Spurs star who Carragher labelled as “stupid” was worse than Davies v City
Tottenham Hotspur avoided a fourth straight loss as they held Manchester City to a 3-3 draw at The Etihad on Sunday in the Premier League.
Spurs have gone 1-0 up in each of the last four games but this was the first match that they were able to come away with a point from.
Ange Postecoglou’s side has been hit with a host of injury and suspension issues that have caused a drastic slide in form, after going unbeaten over the opening ten league games of the campaign.
The likes of Cristian Romero, James Maddison, Micky van de Ven, and Manor Solomon, among others, were all unavailable for selection.
Maddison, in particular, has been a miss after starting the season with three goals and five assists in 11 Premier League appearances, having joined from Leicester City over the summer.
However, they were able to secure a fantastic point, that could have been all three, thanks to goals from Heung-min Son, Gio Lo Celso, and Dejan Kulusevski.
The final and equalising goal from Kulusevski was a fantastic moment for Postecoglou and Spurs as the Sweden international showed great determination to beat Nathan Ake in the air and inadvertently used his shoulder to find the top corner of Ederson’s goal.
Van de Ven and Romero have been huge absentees from the Spurs backline as full-backs Ben Davies and Emerson Royal have been tasked with keeping things tight, which is something that they have been unable to do.
However, defensive problems are not solely caused, or solved, by central defenders or full-backs, as you defend as a team and one of Postecoglou’s midfielders failed to play their part – Yves Bissouma.
The Mali international lost the midfield battle and allowed players to bypass him far too easily as City seemed to create chances at will in spells throughout the game.
The central midfielder was worse than makeshift centre-back Davies, who struggled at times but also had some strong defensive moments.
Ben Davies’ performance against Manchester City in numbers
The central defender, who is a natural left-back, was left isolated at times during the first half as Pedro Porro failed to provide him with sufficient protection against Jeremy Doku.
This allowed the impressive Belgian wizard to cause constant problems with his pace and dribbling ability. There was one particular chance where the forward faced up Davies in the box and was able to dictate the situation with ease before firing an excellent shot against the crossbar.
The Wales international struggled to deal with the pace of City’s frontline at times but also showcased some of his strong defensive attributes.
Davies won 100% (4/4) of his duels throughout the match, including both of his battles on the deck and both of his aerial contests, as he displayed his strength against the likes of Erling Haaland and Julian Alvarez.
The left-footed enforcer made five clearances, one tackle, and one interception across the 90 minutes as he made a number of impressive interventions, one of which led to him winning the ball off Haaland to initiate the move that Kulusevski scored from.
However, there is no getting away from the fact that City did create 2.64 xG (Expected Goals) worth of chances and Davies was part of that defence.
To his credit, the Welsh titan did work hard to prevent the hosts from creating even more opportunities to put the game to bed before Spurs were able to equalise.
And he was far from the worst performer on the pitch, which is an unwanted title that could be awarded to Bissouma after his poor showing in the middle of the park.
Yves Bissouma’s performance against Manchester City in numbers
The central midfielder had a howler against City as he struggled throughout the game and failed to make an impact in or out of possession.
He returned to the starting XI after being suspended for the 2-1 defeat to Aston Villa last time out and was tasked with controlling the game in the engine room for Tottenham.
Bissouma was unable to do that as City’s players got the better of him far too often throughout the game, and he did not showcase the best of his qualities.
He did complete 88% of his 48 attempted passes but they were not of much consequence for Spurs as the midfielder did not create a single chance for his teammates and failed to consistently break past City’s press.
The worst moment of his performance was a huge one in the match as his sloppy play in possession allowed Manchester City to win the ball back on the edge of the box.
Bissouma was unable to find his way past several Cityzens forwards and then lost out to Rodri in a 50/50 challenge, which allowed the Spaniard to tee up Erling Haaland, who then rolled the ball across to Jack Grealish for him to slot in what could have been the winning strike without Kulusevski’s subsequent intervention.
Jamie Carragher, who was on co-commentary duty for Sky Sports’ coverage of the match, described it as an “absolutely stupid” piece of play from the former Brighton man.
Elite teams, such as City, will punish silly errors at the back and Spurs may wonder what could have been if they had not given away such a cheap goal.
Off the ball, Bissouma’s performance also left a lot to be desired. He lost five of his eight ground duels and only made one tackle to win the ball back, along with zero interceptions.
The Mali international has averaged 4.6 tackles and interceptions combined per match in the Premier League this season, which shows that his return of one against City was a significant drop off from his usual defensive output.
FootballLondon reporter Alasdair Gold gave him a match rating of 4/10 and described his performance as a ‘sloppy’ one, which is backed up by the aforementioned statistics.
His contributions, or lack thereof at times, on and off the ball left far too much to be desired as the central midfielder had a howler against the reigning champions.
Postecoglou will now be hoping that Bissouma is back to his reliable best when they host West Ham United in midweek on Thursday night.News Related