Tottenham 0 Man City 1: Three talking points
Three talking points as Manchester City edge to victory over Tottenham at White Hart Lane
Man City need to look at their stock before they can look forward
As Chelsea claim the title, the powers that be at Manchester City will be looking back to the time five months ago when their side drew level atop the league with the eventually winners and contemplating where their wheels fell off. Unless there is a significant goal swing in the final three matches, the Citizens are more or less guaranteed to finish in the top four but is this enough for the Emirati owners after apparent capitulation in the Champions League (again) and in the Premier League, especially after last season’s success. Questions and speculation will reign supreme over the futures of certain figures within the City fold – in honesty, it has already started. The conundrum must be for Manuel Pellegrini is how did his team get themselves into this mess. The team boasts the division’s top goalscorer in Sergio Aguero and he is just one of City’s cavalcade of brilliance. Too many people, however, have underperformed. Vincent Kompany has been far less influential as in previous campaigns and Yaya Toure looks a mere spectre to what he was when he first joined. Worse still, none of the summer signings have been good enough. Assuming the Chilean Pellegrini remains at the helm, he needs to find out which players are ready for the fight next season to wrestle the title back from west London and which would rather sit this one out.
Pochettino needs to find another option to compliment Kane
While Spurs boast the fact that three of their players – Messrs Kane, Chadli and Eriksen – have made it into double figures in terms of Premier League goals this season, the foils for Harry Kane – Roberto Soldado and Emmanuel Adebayor – have amassed a paltry three goals between them. While some may argue Kane has been nigh impossible to drop given his ascent to the top of the Premier League scoring charts, what happens when the young Englishman does not hit the back of the net, as was the case against Manchester City. This is where Maurico Pochettino must focus his summer spending – a new striker to compliment Kane or offer an alternative option. This will be all the more vital next season when Kane loses his aspect of the unknown and teams work out how to combat his game. For Adebayor and Soldado, one would assume that their days in north London are numbered.
Dier and Mangala (£32m) show the lottery of buying players from Portuguese football
The talent pool that is Portuguese football has attracted the hordes of Premier League scouts since the ‘Golden Generation’ of Luis Figo, Rui Costa and Abel Xavier. For every Cristiano Ronaldo and Ricardo Carvalho, there is a Helder Postiga and a Bebe, but this is no different to other European leagues one could argue. At the start of the season, two defenders made the trip from the Iberian Peninsula with differing levels of success. Eric Dier returned to England after leaving for Portugal as child, where he eventually progressed into the set-up at Sporting Lisbon. Heralded as one of the England’s top talents for the future, as shown by his involvement Umbro’s England advertising campaign in the hope he would elect to play for his birth nation rather than his adopted, his £4million transfer has shown to be one of Spurs’ shrewdest acquisitions. A centre-back by trade, he has taken to filling in at right-back relatively well given Kyle Walker’s frequent convalescence. Furthermore, Dier also strengthens the argument that young English talent should not be afraid of plying their trade abroad, away from the comforts of home. Against Southampton the previous week, both goals came from the right-hand side and he was directly involved. All in all, a success from the Primera Liga. At the other end of the scale, Manchester City, impinged by the rigours of Financial Fair Play, made the decision to sign the highly-rated French defender Eliaqium Mangala from Porto for just shy of £32million – eight times more than Spurs paid for Dier. Naturally it takes time for foreign imports to settle into the English game but when you command such a hefty price tag – it is only right that performances would mirror the money stumped up. Sure, it could be argued that Manuel Pellegrini opted for Mangala to play alongside Vincent Kompany, who has been sidelined by injury, to adjust to the British game. His next season at the Etihad will be crucial as at the moment, it appears the Porto finance department are laughing all the way to the bank. The issue remains that managers live and die by the signings. Some work out, some do not and that’s just part of the footballing world. However, with frequent tales of woe, the idea remains strong that Portuguese football is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get.