Perfect Pochettino and planless Pellegrini the difference

Date published: Sunday 14th February 2016 7:11

Mauricio Pochettino: Got the better of Manuel Pellegrini

Mauricio Pochettino: Got the better of Manuel Pellegrini

Tottenham proved themselves as serious Premier League title contenders with a win which justifies Manchester City’s decision to replace Manuel Pellegrini, writes Mark Holmes.

Last month, I wrote Tottenham were the outstanding team in the Premier League.

Perhaps strangely, I wrote it after they had only drawn at Everton, but it was a performance which convinced me Mauricio Pochettino’s team would finish – at least – in the top three this season.

With 12 games remaining, I will avoid making any bolder prediction than that, but Spurs’ win at Manchester City on Sunday provided yet more evidence that this team has what it takes to sustain a serious title challenge.

Yes, they scored via a hugely debatable penalty and then a second on the counter as City piled on the pressure, but the Lilywhites controlled the game for long periods and enjoyed 65% of the ball in the first half.

That is not to say that Spurs dominated in terms of chances. Both sides only managed one shot on target apiece during a first half lacking in goalmouth action, but that was exactly what Spurs wanted. They used possession as a defensive tactic, preventing City from building any sort of momentum.

Mauricio Pochettino

Spurs, though, like Leicester City, are at their best when they lose the ball. Once again on Sunday they worked incredibly hard to regain possession no sooner had they given it up – and it is at these moments, when their opponents momentarily push men ahead of the ball, that Spurs suddenly come to life, moving the ball quickly into the final third to attack a backline not fully set in their positions.

Toure was at fault for Spurs’ winner, stupidly running into players, but the break that followed it has been perfected, no doubt, by hours of work on the training ground.

Under immense pressure, many teams would have taken the opportunity gifted to them by Toure to play the ball back and take the sting out of the game. But that was never in the minds of Erik Lamela and Christian Eriksen, who combined to score a goal which perfectly highlighted in a few short seconds the fantastic job Pochettino has done since taking over at White Hart Lane.

Man City right to replace Pellegrini

While Pochettino continues to build his reputation, City’s disappointing performance provided further vindication for the club’s decision to replace Pellegrini with Pep Guardiola.

No matter what City’s injury problems this season – and they have certainly suffered on that front – it simply isn’t good enough for them to be three places and six points off the top of the Premier League at this stage of the season.

Faced with home games against two of their main title rivals in Leicester and Tottenham, the Citizens had the chance to put their struggles behind them with a show of their undoubted superior quality, but two defeats do not paint a very positive picture of Pellegrini’s tactical nous.

Sergio Aguero Kelechi Iheanacho

Having been picked off by Leicester, City once again allowed their opponents to set the pace of the game. While Spurs were alive to every opportunity, City looked idle. While it was easy to see what Spurs’ gameplan was, there was nothing discernible about City’s.

Moving Raheem Sterling to the right side for the second half showed Pellegrini did take tactics into consideration but for large parts of the game it seemed as though City’s plan was simply to let their attacking players win the game. Against a side as well drilled as Pochettino’s Tottenham, that was never going to work.

The fact that City have won only only of 10 games against the current top eight this season certainly suggests it is Pellegrini that is lacking; frankly, City could take to the field without any managerial instructions whatsoever and beat most of the other teams in the league.

That is why they have appointed Guardiola. City can look fantastic on occasion, but is that because of good coaching or simply because they have good players? When tactics have been needed, City have been found wanting.

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Home Forums Perfect Pochettino and planless Pellegrini the difference

This topic contains 6 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by Arsenal_FC Arsenal_FC 8 months, 1 week ago.

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    Mark Holmes
    Mark Holmes

    Tottenham proved themselves as serious title contenders with a win which justifies Manchester City’s decision to replace Manuel Pellegrini.

    [See the full post at: Perfect Pochettino and planless Pellegrini the difference]


    I think pellegrini should have played 4-4-2 from the start, fernando and fernandino in the middle, drop toure and play aguero and iheanacho up top.

    Spurs played 4231 so there is an argument that city could have been overun but it was a game that they had to go for, they needed to show some guts and be proactive for once.

    And lets not forget that this tactic seems to work for leicester, with hard work and intelligent play, any formation can work.

    Mark Holmes
    Mark Holmes

    Toure will no doubt complain Guardiola just doesn’t like him, but I’d be amazed if he’s kept this summer. He’s got so much quality but can’t be trusted anymore.


    Exactly! He’s a typical fair weather player, when city are on song they can afford to have him in the team.

    But when things aren’t going well, last two home games for example, then he’s a liability who causes more problems than he solves



    @Mark I agree with you: “City could take to the field without any managerial instructions whatsoever and beat most of the other teams in the league.” I don’t know what he does to earn the fantastic wages. having read the City page, It seems like the City fans could pick the team and have better tactics. Most the city players are so good individually, next season they could be scary good.



    Who are the City players that are so good, relative to the players at other clubs?

    I would say in Aguero they have a striker who is hands down the best in the league. But in Silva, Arsenal have Ozil whilst Tottenham have Eriksen, and Leiscter have Mahrez. In Fernandinho, Arsenal have Coquelin, Tottenham Alli, and Leicester Kante.

    I keep hearing City have these amazing and great players, yet Aguero aside, I dont get the area’s in midfield and defence that Man City enjoy superiority.

    City supposed brilliance is an enigma. Their group of players is nothing to be envious off. They are not Barcelona or Bayern Munich in the slightest.


    Manchester City were naive to announce the signing of Pep midway through the season, definitely has an affect on the focus of the team.

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