Tottenham Hotspur were ripped apart at White Hart Lane as Roberto Mancini finally removed the shackles from his multi-million pound Manchester City team.
The 5-1 Sunday afternoon thrashing experienced by Spurs, was a culmination of several factors. Millions of pounds worth of investment, an incredible depth of talent and a system designed to unleash its full potency. Mancini has finally realised that you don’t need to focus on defence, when you have players like Kun Aguero, Samir Nasri and David Silva keeping eight of the opposition players occupied.
More importantly for City though, Mancini has learnt that you do not need one star player if you have a team of them.
The Argentine, Carlos Tevez, has for so long been the key component of City. His transfer signalled the rise of Manchester’s blue half, but it hasn’t always been the romance story the giant blue poster portrayed it to be.
Tevez first played under the stewardship of Mark Hughes, who after a string of poor results was promptly sacked and controversially replaced by Mancini. The Italian has also appeared at some points to be close to edge himself, and has endured results which may have may have signalled the end of his reign.
When Mancini arrived at Eastlands he was lambasted by players such as Craig Bellamy, regarding the intensity and unnecessary pushing of players in training, but the Italians hard-line is visibly working on his squad.
The clear benefactors of this are Yay Toure, Garteh Barry and Edin Dzeko, the trio used to lumber through 90 minutes visibly weakening towards as the clock ticked down, now they appear sharp and focused right up to the final whistle. Toure’s two successive match-winning goals on the vast field of Wembley, towards the end of last season are clear proof that Mancini’s off field ideas are being transmitted on to the pitch. The early season revelation Dzeko looks trim, powerful and hungry for goals, the four he grabbed at White Hart Lane owe as much to his skill and drive as the subtlety of his supporting cast.
Mancini has literally sorted the wheat from the chaff and is now enjoying his post match press conferences. Where before he would have to field questions on his future, now he is having to down play the expectations on his stellar squad. The Italian has become visibly become a stronger manager and how he has dealt with Tevez’s request to leave, shows that he has supreme confidence in himself.
The Blue juggernaut is easing through the gears and it seems the only team able to stop it will be its neighbours Manchester United.
Whilst City were signalling their intent to the world, Harry Redknapp, the Spurs manager was busy giving Chairman Daniel Levy a crystal clear PowerPoint presentation of where Spurs must strengthen.
Even the most optimistic of Spurs fan knew that Sunday’s task was a monumental one, but Redknapps inclusion of want away Luka Modric and Niko Kranjcar in centre midfield distinguished the faintest hope.
The old adage of attack fire with fire may be Redknapp’s ethos, but you do not approach and inferno with a Clipper Lighter.
The inclusion of Peter Crouch who is rumoured to be leaving was another mystery. According to reports Stoke City have made a bid which Levy is willing to accept, but Redknapp is not, however, after yet another wasteful performance in front of goal, the Spurs manager must be questioning his faith in Crouch.
It was a puzzling and bitterly disappointing day for the north London club and is a clear indication that Redknapps suggestion that Spurs can challenge for the title was a ridiculous one.
Tottenham have major issues to address in the forth coming days, they must add additional quality to the strike force, centre mid and at the heart of the defence. The club must also shed the dead wood which is financially hampering their forays into the transfer market. Alan Hutton, Jermaine Jenas, Gio Dos Santos, David Bentley and Roman Pavlyuchenko, has to be cut from the wage bill.
The significance of this result is that Redknapp must alter his expectations. Spurs’ main rivals this season will be Liverpool and Arsenal. They can longer compete with the finances of City and Sir Alex Fergusons ability to keep creating title challenging teams.