Columnists, Sports

Tiki-Taka: Five things we learned from Manchester City-Spurs quarterfinal

Son Heung-min in action for Tottenham Hotspurs FC in a game against PFC CSKA Moscow. Son’s goal late in the Spurs Quarter Final put Tottenham up 1-0. COURTESY OF WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Tottenham Hotspur beat Manchester City by a score of 1-0 in the first leg of the teams’ UEFA Champions League quarterfinal on Tuesday night. Here are five takeaways from the game.

  1. Fabian Delph should retire from the left back role

Playing Fabian Delph at left back worked for Pep Guardiola and City last year, but in a high-profile Champions League quarterfinal away from home, the Englishman should either play midfield or stay resigned to the bench.

Aside from playing a part in Tottenham forward Harry Kane’s injury, Delph made no real contribution and was at fault for Son Heung-min’s goal.

  1. Son Heung-min is one of the best in the world

The South Korean has been in scintillating form all season and is crucial to Spurs’ quest for glory in the coming years. The fan favorite was at his marauding best once again on Tuesday night, and his unrelenting hustle eventually paid off. Kane’s absence won’t be felt if Son remains on song.

  1. What’s going on with Pep’s tactics?

Leaving Kevin De Bruyne and Leroy Sane on the bench in favor of İlkay Gündoğan

and Riyad Mahrez is baffling. The Algerian had limited success down the right wing and was quite easily contained by Tottenham’s Danny Rose.

Guardiola seemed quite defensive in his strategy and looked like he would be content with a goalless draw. He’ll need his whole squad firing next week, provided he fields the right one.

  1. Spurs’ new stadium is a spectacle

They took their time to build it, but Tottenham’s new stadium sure is something. The 17,500-capacity stand at one end provides a wall of sound, similar to that of the Kop at Liverpool and the Westfalenstadion in Dortmund.

The players certainly fed off this energy, and it transmitted into their performances. The explosion when Son scored made the wait worth it. Tottenham are finally home.

  1. Mercurial Lloris shows his worth

Hugo Lloris is one of the most mercurial players you’ll ever see. The French goalkeeper is prone to lapses in concentration, as was evident in Russia last summer. And last week, he was at fault for Liverpool’s second goal, failing to hang on to a fairly tepid Mohamed Salah shot. But Tuesday night, he was immense.

His penalty save set the tone for the game and made Spurs believe. Consistency is the name of the game, and Spurs will need a performance similar to that of his in Dortmund in February if they want to leave the Etihad unscathed.

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