Connect in the back of the net

Pep Guardiola’s unbeaten run of eleven games in all competitions came to an unprecedented end on their visit to White Hart Lane a little over a week ago.

Prior to that the sky blue of Manchester came close to a defeat against Celtic in the Champions League, but thrice they came from behind to salvage a point in Glasgow.

Their performance against Spurs was however in stark contrast of the team that had annihilated any and all opponents they went up against, including arch rivals Manchester United, managed by Pep’s nemesis, Jose Mourinho.

A goal apiece within the opening and closing ten minutes of the first half provided the fatal blow to Manchester City, bringing an end to Pep’s perfect start in the Premier League.

Graceful in defeat as he has been in triumph, the City gaffer promised to work on his sides’ flaws in order to progress their title charge going forward.

Nonetheless, here are three of Manchester City’s weaknesses first discovered by Mourinho, tested by Brendan Rodgers and enacted by Mauricio Pochettino.

 

Crumble when outpaced

Since the dawn of the new campaign, Manchester City have relentlessly and inexorably pursued their opponents of the ball, winning back possession whenever they lost it, while frustrating the life out of their opposite number when in possession.

Celtic may have come close when they pressed and closed into space to spoil the rhythm for City, but it was Tottenham that unflinchingly gave Guardiola’s charges a dose of their own medicine.

Outpaced, outrun and outplayed, City couldn’t do much to marshal a comeback against a Tottenham side on overdrive.

There are not many teams in the Premier League than can match Manchester City’s expensively assembled squad, but one way of beating them is by simply outrunning them.

 

Underlying defensive jitters

For a team that is leading the Premier League log on almost all fronts, it’s hard to notice Manchester City’s vulnerability at the back.

The absence of skipper Vincent Kompany has without question destabilized the back four, but the presence of Nicolas Otamendi hasn’t provided the much needed voice at the defensive line either.

Other than holding great promise, John Stones is as quiet as a church mouse while Aleksandar Kolarov is as inconsistency as they come.

For as long as Kompany is absent, Manchester City’s underlying defensive woes can be put to test.

 

Unsettled Bravo

Whoever said with age comes experience has clearly never met Claudio Bravo.

Without taking anything away from his brilliant reflexes, his restlessness especially with back passes paints a grim picture of just how unsettled he is at his new club.

Exposed against Manchester United, then punished by both Celtic and Tottenham, the Chilean has certainly drawn unwarranted attention that other teams must exploit.

 

Written by Brian Humphrey

Follow Brian on Twitter @brihum

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