To complement the poor result away at Aston Villa, I am unhappy to report that the U18’s got comprehensively beaten at Hotspur Way on Saturday. The 4-1 loss extended the teams losing streak to three games on the trot. Here are a few talking points…
It All Started So Well
City took the lead in the second minute through a Charlie Oliver back post header from a Jack Byrne cross. For a few minutes Tottenham were pinned back, feeling the pressure, but two clumsy, avoidable penalties later and the home side were in the lead and comfortably in control.
The Spurs midfield was strong, fast and skilful. They were complemented by a centre back pairing who were willing and able to charge forward. Between a rock and a hard place, the City midfield was often overwhelmed and much of the forward progress they made was snuffed out in short order. This midfield dominance ensured that Tottenham never really looked in danger of losing their lead once it was established.
It was encouraging to see City shifting their attacking focus towards the wings once it became clear that the middle of the pitch was not a happy place for them. Both wingers were fast and tricky and had the beating of the Spurs full backs whenever they ran at them. City’s only chances of note came from the sides, particularly the right. Unfortunately, this approach did not lead to any goals due to the aforementioned Spurs midfield who consistently tracked back and squeezed our strikers off the ball before they could finish.
A good example of more clinical wing play leading to goals was provided by the home side. Their third and fourth goals were both fine examples of getting to the byline and cutting the ball back to be slotted in past the helpless Angus Gunn in goal. It really was lovely football to watch, even if it would have been preferable to see at the other end. In the end, City were a bit lucky not to lose by a greater margin as Spurs also hit the woodwork twice and missed a few sitters across the six yard box.
My ‘one to watch’ from this match. City’s main man in the middle of the park only played for a half, presumably with Wednesday’s game against Bayern Munich in mind, but demonstrated a range of passing and tackling which was unmatched by any of our other players. It wasn’t just that he chased Spurs’ players down to win the ball back, but he looked mean doing it. He got well and truly stuck into the opposition midfielders who were otherwise having quite a bit of fun pushing our lads around at will.
Written by Alex Timperley. Follow him on Twitter.