City Scrape Point In Hart Felt Performance
White Hart Lane
It might not have been the Champions League decider of last season, but when the fixture list put this together on the opening day we were certainly set for another enthralling encounter.
For all City`s summer signings who we had hoped to shine bright in the North London rain it was a returning goalkeeper Joe Hart who took centre stage with a remarkable performance. After being chosen as England`s new no1 it was important for Hart to get the nod at City and after receiving a huge vote of confidence from boss Roberto Mancini, Hart never disappointed and turned in a simply brilliant performance to earn City a 0-0 draw at White Hart Lane against Tottenham.
As the game ebbed and flowed in Tottenham`s favour with their tempo exhilarating, Joe Hart had plenty of chances to show his undoubted ability. City`s other signings looked reasonably settled with Kolarov keeping Lennon under control, something Micah Richards should have taken note of, Gareth Bale tormented the young right back and came close several times before being denied by the irrepressible Hart and the foot of the post.
Silva would have hoped to link up with isolated captain Carlos Tevez more often, but the City side soon realised Tottenham`s dangerous potential going forward as Hart saw much more of the ball than his opposite number. The first time Hart was called upon, Defoe was almost wheeling away in celebration. His swivel and shot after Crouch`s knock down looked destined for the net but outstretched and using a very solid left hand, Hart clawed the ball from the gaping target. Tottenham continued to press their opponents but found City very solid, Kompany and Toure and the three man shield in midfield provided adequate cover but when called upon Hart also prevented an opening goal. Huddlestone and a deflected Assou-Ekotto shot also looked goal bound early on but nothing could breach the City defence. Defoe was next to come close and after another quality save and desperate defending from Kolarov City managed to clear the ball unscathed.
Spurs were still advancing in great number and if it wasn`t for other outstanding contributions from Toure, Kompany and De-Jong this match would have been long over for the away team. The chances were mounting up for the home side with Mancini growing in tension as he screamed and charged to the touch-line. The City manager wouldn`t have been impressed by Richards lacklustre effort to close down Bale and as he lined up his shot the net looked set to bulge. However, with the post thwarting another chance, City began to take notice and started to assert their authority.
The new look City side found the first half a slog but with as the chances were denied at one end their confidence grew. The second half was a complete contrast to the first, possession was much easier to come by for The Blues and as Wright-Phillips timed his run perfectly the opportunity of taking the lead had never looked so easier. However, a lack of awareness and confidence from the wide man allowed the chance to be cleared.
If the first half had been disappointing for us the second was certainly improving and without the chances of Tottenham in the first half, we kept the ball for substantial periods of play. As the game progressed it was unsurprisingly decreasing in pace. After an unwanted International friendly mid-week it was obvious some key players were finding it difficult to continue at such a pace. Chances were less frequent but still some last ditch defending from City was needed to keep this game goal-less.
City looked delighted for the score to remain at 0-0 and this turned out to be a very hard earned first point of the season. If this City team does improve with games played then we can expect some terrific football.