Manchester United’s undoubted boost following the signing of Juan Mata – leaves them looking like also rans once more.
Sherwood made just one change to his side as Gylfi Sigurdsson replaced Nacer Chadli, while Lewis Holtby and Capoue were included on the bench despite being heavily linked with a move before Friday’s transfer deadline.
Alvaro Negredo was named amongst the substitutes as Manchester City made six changes from their FA Cup win over Watford with Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta, Kompany, Gael Clichy, Fernandinho and Silva all named in the visitors’ starting line-up.
The latter was at the heart of their lightning start and after a long period of slick passing Aguero hit the Spurs post and then nearly wriggled in on goal moments later.
The Argentine then turned support act for strike partner Edin Dzeko as a sharp one-two exposed the hosts while the Bosnian left Kyle Walker on the seat of his pants and should have done better than to blaze over the bar.
But Spurs did not heed the early warning signs and Silva was afforded a criminal amount of space, midway in home territory, to pick out a perfectly weighted through-ball that needed a one-touch dink from Aguero. The floodgates looked fit to burst.
Walker was the centre point of Tottenham’s crumbling foundations and he failed to cover himself in glory again when Clichy nipped to the byline and picked out Aguero for what looked like a second until Hugo Lloris palmed his header away just when the forward was about to start celebrating.
The diminutive City striker was less accurate with a rasping volley seconds later, but only just, so the fact that Spurs made it to the half hour mark just one goal down was a small mercy.
They did have the ball in the net soon after only to have it immediately chalked off after Michael Dawson steered a questionable Christian Eriksen free-kick in. The decision was correct, though not for the reason the linesman gave as he spoke to TV broadcasters when disappearing up the tunnel at half time, confirming he’d flagged the home captain for offside when, in fact, it was Emmanuel Adebayor.
The early departure of an injured Aguero on the stroke of half time offered Spurs some hope, but any expectations they harboured at the break were extinguished five minutes into the restart when Rose was controversially dismissed.
Challenging Dzeko in the penalty box the full back looked as if he’d taken the ball cleanly just as the striker was about to pull the trigger. Referee Andre Marriner originally awarded a corner but his assistant signalled for a spot-kick and, as the last man, the defender was duly given his marching orders, much to the fury of his team-mates. Toure converted the spot-kick and three minutes later it got worse as Dzeko added a third, pouncing on a poor clearance from Vlad Chiriches after Lloris had tipped Silva’s strike onto the woodwork.
Spurs reduced the deficit just before the hour mark, rather through luck than design, as the ball bounced kindly for Capoue in a penalty box melee and the half time substitute stroked it home.
But City are nothing if not ruthless and Jovetic lashed home his first goal in the Premier League via a deflection before Kompany poked home a fifth.
It will leave Spurs fans hoping that reinforcements can be found before the transfer window shuts on Friday night because, on this evidence, only the Europa League beckons next season at best.
Tottenham: Lloris, Walker, Rose, Chiriches, Lennon, Adebayor, Dembele (Capoue, 45), Dawson, Sigurdsson (Naughton, 54), Eriksen (Holtby, 83), Bentaleb
Unused subs: Friedel, Soldado, Defoe, Chadli
Manchester City: Hart, Kompany, Zabaleta, Dzeko, Navas, Aguero (Jovetic, 44), Silva (Kolarov, 79), Clichy, Fernandinho, Demichelis, Toure (Nastasic, 63)
Unused subs: Pantilimon, Lescott, Negredo, Rodwell,
Referee: Andre Marriner