Man City 6 Tottenham 0: Four talking points as Jesus Navas stars
Man City 6 Tottenham 0: Four talking points as Alvaro Negredo and Jesus Navas impress in emphatic Etihad victory
City’s Jekyll and Hyde form continues
In a clash between the league’s most potent attack and meanest defence, something was always going to give. Considering Manchester City’s home record – they have lost just four games in the last three-and-half seasons at The Etihad – it was always likely that it would be Tottenham that came unstuck. Nobody saw a defeat of this margin coming but perhaps we should have. City’s last three games in front of their own crowd have seen them score 18 goals. Spurs were simply the latest victims to be ravaged by this blood-thirsty unit of attacking riches. If they could play like this on the road, they would be shoo-ins for the title. It is inexplicable that they can put in performances like this and then go to Cardiff, Aston Villa and Sunderland and lose. If Manuel Pellegrini can finally put his finger on what is going wrong on their travels then the momentum they can build will see them back in the title race in no time. However, they are still six points off the top so if it is going to happen, it must happen now. There are no prizes for the best goal difference.
AVB must surely come under pressure now
Whoever lost on Sunday was always going to be in the firing line and unfortunately that was Tottenham. They may only be two points off fourth but their lack of cutting edge does nothing to suggest that they will improve on that. Andre Villas Boas has them playing a style of possession football that makes them hard to break down. This was completely taken apart by Hugo Lloris’ early mistake and with Spurs chasing the game within 14 seconds, it is the nil that may worry Villas-Boas more than the six. Despite being unbeaten when they have opened the scoring, in the four games where they have conceded first, they have not even managed a single goal in reply. Their defence unravelling, as it did here and at home to West Ham, is just collateral damage. Fulham have scored more goals and they are in the relegation zone. If that statistic does not improve then he may find his fate is the same as it was at Chelsea two years ago. His current side look as vulnerable, if not more so, than his Stamford Bridge team. Slow and static off the ball, a respectable fifth-place finish last season was largely thanks to the inspiration of Gareth Bale. Without him, Villas Boas is being found out again. There is only so far a successful record in Portugal can carry you.
A tale of two strikers
“They’re two very different types of players,” said Sky Sports’ Alan Smith when describing Alvaro Negredo and Roberto Soldado. On the evidence of the first third of the season, he is absolutely right: one appears to be Premier League quality, the other does not. Negredo is already into double figures for the season as his partnership with Sergio Aguero goes from strength-to-strength. Soldado, meanwhile, is stuck on one league goal from open play. Yet these are two players who were separated by a single La Liga goal in 2012/13. So why has one blossomed while the other has wilted? The simple answer is the teams they are playing in: Negredo fits perfectly with the direct style and quick tempo with which City counter-attack. He has the technical skill to join in the link-up play all over the pitch and the power to get on the end of crosses or through balls. Soldado meanwhile is an out-and-out poacher who thrives off chances in the penalty area – outside of it he is non-existant. There is hardly a team that he could be worse suited to than Tottenham. Their wingers (with the exception of Aaron Lennon) all prefer cutting inside and fashioning chances for themselves. The likes of Andros Townsend, Erik Lamela, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Nacer Chadli simply do not cross the ball enough for Soldado to profit from. Either Tottenham need to buy wingers more comfortable with getting to the by-line, or by a more Negredo-like stiker.
Jesus, wasn’t he good?
Jesus Navas has had a mixed start to life at City. He has put in some good performances such as the one in the Manchester derby but has gone missing for large periods. Today, though, he was absolutely outstanding. There was something symbolic about him scoring in the first minute and the 90th. It encapsulated the fact that from the very start until the very end his pace was all too much for Jan Vertonghen, arguably the Premier League’s best defender this season. Not only was he electric in this respect but he joined in moves as much of the Citizens’ joy came down the right wing. His delivery was outstanding, most notably for Aguero’s first goal. More performances like this and he could go some way to living up to the hype and hefty price tag with which he arrived in England.