Tottenham Hotspur left the Etihad Stadium with all three points against Manchester City thanks to an expert display in counter attacking football.
They took the lead twice through Dejan Kulusevski and Harry Kane before being pegged back by Ilkay Gundogan and a stoppage time penalty from Riyad Mahrez.
Will Spurs make the top four?
The England captain stepped up even later in stoppage time to bag his brace and deliver three points to Antonio Conte who ended his run of three straight defeats as Spurs boss.
Alasdair Gold was keen to praise the defence who put in a long shift to keep the City machine at bay as much as possible, praising Ben Davies in his match ratings: “Played a quick and precise ball into the path of Kane in the build-up to Spurs’ early goal. Made a superb block to deny Foden in the first half and played a superb crossfield ball to Kulusevski in the build-up to the ‘goal’ ruled out by VAR. Made many defensive clearances and tackles. One of his best games in a Spurs shirt.”
It’s clear to see that Conte needed a resolute defensive performance to execute the counter attacking plan he had. Gold clearly feels that Davies was a key component of that. He gave him a 9/10 in his match ratings, with only Harry Kane ranking higher.
Davies, who has moved to the left-hand side of a three at the back has already received praise from Conte this season for his adaptation to the role. He’s often the ‘unsung’ hero at Spurs, with the Spurs boss saying back in December: “Ben (Davies) is playing very well and I think that role specifically I can get out the best of him. It happens the same with Azpilicueta. On the three central defenders it’s important to be good defensively but it’s important to play with the football.
“When you find a team that is defending low and also to play, it’s very important in this system. I need a player who has that personality and ability. We are talking a really good person, a really good guy. He’s really focused and he’s playing very well.”
Spurs are now firmly back in the race for the top four, with games in hand enough to see them reach 5th place at a minimum, they’re four points off fourth with two games in hand but are reliant on an Arsenal slip up to move into the top four.
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