During Manchester City’s desperate bid for an equalizer against Tottenham, Pep Guardiola paced his technical area frantically.
After losing 1-0 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in their opening game, the reigning champions appear to be lacking a goal-scoring threat.
There was something wrong with his team, even if you aren’t a world-class coach.
In the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium he found the answer to City’s goal-scoring woes, with his future in London rather than at the champions.
Tottenham have shown they can survive without Harry Kane, while City have shown why they need him.
Without a recognized striker, Guardiola’s team won the title last season; this season it might not be so easy.
While Chelsea, Liverpool, and Manchester United all put up big scores on the opening weekend of the season, City only showed that they were prone to making mistakes.
Their start was more difficult than the other contenders’, but they were unable to score a goal.
City had a chance to go 3-0 up in the first 10 minutes, but they couldn’t get the final touch to seal the victory.
Joao Cancelo and Riyad Mahrez also missed the target after clever runs from free kicks by Fernandinho.
Spurs’ defenders were taunted all afternoon by Jack Grealish and Riyad Mahrez on either side of the ball. However, each cross sent into the box was easily intercepted by Davinson Sanchez and Eric Dier.
Ferran Torres was playing as Tottenham’s number nine, but despite his ability to find space, he was unable to do so against Spurs.
“It is the same people as last season and we scored lots of goals,” Guardiola said in his postmatch press conference. “It has happened.
“What is important is we are there, the last cross. We arrived many times there and today. We could not score but it is the same mystery. We are the same, we are good enough to create chances and score goals and we are going to do it.”
A similar gameplan was used by both Jose Mourinho and Nuno Espirito Santo in the previous season’s meeting between the two clubs.
Let City dominate possession, clog up the box to make it difficult to score, and catch them on the counterattack if they do it right.
Spurs struggled without Kane, but Son Heung-min stepped up to the plate. In the 55th minute, his second shot was perfectly placed in the corner after his first was deflected wide.
Despite the fact that City looked sluggish as the game progressed and lacked any real threat, Kane’s opinion is unlikely to have changed as a result.
Rather than weakening his resolve to complete the move to Etihad Stadium, knowing he can be the missing piece, he may have strengthened it.
Tottenham’s ability to deliver the medal that England’s international wants remains unlikely, despite their commitment and determination.