Today though, they had a chance to boost morale in the team and the fans alike, with a game against an out of form Manchester City. The abundance of quality in the City squad was overshadowed by the controversy around the future of manager Manuel Pellegrini, whose position came into question as city dropped a number of points which gave Chelsea the edge they needed to win the league. Pochettino and his team would be hopeful that they could capitalise on City’s drop in form, in one last push to secure as many of their remaining points as possible.
The game started in Tottenham’s favour, with Nacer Chadli and Nabil Bentaleb dominating and harassing City’s defence on numerous occasions. This didn’t produce any goals, but lead to a number of corners, which Spurs were meeting, but not quite on target; the most noticeable chance coming from Eric Dier early on. This energetic start from Tottenham took City of guard, and Spurs were allowed to dominate play for a worrying amount of time for City, and the chances kept on coming. Tottenham had a plethora of opportunities to take the lead, and the first twenty minutes were completely in their favour. However, poor decision making from Ryan Mason meant that Aguero and Silva could engineer a fantastic move in order to put Aguero through. The Argentine took his opportunity and managed to beat Hugo Lloris at his near post. City took advantage of their opening goal, and from that point on they were the better of the two teams. This didn’t stop Tottenham from playing their positive football from the opening minutes, but it wasn’t enough to equalise, and the first half ended in City’s favour.
The second half was a complete turnaround, and Tottenham’s foothold in the game depleted as each second went by. City came out in the second half a different team, and it took Tottenham off guard. A poor performance from Ryan Mason had fans expecting Pochettino to substitute the England midfielder swiftly to try and regain some dominance in the middle of the park. However, the substation looked more and more unlikely to materialise. And in a confusing turn of events, manager Mauricio Pochettino made some confusing tactical changes. Fifty nine minutes in, midfield maestro Christian Eriksen was taken off for flop Roberto Soldado, which took away from any creative spark that Spurs had left from the first half. As the game got more and more frustrating, the substitution that was needed finally came, and Mason left the field for the controversial Paulinho. His introduction settled Spurs down, but the lack of creativity from the removed Eriksen meant that Spurs were increasingly more frustrated. But this feeling was amplified when Nacer Chadli was taken out of play after a fantastic first half, for the disgruntled Emmanuel Adebayor, which was the final nail in the coffin for Tottenham. Pochettino switched the team to play route one, which had the fans livid with the increased amount of missed opportunities from the three man strike team.
The second half ended as it began, and Tottenham fans were left disappointed once again after a fantastic first half. Pochettino must go into the next game with a clean slate in order to win back the progressively angry fans. This capitulation has summed up Tottenham’s mixed league campaign, but the take away from both this game and the entire season are the same, there is still a lot of work to be done.