Five things Manchester City’s epic UCL clash with Tottenham Hotspur taught us


In one of possibly, the best matches of the modern Champions League era Manchester City beat Tottenham Hotspur 4-3 though went out on away goals to Mauricio Pochettino’s men.

Here are five things you can take away from the historical match:

1 – VAR still causes controversy

Despite it being the answer to all of our refereeing problems, VAR still remains a mile off what it needs to be for the technology to be successful. However, it is mainly correct; the first decision was 100% fine whilst the second is a lot harder to justify.

As in the first situation the ball did hit Fernando Llorente on the knee though at a fast glance I would admit I thought it looked like a handball. It’s much harder to say what the correct call would be on the second major chance, that being Sergio Aguero being ruled as offside after Christian Eriksen played the ball off a City player.

That lead to the Argentine slipping in Raheem Sterling who’d scored twice already and he beat Hugo Lloris following a deflection, which sent the Etihad into raptures. Personally, I would say that the decision made by VAR was wrong as Eriksen played the ball onto Bernando Silva that is not City’s fault and no one could have known it would go to Aguero.

Many could argue that this moment has robbed the Manchester side a place in the final four of the Champions League but it also backs up an argument that many fans still use to oppose VAR. That is this new advancement in football zaps out the passion and thrill you get from mistakes being made from the referee which in a way is true.

2 – Heung-Min Son is a more than suitable replacement for Harry Kane

Tottenham have had a problem since Harry Kane burst onto the scene for the Lilywhites, as to how to replace the Englishman when the 25-year-old is out injured.

In the past, the solution was striker Fernando Llorente who joined from Swansea and has played in Spain for Athletic Bilbao and Sevilla while also having a stint at Juventus. His goal tally in his career isn’t great though and before playing City he had only scored 12 in 58 appearances.

Since last season South Korean winger turned occasional striker Heung-Min Son has been more than reliable and has stepped out of the large shadow cast by Kane when he is injured. Including this match which Son scored two in, the four-time Best Footballer in Asia has netted 38 times in the last two campaigns.

This season has seen Son really spread his wings and do much more damage in a free role that has seen him score 20 goals, just four behind Kane, who has struggled with injuries throughout the campaign . Even though 25-year-old Kane has still quite a number of goals more than his team-mates, Tottenham could use the money gained from selling Kane to find a replacement for their winger and still have money left over.

If as the rumours are true that teams are circling for the World Cup Golden Boot winner then they need not worry anymore as losing Kane may not be as big a hit as it would have been in the past. Though the likelihood of this ever happening is low.

3 – Should the three goals conceded worry City fans

Manchester City fans should forget the flashbacks they are getting to the VAR decision ruling Sterling’s goal offside and should be more worried that their side conceded three. Or should they?

This, however, shouldn’t be a problem though as under Pep Guardiola the blue side of Manchester have conceded three or more goals just 11 times in the Spaniard’s 169 game reign over the English side. The result has twice in a row been what knocked the current Premier League champions out of the Champions League but other than that it hasn’t affected the team.

The Citizens have only lost six times this season an impressive feat as they aim for yet another Premier League title. Though you will be surprised to hear that they have conceded three goals twice this season, once in this match and another versus Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace.

Going into that match the then second-placed side had lost twice, once in Europe and the other to Chelsea, this 3-2 loss to Crystal Palace though at the time seemed to have huge ramifications. The loss actually put Liverpool four points clear at the top and since the loss, City have lost three more times which includes two in the league.

As it stands at the top of the Premier League is the blue side of Manchester, they are top by one point though Liverpool do still have to play. City will then have a game in hand though they will still have to face Manchester United in what could be a title decider.

4 – Is this Tottenham’s year for a major trophy?

There is something big coming for Tottenham whether that’s another title race or this year’s Champions League glory, it’s hard to tell. The fact that Mauricio Pochettino was the only manager of a major side in the summer not to have made an incoming transfer makes this even more brilliant.

After beating City, Spurs will now have to play a side that are similar in many ways than one in Ajax. Like the English side, they are fun to watch and are great on the break, while like the Dutch side there has always been a worry that their squad is a science project and going to get pulled apart and sold on for profit.

With only Liverpool or Barcelona in the way, Tottenham could finally win a trophy that so many members of their squad deserve. Last time Spurs reached the semi-finals of the Champions League was back in 1962 when Bill Nicholson was manager, that campaign ending with a 4-3 loss over two legs to SL Benfica.

Last time Tottenham won a trophy was in 2008 when they beat Chelsea after extra-time winning 2-1 at Wembley Stadium. The closest this bunch of players have come under Pochettino is reaching the EFL Cup final in the 2014/2015 season where they lost 2-0 to Chelsea. Since that time, they have lost twice in the FA Cup semi-finals while they lost on penalties to Chelsea at the same stage in this season’s Carabao Cup.

Let’s not forget that Spurs did draw with Barcelona this season, at the Camp Nou which isn’t something that many English sides do. If they were to play Liverpool, they could struggle after already losing twice this season to the Premier League side. Since the arrival of their Argentine manager, Tottenham have only beaten Jurgen Klopp’s men once in ten games.

5 – Will this defeat even affect City at all in their bid for the treble?

If you were Guardiola would you worry about losing the first leg of their tie with Spurs, No! That is because if you are the Spaniard you are confident that your side will fight back and play much better in the second which they did.

Had it not been for that VAR decision then may would be lauding City as one the great side on their way to an unprecedented quadruple. But they are not because of a decision against them, the Manchester-based club gave it there all and based off that performance should have been in the semi-finals of the Champions League.

Considering they have bounced back straight away beating Tottenham in a repeat of the fixture played in Europe, City will still feel they are in a strong position to record a famous treble.

As mentioned before the hardest test for the current holders of the Carabao Cup is Manchester United. That Manchester Derby is sure to be decide the fate of title with normal rivals Liverpool sure to be supporting the red half of Manchester.

Should Pep Guardiola inspire his side to their final five games, four in the Premier League and an FA Cup final, the Spaniard would have added another two trophies to the ever-expanding City trophy cabinet.


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News writer for Prost International, I get out to games but mainly cover EFL and women's football. Found here:

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