Writer: Andy Leggott
Date:Sunday April 9 2006
Whit Hart Lane
City produced a vast improvement on last week's abject showing against Middlesbrough, but still extended their run of defeats to five as they lost 2-1 at Tottenham yesterday.
Pearce clearly indicated where he felt the blame lay for last week's showing by ringing the changes in midfield. Three of last week's starting quartet were dropped with only Sinclair retaining his place. Musampa, Richards and Reyna made up the new quartet and City looked better for it.
The game was a bright and breezy affair as Tottenham sought to press for the fourth champions league spot. City were more tenacious in the tackle than at any time last week, with Musampa and Richards offering a lot more bite in the midfield. Despite that however it was Tottenham who dominated the first half, with perennial pain in the backside, Robbie Keane, looking particularly impressive up front. His treatment of international team mate, Richard Dunne, was as good as any forward play I have seen all season and it was purely down to David James that he didn't grab his usual goal against City.
Having said that it was from a Keane shot that Tottenham took the lead. After yet another fine James save, Stalteri was first to the ball to give Tottenham the lead at the break.
City came out with a purpose after the interval but it was Tottenham who doubled their lead on 49 minutes when Carrick volleyed past James. City didn't let their heads drop however, and were back in the game three minutes later when Samaras converted Distin's long throw.
The game remained entertaining throughout as City pushed for an equaliser. Tottenham always looked the liklier on the counter attack though and it was only because of some stunning James saves that City remained a threat throughout.
The one consolation in defeat was the improved performance. I thought Musampa and Riera responded to the criticism and looked like they were playing for a contract, however it shouldn't take public criticism to do that.
On the negative side, five defeats in a row is shocking. City are showing relegation form and really do need to turn it round. The early season showed lots of promise but it now looks as though this will be a season of underachievement. Come the summer investment is needed.
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Date:Sunday April 9 2006
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