Sunday, August 28, 2011

P.L. 2011 2012 Tottenham Manchester City

Sunday 28 August 2011
White Hart Lane,
London

Their first two games had already been won and an upbeat tone established for the season ahead but Manchester City's true statement of intent was delivered here. To beat Swansea and Bolton is one thing but to dismantle, even humiliate, Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane is quite another. This expensively assembled team is already capable of appearing untouchable. A first league victory in this corner of north London in 20 years returned City to the top of the formative Premier League table but it was the manner of their success that will reverberate through the division. This club already felt comfortable enough in their strength in depth to loan Emmanuel Adebayor to Spurs, the team who had denied City a place in the Champions League 15 months ago. This was why.
Edin Dzeko, a player now settled and assured in this company, plundered four gloriously constructed goals here, the last stunningly executed from distance, while Samir Nasri, Sergio Agüero and David Silva revelled in a fluid forward line. For a team so often criticised as being overly cautious, this was scintillating – the handbrake not so much released as ripped out and flung out of the vehicle altogether. Tottenham, denied a fit natural defensive midfielder at the start, never asserted any authority on the contest. The half-chances created early by the hosts were deceptive. Their only reward, a Younes Kaboul header from Rafael van der Vaart's corner, came once the visitors had scored four times and the game was beyond them. City's effervescence had been startling. Nasri dazzled on his debut, tapping into his new team-mates' approach after only a handful of training sessions to acclimatise and displaying form that would have puzzled Arsenal fans given his impact for them since the turn of the year. He would have been used to reading the galloping Gaël Clichy's intent but, having exchanged passes with his former club-mate at the Emirates just after the half hour, he swapped possession with Agüero and glided into space. The cross, when it came, was sublime and volleyed in emphatically by Dzeko.

The Bosnian's start to the season has reflected that of his team. The awkward form that had nullified his impact upon his £27m arrival from Wolfsburg in January is no more. The power mustered to leap, lean back and convert another Nasri cross beyond Brad Friedel four minutes from half-time was breath-taking. Spurs had just mustered their best opportunity when Gareth Bale's cross was headed wide by a diving Peter Crouch but the concession made their pursuit feel hopeless. The England striker was subjected to abuse from fans seated near the tunnel at the break as frustration boiled over. This was no way for Spurs to convince Luka Modric, on his first appearance of the season despite Chelsea's interest, that his future should remain at this club. Their afternoon did not improve as City sliced through the home ranks at ease to maintain their momentum and thrust themselves further ahead. Yaya Touré's low centre was tapped in by Dzeko to complete the hat-trick with Agüero relishing his own reward on the hour-mark by moving clear of Michael Dawson and finishing from an unkind angle. Friedel might have done better there but he had been exposed too often. Dzeko's fourth, curled in from distance, merely underlined City's complete dominance. Their challengers should beware.(The Guardian)


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