Football’s spirit restored as Nuno’s plan steals the show in the Matchweek 1 of the Premier league

August 17, 2021

The league football is back and the presence of supporters in the Stadium feels like a celebration of life after 2 years of their absence from the place they belong due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The spectacle of the Premier League football which had returned this weekend heightened with Sunday night’s fixture where Tottenham Hotspot faced the defending champions Manchester City at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London. What a view that was! The players of both sides had walked out into the cauldron of noise from the home fans with the chanting in search of Harry Kane and the traveling City fans who were far less than the Etihad usual welcomed their 100 million pound signing(Jack Grealish) with grace and hope for glory.

The message from the fans was loud and clear

The familiarity of the atmosphere had been inevitable for Nuno Espirito Santos whose Premier League start as the head coach of Tottenham Hotspur proved to be a successful one as his side crashed Pep Guardiola’s 780 million pound worth starting 11 to trash. Well before writing this statement, I would like to clear a point here, I respect and admire Pep’s work at City but a team worth so much should at least give a fight and show some grunt work regarding the circumstance at hand. It had been quite evident from their Community Shield loss last week against Chelsea when they missed some of their key players due to recovery from the EURO fatigue that some work must be done and once again it all looked bleak for the Cityzens on Sunday night. The whole situation seemed ghastly for a team of such stature. Statistically speaking only Manchester United had previously managed to win the league after their first game defeat and although it is too early in the season to write off a team City should buck up and find solutions.

Now coming to Nuno’s project at Tottenham Hotspur and the dream which are being knitted behind the scenes by their new football director Fabio Paratici looked fresh and exciting. The first look of this Tottenham side had given us some insight into what to expect from the Coys this season and the fans are as ecstatic as ever. They looked direct and vigilant with their approach. The team had stuck to Nuno’s plan and they produced results without Kane’s presence.

Nuno Espirito Santos celebrates Son’s goal

Although in the post-match interview Nuno commented on the Kane issue by saying- “Harry is one of the best players in the world, so we are very lucky to have him. He has to get ready and help the team. We still have to go to Portugal [to play Pacos Ferreira in the Europa League on Thursday] and then we think about Wolves [on Sunday]. Harry worked this morning, is preparing himself and when he is ready he will join the group and help the team.”

The City had been looking poised and urgent in their manner of controlling the game but they lacked the extra momentum or in this case a finisher when it came to scoring goals for the team. Riyad Maharez’s wastefulness to score and Hugo Lloris making his 299th appearance in the Premier League leaped to clear a Fernandinho header which could have been the first goal of the night.

Mahrez’s shot at goal which went wide

Jack Grealish and Raheem Sterling had faced a highly motivated and resilient Japhet Tanganga and their academy graduate Oliver Skipp who gave a tough fight for Ilkay Gundogan and Fernandinho at the center.

Skipp Vs Sterling

The first half had been hugely dominated by Manchester City but through to the second half, Tottenham started showing their true colors as they exerted much of themselves onto the City defense which made an already weak link in the left-back position Benjamin Mendy more uncomfortable than ever. Lucas Moura had got past his compatriot Fernandinho with a lot of ease as Steven Bergwijn and Son Heung-Min charged up towards the six-yard box with flair many times before they got it all right.

At around the 55th minute Moura had hooked up a pass for Bergwijn who fed the ball to Son on the left as he cut inside and bent a precisely angled clinical shot into the far corner.

Sons’s goal

Bergwijn and Moura both missed some opportunities to double the lead but much to everyone’s surprise City looked faded into the background after conceding the goal. Tottenham found an ample amount of space in the defense line to set up a camp inside the 6-yard box. The ineffectiveness of the City defense except for Nathan Ake and Ruben Dias whose role seemed to be as limited as ever and it was even mind-boggling to contemplate that despite having Kyle Walker, Aymeric Laporte, and John Stones on the bench why did Pep not choose to bring them on even after his players started faltering in their defensive duties.

Kevin De Bruyne did not provide any change to their progression after being subbed on in place of Riyad Maharez and Jack Grealish being the mischievous attacking midfielder had not been able to shine bright for his new boss as he wished to have done but glimpses of him trying to adapt to his new role under a highly demanding boss as Guardiola was promising. But right now the problem at hand for Pep is the absence of a center forward and after the tables being turned, it is safe to say he needs Harry Kane more than Tottenham does. Nuno’s plan for a glorious season forward for Tottenham has two parted solution- one that comes with Kane and another without Kane and to be honest having Harry Kane feels like an extra gem to an already bejeweled crown which they will wear it like they own the throne till the end of the season but Man City need to alter their plans a little and maybe get Kane or wait for another year and find the answers to their worries with the available options in their hand and sign the 21-year-old Norwegian international and Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland.

Pep Guardiola with his 100 million pound signing Jack Grealish

In short Matchweek 1 of the Premier League, had given sensational peek into a season-long race to the top with Manchester United’s 5-1 win over Leeds United and Chelsea strengthening their ornamented arsenal with the signing of Romelu Lukaku from Inter Milan with 97.5 million pounds. Liverpool’s 3-0 victory over newly-promoted Norwich City; Everton and Leicester all kicking off their campaign with magnificent and inspiring wins painted a fabulous picture of a season ahead of nail-biting and amazing festivities of football to look forward to. The Matchweek 2 returns on Saturday next so till then stay tuned for all the other updates.

Team News:

Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris, Tanganga, Sanchez, Dier, Reguilon, Skipp, Hojbjerg, Bergwijn, Alli, Lucas Moura, Son. 

Subs: Doherty, Romero, Winks, Gil Salvatierra, Sissoko, Lo Celso, Gollini, Davies, Scarlett.

Manchester City: Ederson, Joao Cancelo, Dias, Ake, Mendy, Grealish, Fernandinho, Gundogan, Mahrez, Torres, Sterling. 

Subs: Walker, Stones, Gabriel Jesus, Zinchenko, Steffen, Laporte, Rodri, De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva.

Referee: Anthony Taylor.

King of the Match: Son Heung-Min