Vincent Kompany solid in defence despite Manchester City's defeat
Manchester City have now leaked two home defeats in consecutive weeks, this time closely and controversially against a resolute and well-organised Tottenham side.
Adrift in fourth place, Manuel Pellegrini's side huffed and puffed after the injustice of a wrongly awarded penalty, the first conceded by City in the Premier League in 13 months. With referee Mark Clattenburg applying a much stricter offside rule than he had done at White Hart Lane in City's 4-1 defeat in September, the home side eventually came up short.
Critical games now follow one after the other against Chelsea in the FA Cup, Liverpool in the Capital One Cup final and Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League. The last thing City needed was to see a six-point lead for Leicester maintained, despite the Foxes' loss to Arsenal.
With his side only really showing real hunger after the first Tottenham goal, the Chilean must now ask his squad just how badly they want to win those trophies as a going away present. The verdict here is not quite badly enough.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Joe Hart, 7 -- First stop came as late as the 28th minute, when he parried Christian Eriksen's low shot. Beaten down the middle for the penalty despite trying to put England teammate Harry Kane off and low again by Eriksen's late shot for the Spurs winner.
DF Pablo Zabaleta, 6 -- Faced a tough job containing the frequently overlapping Danny Rose throughout the first half, but came forward more after half-time. For much of the game, however, there was no one ahead of him to run and support, as Raheem Sterling had switched to the left.
DF Vincent Kompany, 8 -- Made a clear difference to the calmness of the City defence when faced with Spurs' attack. Despite this, he blotted his copybook of seeing the side win six in eight matches when he has been involved. Little of the fault for this lay with him on this occasion, however.
DF Nicolas Otamendi, 7 -- A calmer, more measured performance alongside Kompany, with much less diving in. Lost Eriksen's run for the winner, however, and had two big chances in injury time to save the point, but the ball would not fall kindly for him for the first and Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris tipped it off his head for the second.
DF Gael Clichy, 6 -- Not so much defending to do, as Tottenham's right side attacking tended to cut infield before it reached him. Great ball in for Kelechi Iheanacho's equaliser just seconds before being taken off for Aleksandar Kolarov.
MF Fernandinho, 6 -- A lot of work early on trying to stem Tottenham's early possession. Little opportunity to work the ball forward until the second half when City began to dominate possession.
MF Fernando, 6 -- Two early fouls on Dele Alli set the tone for his performance, chasing and never quite catching up with Tottenham's midfield runners. No great positive use of the ball either, but got his foot in from time to time to quell some of Tottenham's midfield creativity.
MF David Silva, 7 -- Probed endlessly, to some effect in the second half in particular. Forced deep during the first half to find space, but was still responsible for many of City's most positive touches. Expertly fed Clichy in the build-up to the equalizer.
MF Yaya Toure, 7 -- Driving performance with more energy than of late, with a cannonball free kick onto the bar and another wickedly hit strike that Lloris finger-tipped up in the air. Was always in the thick of the busy midfield action but could not turn the tide.
MF Raheem Sterling, 6 -- Had an unusual penalty called against him for backing into Rose's cross. Spent the rest of the game trying slightly too hard to atone himself. Crowded out on the right flank too often, where Rose was having a highly effective game.
FW Sergio Aguero, 6 -- City's top scorer spent long periods looking totally isolated. When the ball did reach him, his first touch was often poor and he was unable to beat a Tottenham offside trap that was ably abetted by the referee's assistant. Kept trying right until the end, when he floated a magnificent ball over to Otamendi in the 94th minute for Lloris to touch away.
FW Kelechi Iheanacho, 7 -- On for Fernando after 65 minutes and took no time at all to start running directly at the Spurs defence, an element that had been almost completely missing up until then. Produced a wonderful, unerring finish to Clichy's ball in from the left to equalise.
DF Aleksandar Kolarov, NR -- On for Clichy after 75 minutes. Saw plenty of action down the left with a string of balls into the box that were not fully capitalized on.
Simon is one of ESPN FC's Manchester City bloggers. Follow him on Twitter @bifana_bifana.