Goals from Aguero, Toure, Dzeko, Jovetic and Kompany destroyed Spurs 5-1, with the home team pointing to two awful decisions from the officials as being key.
Below are five lessons/points from the game:
It's hard not to question the official's decisions
Though many teams will have reason to bemoan the officials at various points throughout the season, Tottenham will surely feel especially hard done by against City. Replays showed that Michael Dawson's disallowed goal was wrongly denied for offside, and though assistant referee Scott Ledger would argue he couldn't see Pablo Zabaleta playing the Spurs captain onside, he could have no defence for his flagging of Danny Rose's challenge. With Andre Mariner prepared to play on after what looked like an excellent tackle by the young fullback, Ledger should have only intervened if he was certain of the foul - impossible given that it was in fact a goal saving challenge. To make matters worse, a red card was brandished, and the game was effectively over as a contest. Would these decisions have occurred at Stamford Bridge, the Emirates, or the Etihad? Those will be the questions a furious Tim Sherwood will be asking himself.
This was the sort of game that a defensive midfielder would have been helpful
Spurs coach Les Ferdinand had come out earlier in the week to bemoan the adoption of defensive midfielders in the modern English game. Against City, Spurs set out with Moussa Dembele alongside rookie Nabil Bentaleb, a midfield pairing unable to deal with an impressive David Silva. The Spaniard was often breaking past them both and finding time and space to damage Tottenham. Ironically, it would have been the perfect game to employ Etienne Capoue in place of Bentaleb, with the French international being a much more destructive player than his young compatriot. By the time he took the field the damage was already done, and despite a promising first 10 minutes of the first half, Rose's red meant Tottenham were always destined to be chasing the game.
The capitulation was worryingly similar to the Liverpool game
Tottenham were once again up against a visiting team at the very top of their game, and went into half time one nil down after being second best for the majority of the first half. However, the first few minutes of the second half seemed to offer an opportunity for Spurs to edge back into the game, until the controversial penalty decision. From there the Londoners were again unable to employ any kind of damage limitation, and were pulled all over the place by what was at times a rampant and remorseless City. At 3-1, arguably Capoue's strike gave the side just enough belief to keep them that much more open in the pursuit of the second goal that would have really made the game interesting, but the fact of the matter is, Spurs have been hammered for five goals at home TWICE against top four rivals, something that shouldn't happen even if you go down to ten men.
The result showed the distance between the two teams
At the beginning of the season and with both new look squads settling, many speculated that the two teams were in direct competition for a top four place. Since those early weeks Tottenham have flitted in and around the Champions League spots, experiencing strong results alongside crippling ones, while City have emerged as arguably the league's top side, and undoubtedly the best attacking one. With many of City's signings emerging as successful purchases despite costing less than Tottenham's top two Roberto Soldado and Erik Lamela, the distance between the two is startling, and the Tottenham board will have to question their own decision making in relation to both their summer transfer activity, and their management strategies.
Should Tottenham look to get involved in the transfer window?
Tim Sherwood said after the game that the club shouldn't let the result push them into the transfer market in desperation, but with other sides strengthening, and three of Spurs' summer transfers now firmly out of the first team picture, he has to consider moving some players to bring others in. Whether Tottenham have waited too long to do that effectively and sensibly is the key point question, as, like Sherwood says, desperate transfers are surely not the way forward. However, another left back would still be a sensible addition, as would an alternative for Adebayor upfront, especially in games like this when he struggled to lead the line. Likewise, Tottenham have three or four attacking midfielders that can play behind the striker, none of which are on the same level as their rival's options in that position. If they could swap Sigurdsson, Chadli, Holtby and Lamela for a hint of a player as proven as Juan Mata, they would be making a real statement to the division, but instead, it looks like Spurs have fallen further behind the league leaders despite the money they have spent recently. They needed a Bale replacement, and failed to find one despite Mata, Ozil, and other options coming on to the market. Offering £50 million for either might have edged them into the running for a top class player to replace the one they lost.
image: © Denise&David