Manchester City claimed their fourth League Cup win in a row, whilst more heartache sees Tottenham Hotspur going backwards after failing to win their first piece of silverware in 13 years following a performance lacking in energy and class.
13 Years of Hurt Continue With Tottenham Hotspur Going Backwards
The now-departed Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho was heavily criticised for his team being overly negative. However, that remained to be the theme in the first half, as City dominated with nine shots to Tottenham’s one. Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling both fired wide, and the impressive Phil Foden should have put City ahead had his shot not been blocked by Toby Alderweireld and hit the post. Hugo Lloris had to be alert to push a Joao Cancelo shot wide and somehow Spurs made it to half time with the game goalless.
Sergio Reguilon, Eric Dier and Serge Aurier were all guilty of losing the ball countless times, with Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg constantly having to act as a fifth defender and the rest of the midfield in Harry Winks and Giovani Lo Celso non-existent. Harry Kane and Son Heung-min were just as anonymous in attack.
Aymeric Laporte Controversy
The winner came from Aymeric Laporte, who arguably should not have been on the pitch after two fouls in the first half that would have been two yellow cards in any other game. Referee Paul Tierney was officiating his first cup final, and on this performance, it might be some time before he takes another final. He failed to take responsibility for the big decisions, but that did not change the fact City were by far the better team.
Tottenham Have Gone Backwards
Under Mauricio Pochettino, Spurs became top four and Champions League regulars. But when the Argentine cried out for a painful rebuild, it never came. Daniel Levy is known for being prudent and making sure the club is financially stable, but the failure to back one of the best managers he had in twenty years is now coming back to bite him hard.
Spurs can still qualify for the Champions League via the Premier League, but they are five points behind Chelsea, and it looks a very big ask in reality.
Interim manager Ryan Mason is unlikely to get the job full time, and the task Levy has is his to convince any potential new manager that they will have the backing to bring back success to the North London club.
This is a huge crossroads for Tottenham, and it is a time when once again there is a case of what might have been. The club motto of ‘To Dare is To Do’ seems to be more a case of less dare and more do not.
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