Player Ratings: Home-grown Tottenham star puts Grealish, Sterling on ice

Date published: Sunday 15th August 2021 6:21 - Steve Pearson

Tottenham pair Son-Heung-min and Dele Alli celebrate scoring v Man City

Tottenham proved they can thrive without Harry Kane after a home-grown star caught the eye in a surprise 1-0 victory over champions Man City.

Tottenham withstood a fierce spell of pressure in the early stages, with Japhet Tanganga in particular holding up well against the pace and trickery of Man City superstars Jack Grealish and Raheem Sterling.

Clear sights at goal were in relatively short supply until Son Heung-min put Tottenham in front after clinically finishing off a counter-attack started by Lucas Moura and Steven Bergwijn.

Tottenham

Hugo Lloris: Flapped at an early cross and lucky Fernandinho’s resulting header flew narrowly wide. 6/10

Japhet Tanganga: Looked a man on a mission while embroiled in an almighty tussle with Sterling from first minute to last. Conceded his fair share of fouls but kept both Sterling and Grealish in check throughout the contest. Given a standing ovation and serenaded from the capacity crowd when given a breather in the closing stages. The right-back spot is his to lose. 9/10 (Man of the match)

Davinson Sanchez: Calm and composed despite intense periods of Man City pressure. Quick to cover Tanganga when Mendy, Grealish and Sterling created a numbers advantage down Spurs’ right flank. 8/10

Eric Dier: No-nonsense display and always positioned himself well to prevent Man City getting clear sights at goal. Did his case to be the centre-back chosen to partner Cristian Romero a world of good. 8/10

Sergio Reguilon: Put under surprisingly little pressure with City launching the majority of their attacks down Tanganga’s side. What little he had to do against Mahrez he generally did well. 7/10

Oliver Skipp: Given a mountain of defensive work to get through but never shirked his duty. Worked well in tandem with Hojbjerg to ensure City’s main threat came down the flanks. 8/10

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg: Kept things ticking over when Tottenham fought back into the contest following a blistering Man City start. Substituted late on after appearing to twist his ankle. 8/10

Steven Bergwijn: Often the catalyst for Tottenham counters when breaking the lines with his pace and dribbling ability. Provided the assist for Son’s goal but fired wide when one-on-one with Ederson moments later. 8/10

Dele Alli: Quietest of the Spurs attacking quartet with opportunities to start the new season with a bang in critically short supply. 6/10

Lucas Moura: Lovely flick on to Bergwijn to start the counter that brought Tottenham’s opener. A constant menace on the break. 8/10

Son Heung-min: Dangerous in-swinging corners caused problems in City’s defence early on. Uncharacteristically hesitant in his decision-making when afforded chances on the counter but soon found his shooting boots and began trying his luck at will. Drove at Ake when fed by Bergwijn and curled a low strike beyond Ederson to give Tottenham the lead. 8/10

Substitutes:

Giovani Lo Celso (on for Bergwijn, 71): 6/10

Matt Doherty (on for Tanganga, 83): N/A

Cristian Romero (on for Hojbjerg, 90): N/A


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Man City

Ederson: Flapped at a free-kick in a carbon copy of Lloris’ incident. Bailed out by Gundogan when Moura’s resulting shot was blocked by the German on the line. 6/10

Joao Cancelo: Fired wide early on when striding onto the ball in the area. Marauded forward well in trademark fashion but the bulk of City’s attacks came on the opposite flank. 7/10

Ruben Dias: Pair of vital interventions to preserve parity at the start of each half. Questions to answer over failing to block Son’s shot that opened the scoring. 7/10

Nathan Ake: Didn’t do enough to prevent Son from cutting inside into a more dangerous position for the South Korean’s opener. 5/10


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Benjamin Mendy: Weakest link of the back-line and a tad fortunate not to be punished when Son recycled possession instead of driving at Ake one-on-one in the first-half. Replaced by Zinchenko for the final 10 minutes with his defending becoming ever more erratic. 4/10

Ilkay Gundogan: Crucial block to deny Moura from a tight angle. Helped City to dominate the possession stakes but unable to affect proceedings in an attacking sense. 6/10

Fernandinho: Caught on the ball by Alli in a dangerous position in an attack that came to nothing. Looked weary as the game wore on. 6/10

Jack Grealish: Heavily involved in a deeper role on the left side of the midfield three but given license to roam forward at will. Within a whisker of earning a penalty in the early stages after drawing a foul from Skipp. Classy in possession and drew his fair share of fouls but couldn’t provide a telling contribution. Booked in injury time after a skirmish with Sanchez. 6/10

Riyad Mahrez: Spurned a glorious opportunity to break the deadlock when firing wide on the half-volley. Unusually quiet with City focussing their attentions down Sterling’s wing. 5/10

Ferran Torres: Clever movement to create space and drag Tottenham players out of position. A perfectly serviceable false nine with some nice touches to bring team-mates into play, though denied the opportunity to test Lloris. 7/10

Raheem Sterling: Went toe-to-toe with Tanganga and was often left frustrated. Always dusted himself off and went again but was largely put on ice by the Spurs youngster. 5/10

Substitutes:

Gabriel Jesus (on for Sterling, 70): 5/10

Kevin De Bruyne (on for Mahrez, 79): 6/10

Oleksandr Zinchenko (on for Mendy, 79): 5/10

READ MORE: Nuno looks to beef up Tottenham midfield with £30m Leeds targe

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