Bergwijn scores on debut as Guardiola concedes title to Reds following another loss

By Soccer Blog | Feb 3, 2020

Steven Bergwijn scored on his Tottenham Hotspur debut as Jose Mourinho’s side upset Manchester City at home. Like the reverse fixture at the Etihad earlier this season, this was a game that City dominated everywhere but on the scoreboard. Spurs’ 2-0 victory means that the Citizens have now gone two games without scoring for the first time in the Pep Guardiola era, and the Spanish gaffer admitted that the title was all but Liverpool’s following this latest setback that leaves them 22 points behind the league leaders.

The game wasn’t short on drama- there was plenty of it, and perhaps fitting that it was the final league fixture of the weekend. Leicester v Chelsea, United v Wolves and Liverpool v Saints were all promising games on paper, but this was arguably the pick of the lot- a renewing of the rivalry between Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola.

City were utterly dominant in the first half, and only some profligate finishing prevented them from taking the lead. They could’ve had a man sent off early in the game, but VAR ruled that Raheem Sterling’s challenge on Dele Alli was only worthy of a yellow, and not a red. In the 36th minute, referee Mike Dean waved off City shouts for a penalty after Serge Aurier’s clumsy challenge on Sergio Aguero, but had to reverse his decision after another VAR intervention. Lloris saved the resulting penalty, but Sterling tumbled as the Spurs No.1 dove to regain the ball. VAR was again called into action, and it ruled in favour of Spurs this time, but the Lilywhites were still furious as they thought the non-awarding of the spot kick meant that Sterling had dived, which meant he would’ve been off the pitch had Dean seen it fit to issue him another yellow.

This was the 23rd meeting between Mourinho and Guardiola, and while the latter has dominated with 11 wins, Mourinho has a habit of picking up wins as an underdog- an example being his victories with Inter and now Spurs. The race for the top four remains tense, and be sure to read this article if you fancy a punt on Jose getting Tottenham to finish ahead of his old club Man Utd as well as their bitter rivals Arsenal.

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City continued to pound away, but Spurs, through a mix of individual brilliance and some good fortune, stayed level. Ilkay Gundogan missed an open goal and even Sergio Aguero was not his usual self, squandering a host of chances that he would have put away on another day. The turning point of the game came on the hour mark, when Zinchenko needlessly elbowed Harry Winks as Spurs were about to break on the counter. It saw the Ukrainian sent off, and with City down to ten, Spurs seized control.

Bergwijn, who had worked tirelessly, showed why Spurs had bought him from the Eredivisie, controlling the ball with his chest before unleashing a fine volley into the bottom corner, thus netting with the first shot of his Spurs career. Seven minutes later, a sumptous defence splitting pass from Tanguy Ndombele found Heung-Min Son in space, and the South Korean made it 2-0 with another precise finish.

The xG scores at the end told the story- Spurs, with two goals, had a xG of 0.42, while City, with none to their name, finished with 3.23, meaning that this fixture should logically have seen Pep Guardiola’s side win 3 goals to nil. But it didn’t, and they now have to shift their focus to the Champions League, where they were dumped out by this same Spurs side at the quarterfinal stage last season.

Man City player ratings vs Spurs

City 1

City 2

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