Manchester City 1-0 Tottenham: Player ratings as Phil Foden stars for EPL leaders

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Phil Foden was the star for City.

Manchester City avenged their Champions League quarter-final heartbreak against Tottenham by beating Spurs 1-0 just three days later in a crucial Premier League clash.

Phil Foden’s early goal, his first in the league, gave City the lead and in another quality encounter between the two sides – though with little of the thrill and drama of Wednesday’s European game – both teams passed up presentable opportunities to add to the goals tally.

The result sees City go top of the league and Tottenham drop vital points in the race for a top-four spot.

Here’s a look at how the players rated.

MANCHESTER CITY

Starting XI

Ederson 8 –  Maintained a high level of alertness and made some crucial saves.

Kyle Walker 6 – Got forward regularly but had some awkward moments defensively and possibly got away with a handball.

John Stones 6 – Was almost punished for an early mistake by Son and occasionally got exposed.

Aymeric Laporte 7 – Fortunate to get away with an early pull on Eriksen but made some important challenges.

Oleksandr Zinchenko 6 – Offered support to attacks but not a dynamic performance.

Ilkay Gundogan 6 – Composed in possession but did not provide much protection for the defence.

Kevin De Bruyne 6 – Could not replicate the brilliance of his performance on Wednesday before being forced off injured before half-time.

Phil Foden 7 – Justified his inclusion with an early goal and some smart, creative play.

Bernardo Silva 8 – Delivered a superb cross to open up Spurs for the early goal and his runs were a constant danger.

Raheem Sterling 6 – A quiet afternoon by his standards although he was unfortunate to be denied a goal by Gazzaniga.

Sergio Aguero 7 – Set up Foden early on with a nice cushioned header and kept the Spurs defence occupied.

SUBSTITUTES 

Fernandinho 6 – Brought some solidity to midfield as City were forced to reshuffle following De Bruyne’s departure.

Leroy Sane 6 – Came on to freshen up the attack but could not get into his stride.

David Silva n/a – Had little impact after coming on for the last five minutes.

TOTTENHAM

Starting XI

Paulo Gazzaniga 7 – Making his first Premier League start since September, Gazzaniga produced a fine save to deny Sterling.

Juan Foyth 7 – Foyth was deployed in an unusual right wing-back position and put in a solid performance.

Toby Alderweireld 8 – Another mightily impressive performance from the Belgium defender, who produced a goal-saving block from Aguero.

Davinson Sanchez 5 – The Colombian left Aguero unmarked for first goal and was generally the weakest of Spurs’ three defenders.

Jan Vertonghen 7 – Could maybe have given a penalty away in the first half but was assured after the break.

Ben Davies 6 – Given the runaround in the first half by Bernardo Silva, the left-back did improve after the break.

Eric Dier 6 – Playing his first game since March, Dier was rusty but did offer some steel in midfield.

Dele Alli 6 – Again playing with a cast on his hand, Alli’s best moment came when he produced an outrageous piece of skill to beat three City players.

Christian Eriksen 7 – Spurned his side’s best chance in the first half when he shot straight at Ederson, but otherwise pulled the strings.

Lucas Moura 6 – The Brazilian had a quiet game, but could have snatched an equaliser with better composure.

Son Heung-min 7 – City were again petrified of Son’s pace and he was Spurs’ most attacking threat, having three good chances in the first half.

SUBSTITUTES 

Victor Wanyama 6 – Put in a solid shift.

Danny Rose 6 – Played in an unusual midfield role and put himself about.

Fernando Llorente 5 – Could not make an impact.

*Copy provided by Press Association Sport

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Manchester City 1-0 Tottenham: Talking points as Premier League leaders avenge UCL exit

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Laporte excelled against Son Heung-min.

The Manchester City vs Tottenham trilogy of three games in 12 days came to an end on Saturday with City getting some measure of revenge for their Champions League exit after a gritty 1-0 win that took them back to the top of the Premier League table.

Phil Foden’s first Premier League goal was enough to give City three vital points in a contest which failed to achieve the impossible – living up to, or topping, Wednesday’s second leg of the Champions League quarter-final – but was a significant result in its own right.

Here’s a look at the game’s talking points.

LAPORTE EPITOMISES CITY RESOLVE

Laporte bounced back.

Laporte bounced back.

If City had to choose between winning the Premier League and the Champions League, there’s no doubt they’d pick the latter. And the fact that they were in contention for a historic quadruple made their European exit on Wednesday doubly painful – and that’s before accounting for the dramatic circumstances in which it happened.

Considering that, the ability of Pep Guardiola’s side to refocus, put their Champions League heartbreak behind them, and beat the exact same opponents to stay in control of the league title race is incredibly commendable.

Aymeric Laporte epitomised City’s resolve. At fault for two Spurs’ goals in midweek, the Frenchman was forced to make his Twitter account private after the social media abuse he received.

But on Saturday, there was one excellent goal-saving tackle early, and several other moments of quality against the dangerous Son Heung-min and Lucas Moura. He wasn’t perfect, but he preserved City’s win.

TOTTENHAM LEFT RELYING ON UNLIKELY EUROPEAN TRIUMPH?

Could Poch put all his eggs in the Champions League basket?

Could Poch put all his eggs in the Champions League basket?

The good news for Tottenham even after this result is that all four of their remaining games are against teams outside the top six, with three at home.

The bad news is that winning all four may no longer be enough to secure a top-four spot. Arsenal and Chelsea, notoriously poor travellers, each have two away games left, while Manchester United are stuttering – and, with Chelsea and City left to play, have the toughest schedule – but Saturday’s loss means Champions League qualification is out of Spurs’ hands.

At least, it is just from the league placing route. Tottenham have given themselves two bites at the cherry by reaching the Champions League semi-finals. Ajax will be a tough out, and if they do achieve that, it’s Barcelona or Liverpool in the final – but perhaps a miracle run is actually their best shot of ensuring a spot in Europe’s premier club competition.

VAR ABSENCE KEENLY FELT

How would VAR have impacted this game?

How would VAR have impacted this game?

VAR provided the drama on Wednesday, with the goal which won Tottenham the tie allowed to stand after a lengthy review and City’s would-be winner chalked off for offside after a check of the screens.

Its absence was keenly felt on Saturday. Both sides had one penalty shout each denied, and though Jan Vertonghen’s tackle of Bernardo Silva may not have resulted in a spot-kick upon review, Kyle Walker’s handball when Dele Alli was looking to bring the ball down certainly would have.

The naysayers will argue that both were 50-50 decisions while VAR should be used only for clear and obvious errors, but the case for video review has been made repeatedly this season. Perhaps the result here may not have changed, but considering the clear errors that have been made in matches affecting the title, top four, and relegation races, anything that cuts those out needs to be welcomed.

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Man City, Liverpool dominate PFA awards shortlist with Raheem Sterling and Virgil van Dijk the front-runners

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Raheem Sterling and Virgil van Dijk are the favourites for the award.

Premier League title rivals Liverpool and Manchester City dominate the six-man shortlist for the Professional Footballers’ Association Player of the Year award, with Virgil Van Dijk and Raheem Sterling the front-runners.

Centre-back Van Dijk joins Reds team-mate Sadio Mane on the list, while England forward Sterling is included alongside fellow City players Sergio Aguero and Bernardo Silva.

Chelsea’s Eden Hazard completes the nominees for the 2018-19 campaign, with the winner scheduled to be announced on Sunday, April 28 at the PFA’s annual awards ceremony in London.

City duo Sterling and Silva, both 24, also make the shortlist for the Young Player of the Year award. They are joined in that category by Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold, West Ham midfielder Declan Rice, Bournemouth winger David Brooks and Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford.

For the women’s award, Manchester City trio Steph Houghton, Nikita Parris and Keira Walsh have been shortlisted, in addition to Chelsea duo Erin Cuthbert and Ji So-yun and Arsenal’s Vivianne Miedema.

Dutch forward Miedema, the Women’s Super League top scorer with 27 goals, Walsh and Cuthbert are also nominated for the Young Player of the Year award, along with City forward Georgia Stanway, West Ham striker Alisha Lehmann and Bristol City goalkeeper Sophie Baggaley.

Van Dijk, signed from Southampton for £75million in January 2018, has been an ever-present rock at the heart of the Premier League’s tightest defence this campaign. He has helped Liverpool keep 18 clean sheets and concede only 20 times, while also chipping in with three goals.

Senegal international Mane – included ahead of last year’s winner Mohamed Salah – has also enjoyed a stellar season for Jurgen Klopp’s side, hitting 18 league goals as the Anfield club attempt to end a 29-year wait to be champions.

Sterling is currently the bookmakers’ second favourite for the award behind 27-year-old Van Dijk and has been key for Pep Guardiola’s defending champions, having contributed 17 goals and nine assists going into the weekend.

Aguero and Silva have also been integral parts of the division’s best attack this term.

Argentinian Aguero, City’s record goalscorer, has registered 19 of the club’s 86 goals and provided seven assists, while Portuguese Silva, who has become increasingly influential at the Etihad Stadium, has managed six goals and seven assists.

Creative forward Hazard, the only candidate to have previously won the award (2015), has been directly involved in more top-flight goals than any other player this term, scoring 16 and setting up 12 for Maurizio Sarri’s Blues.

There is guaranteed to be a new name on the Young Player of the Year award.

Alexander-Arnold has contributed to Liverpool’s defensive solidity and also provided seven assists from right-back, while the fine form of Hammers midfielder Rice led to his England debut following his change of allegiance from the Republic of Ireland.

Wales international Brooks has scored seven times and assisted five goals during an impressive debut season in the top flight after swapping Sheffield United for the south coast. Rashford, meanwhile, has managed 10 goals and six assists for Manchester United.

*Copy provided by Press Association Sport

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