Manchester City beat sleepy Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 at Wembley Stadium on Sunday, a complete and total effort in dispatching their rivals to claim a fourth-straight League Cup on the strength of Aymeric Laporte’s header.
City bowed out of the FA Cup last week but can still claim three trophies this year, the Premier League trophy only a matter of time and the European Cup three results away.
USMNT goalkeeper Zack Steffen had very little to do in collecting a League Cup, but his one save early in the second half was a fine stop.
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Spurs fired Jose Mourinho last week and it’s difficult to argue that he wouldn’t have helped a team who was thoroughly controlled in London.
Tottenham had two shot attempts and only 38 percent of the ball compared to Cityy, with 21 shots taken and 527-of-589 passes completed on the day.
Three things we learned from Man City – Tottenham
1. Make it seven: Pep Guardiola took over City for a trophy-less 2016-17 season but things have gone… a lot better since that opening run through the Premier League. City has won all four League Cups since then, claiming an FA Cup, and two (soon-to-be three) Premier League crowns. Can he and his men add a European Cup? We’ll find out soon, but it’s worth noting that this particular win came during a decidedly down period of form for the PL champions-elect.
2. Levy’s sacrifice worth it? We’re not saying that Jose Mourinho’s plan alone would be enough to beat Man City, not at all, but chairman Daniel Levy clearly fired the Portuguese because what it would mean to the manager’s future exit from North London if he brought a trophy to Spurs. Let’s hope the trade-off was worth it.
Nothing against Ryan Mason, but putting a 29-year-old with less than a handful of senior matches managed under his belt against the best system of this century is a questionable move. One thing that’s not questionable: Spurs last two finals have been absolutely brutal for their fans to watch. How about some entertainment next time?
That said, a healthy Harry Kane would’ve helped and the English star did his very best to fight through an injury and might’ve set up a goal earlier in the match. Heung-min Son was quiet and Spurs needed a very good day from Hugo Lloris to keep it close.
3. Steffen becomes fifth American to win League Cup : USMNT keeper Zack Steffen had little to do, making one terrific save early in the second half as one of his 11 touches in the first 75 minutes. He had three over the next quarter-hour, completing 8-of-10 passes.
Man of the Match: Kevin De Bruyne
Mahrez, Laporte, De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Ilkay Gundogan…. all could’ve laid claim to the honors, and Hugo Lloris was honestly the key piece on the pitch.
LAPORTE BREAKS THE DEADLOCK ⚽️ pic.twitter.com/7siUxGd9Ac
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) April 25, 2021
Man City – Tottenham recap
Tottenham will feel fortunate to be in the game at halftime.
It was one way traffic for most of the first half aside from a five-minute spell midway through the half, but Spurs limited the danger from the title holders.
Spurs had 36 percent of the ball and only one shot in the opening frame, while City took 10 but only had one make its way to Hugo Llooris, who stopped it.
City keeper Zack Steffen made his first save, a fine low one, early in the second half when Lucas Moura cued up Giovani Lo Celso for a curling rip.
Ilkay Gundogan raced to the back post to meet a slightly too strong chipped cross to the back post, heading it over the frame.
Spurs might’ve been up 1-0 when Kane cued a rush through the midfield and fed Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, who invited Sergio Reguilon to a pass toward the six that the Spaniard did not track.
Kevin De Bruyne was chief string puller and set up a Raheem Sterling header that Lloris stooped to collect in the 71st minute.
Gundogan knifed a chance wide a minute later after a pretty cut back from Sterling. Then Lloris got low to stymy a Mahrez curler from 20 yards.
City’s breakthrough came off a free kick, Serge Aurier conceding a needless set piece. De Bruyne swept the ball into the mix and Laporte snapped it home.