Week 35--Manchester City v Spurs: Part 3--City 1-0 Spurs

By David Shams

Manchester City fans didn’t have to wait long to see how their team would respond after being knocked out in the Champions League quarterfinals by Tottenham.

Five minutes in to their game against that same Tottenham side, Phil Foden, given just his second start of the season by City manager Pep Guardiola, nodded home the game’s only goal. Sergio Aguero assisted, off a cross from Bernardo Silva, after heading the ball back across goal to an on rushing Foden.

Saturday was third time in 11 days these two teams met. The first two matchups were a part of the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals. Spurs won that tie, going through on away goals after the teams were level at four goals a piece.

But that Foden goal was where City’s dominance ended. Several flurishes from the North London side left many certain Spurs could at least pull level. Son Heung-Min, Christian Eriksen, and Lucas Moura all missed clear chances on either side of halftime.

City suffered an injury blow with Kevin De Bruyne coming off injured in the 38th minute. It’s unfortunate as he’s had a good run of form lately and was slowly growing into the game.

Referee Michael Oliver turned down a penalty claim from Spurs after Kyle Walker’s forearm struck the ball off a cut back from Dele Alli. It would have likely been harsh as Walker didn’t know much about it. But if this were next season, this would have probably been settled by VAR.

The win put City 1 point ahead of Liverpool at the top of the table before the Merseyside club played in Cardiff on Sunday. City has a game in hand and travels to Old Trafford on Wednesday.

Each club made significant changes to their lineups for Saturday’s match up.

Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino was already without striker Harry Kane, who missed the 2nd leg, due to injury. Hugo Lloris and Moussa Sissoko both picked up a muscle strains on Wednesday and weren’t on the bench for Saturday’s match. Argentine goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga replaced Lloris.

Along the back line, Pochettino went with five at the back. Davinson Sanchez, Juan Foyth, and Ben Davies started, with Kieran Trippier and Danny Rose relegated to the bench. In the midfield, Eric Dier replaced Sissoko, while Victor Wanyama was dropped to the bench in favor of five at the back.

City manager Pep Guardiola kept the same formation, but John Stones and Oleksandr Zichenko both started in favor of Vincent Kompany and Benjamin Mendy, neither of whom made the bench for Saturday’s match. And in the midfield, young starlet Phil Foden replaced David Silva.

David is the founder of DC Soccer Digest. He lives in Washington, DC.

City Keeps Pressure on Liverpool: Crystal Palace 1-3 Manchester City

By Juan Aguerrevere

Earlier this season, Crystal Palace defeated Manchester City 3-2 at the Etihad. But this reverse fixture at Selhurst Park told a different tale.

Pep Guardiola changed to a 4-2-3-1 formation starting captain Vincent Kompany, Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva, Sergio Aguero and Benjamin Mendy who returned from injury. Roy Hodgson stuck with his preferred 4-5-1 formation. Back-up center-back pair Martin Kelly and Scott Dann were introduced due to Mamadou Sakho and James Tomkin's injuries. Wilfred Zaha started in the wing with Christian Benteke starting as a lone striker.

Manchester City dominated the entirety of the match. City's first chance came after Silva, Aguero and De Bruyne linked up and squared the ball to Raheem Sterling who then missed from the 6-yard line. Sterling redeemed himself minutes after by chasing an exquisite through ball from De Bruyne and beating Victor Guaita with a powerful shot. Crystal Palace was happy to go into halftime down by one via Guaita's near-perfect performance.

The second half was a replica of the first performance wise. Sterling claimed his brace seventeen minutes into the half. This time around, he didn’t waste his teammate’s square pass.

The Eagles’ captain, Luka Milivojevic made the game more interesting in the eighty-first minute by scoring a free-kick. The Serbian international now has twelve goals this season; ten penalties, 1 freekick and 1 terrific long shot against Leicester in December.

During injury time, substitute Gabriel Jesus scored the fourth and final goal of this meeting.

Manchester City remains second place by one point with a game in hand behind Liverpool. 

This game marked referee Martin Atkinson's fifteenth-year anniversary serving as a Premier League central referee.

Juan is a senior at the University of Florida. He is an aspiring sports writer, analyst, and commentator.