Champions League: Man City unconvincing as Tottenham are thrashed
By Harry Deacon
Just as those student mid-week struggles are beginning to kick in, another edition of Champions League fixtures lends a helping hand to guide you through to the weekend.
The bite in the air on Tuesday morning in Manchester was noticeable. Yet, it barely seemed to bother the already swelling number of Dinamo Zagreb fans congregating by the fountain in Piccadilly Gardens.
Historically, travelling fans from abroad would be on a tram heading towards Old Trafford on a Tuesday or Wednesday night. However, these hopeful Croatians would be making the short walk to the Etihad as they faced Manchester City – the side currently dominating football in Manchester.
With Pep Guardiola’s side having 34 goals already under their belt this season, the away defence would have presumably been dreading the upcoming fixture.
Yet, it took the hosts 66 minutes before they could break down an extremely resolute Zagreb side. Raheem Sterling making the most of a sumptuous Riyad Mahrez cross once again proved why he is a player in one of the hottest runs of form in world football.
One would expect the floodgates to open after the opener but that was not the case. The Croatian champions dug their heels in and weathered the constant City storm.
The hosts’ pressure was relentless, and they finally got what they deserved when Phil Foden managed to wrap the match up in stoppage time, giving Guardiola’s side an early three-point gap at the top of Group C.
While the ball struggled to find its way to the back of the net in Manchester, it was hardly ever out of it in north London, as Spurs took on Bayern Munich.
An early goal from Son Heung-Min caused the Tottenham Hotspur stadium to erupt. The new 62,000-seater was hosting its first Champions League fixture and could not have seen a better start against the Bavarian giants.
However, a quick equaliser from Joshua Kimmich was enough to subdue the home crowd, before Robert Lewandowski hit the target on the stroke of half-time, silencing the Tottenham faithful.
At half-time Mauricio Pochettino would certainly have told his players not to let the game run away from them, as the German champions are masters at dismantling their opposition.
The second half reaction was exactly what the Spurs fans would have been dreading. Two goals in quick succession from ex-Arsenal winger Serge Gnabry heaped on the misery.
A dubious Harry Kane penalty gave the Tottenham fans something to cheer, and another VAR talking point, but it proved of little consequence. Gnabry was able to grab his hat-trick, and one more, while Lewandowski got himself a brace.
The 7-2 thrashing and a winless start to this year’s Champions League leaves Tottenham in choppy waters. However, winless in their first three matches last season, Spurs were still able to progress to the final, so all hope is not lost.