Analysis of the goals conceded against Manchester City (28/8)
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READER ALERT: This may make for painful reading.
Dzeko’s first goal – Nasri’s one-two with Aguero creates a good angle for the cross, and he delivers a superb ball for Dzeko to prod home.
The ball is moved wide to Nasri – Lennon works hard to get close to him. Modric is too high up the pitch to affect City’s progress – the lack of holding player is vital here.
Nasri carries the ball forward as our players look to get back into a meaningful defensive position.
Nasri whips in a fantastic cross, but Dzeko’s movement is the key. He runs to the near post to meet the ball. It’s not really possible to see this from the picture, but if you watch the video, note Kaboul’s bizarre defending. He doesn’t read the one-two at all, and almost gives up on defending, thinking that the ball is going to go back out towards the edge of the box. This split-second lapse is what allows Dzeko to beat him to the flight of the ball.
Dzeko’s second goal – a classic counter-attack from City, who “gang up” down our right. Eventually Nasri finds Dzeko with another excellent cross, and the header is exquisite.
Kaboul doesn’t even get off the ground – it’s awful, flat-footed defending, as he leaves Dzeko to head the ball virtually unchallenged. That said, this is not an easy header – back to goal, and twisting mid-air – but he makes it look easy.
Dzeko’s third goal – Spurs fail to re-organise having conceded a corner, and pay the price when Yaya Toure gets round the back to put the ball on a plate for Dzeko.
Yaya Toure cleverly makes an overlapping run, and Modric makes a token gesture to back up Assou-Ekotto. However, the lack of pressure on the ball means that Aguero can just wait for his moment and pop it down the line. Modric points for Assou-Ekotto to go with Yaya, but it is too late. Notice at this point that our defenders have a man each in the box – Corluka has David Silva, Dawson has Dzeko and Kaboul has Lescott (sort of!).
As Yaya charges towards goal, he has options – he can cut the ball back to Lescott, or he can play across the face of goal. David Silva’s movement in the six-yard box has bamboozled Corluka, who has no hope of marking him now. As a result, Dawson is left with two men to mark.
Aguero’s goal – Nasri finds Aguero, who is one-on-one with Dawson. He drops his shoulder, beats Dawson, and then beats Friedel too.
Dzeko’s fourth goal – After some patient approach play, City suddenly burst into life, and Dzeko plays a give-and-go with Barry before smashing an unbeatable shot into the top corner.
A hugely disappointing result but, as many other bloggers have pointed out, the game was essentially lost before kick off. Redknapp’s team selection was bizarre, with no holding players selected in a game where City were deploying three of the finest attacking midfield players in the Premier League. Nasri, Silva and Aguero were afforded a ridiculous amount of space between our defence and midfield, and were able to supply Dzeko with ease.
In response, Spurs were toothless in front of goal, with Bale and Crouch missing good chances. Crouch put in a fairly typical shift – unable to lead the line effectively, and bullied by Man City’s strong centre-backs. Defoe came on and added a little bit more purpose, but the game was over at that point.