Writer: Tranmere Loyal
Date:Saturday August 14 2010
What a stunning performance by Joe Hart at Tottenham today. He certainly made it White (Joe) Hart Lane as almost single-handedly he kept City in this match during the first half.
Almost as expected City found it difficult to get settled early on. They were starved of the ball for most of the first half but despite an onslaught that would have had an army waving the white flag, somehow they survived to half time level at 0-0.
Chance after chance fell Tottenham's way often supplied by Bale who had a relatively good day on their left but every time they got clear and every time a goal looked a certainty there was Joe, solid as a rock, between the sticks to keep things intact.
It is some time since I can recall a City keeper being consistently brilliant in a match, but Joe certainly justified Mancini's decision to upset Shay Given, who himself marvelled from the bench at Hart's heroics.
As the second half got under way SWP should have put us in front, but wanted too much time to slide in what should have been a routine shot at goal.
City got back into the match in the second half, retained the ball better and probed for a spark that might have produced some might say an undeserved win.
For their part Spurs remained dangerous on the break especially from Bale. Zabaleta seemed to slow down the supply to Lennon on the other side.
Keane and Pavulychenko tried hard and for once Robbie didn't get one against us as he has done for more or less every team he's played for.
And towards the end although City looked comfortable and took a point, it could have been the lot with a chance falling to Adebayor.
Silva really looks the ticket to me. He has good eyes and sees everything that is going on, works the channels well, passes intelligently. Toure Yaya looks very strong in the middle and continues to remind me of Marc Vivien Foe, a huge presence, never shaken off the ball, keeps the ball and again uses it well.
As and when this team gels it is going to please the Eastlands faithful ....and Balotelli still to come!!
It was in the end a creditable draw. Sometimes commentators take the view that because the other team has attacked so much they deserve to win. The bottom line is that defending is just as important. If they don't score, they can't win and that is exactly as it proved today. Toure and Kompany both had good games. I would like to see Boateng in at right back, Richards got caught day dreaming on several occasions and let's hope that Kolarov's injured ankle doesn't take too long to heal, although Zabaleta did not let himself down in another accomplished performance in the second half.
I have on occasions written about the defensive triangle in front of goal and how important that is - remember Dunne, Distin and James. Today that triangle was first class in denying the opposition a goal.
There will be games when we attack from the off and see the kind of football we all want to experience, but this was a very tricky first encounter, at a stadium where our record is not good and we got the season of to a good start with an away point ..and no goals conceded. Welcome home Joe.
Date:Saturday August 14 2010
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