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.