Kaboul 68 – Dzeko 31, 41, 55 & 90+3, Aguero 60
Since arriving from German outfit Wolfsburg back in January, Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko had struggled to live up to his £27m transfer fee with just the two Premier League goals to his name in 15 games last season.
However, the Bosnia-Herzegovina international could hardly have been more impressive at the start of this Premier League campaign, scoring four of Manchester City’s five goals against Tottenham Hotspur to help his side maintain their 100% start to the new Premier League campaign in stunning fashion.
The latest new arrival at Manchester City, former Arsenal midfielder Samir Nasri, made an immediate impact on his debut, linking with Spanish wizard David Silva and causing havoc for the Tottenham defence as they drifted infield to devastating effect. Combined with Dzeko’s movement, City’s forward line was a blur of activity and did not let up on the Tottenham defence at any point during the 90 minutes.
As impressive as Manchester City were going forward, questions must be asked of Spurs centre-back pairing Michael Dawson and Younes Kaboul, who allowed Dzeko a remarkable amount of time and space inside the penalty area and were severely punished as a result. With both Tom Huddlestone and Luka Modric starting in midfield – the latter in possibly his final Spurs game – there was little graft to go with the craft. By employing two playmakers in Huddlestone and Modric, Redknapp left his defence unprotected against City’s midfield surges.
Roberto Mancini’s decision to start Pablo Zabaleta and Gael Clichy in the left and right full-back berths proved to be a shrewd move, as they successfully nullified the threat of Tottenham duo Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon in wide areas, while the unsung hero of a star studded Manchester City squad, Gareth Barry, again played his part, snuffing out numerous Tottenham attacks and allowing the trio of Silva, Nasri and Sergio Aguero the freedom to express themselves in more advanced positions.
The introduction of Jermaine Defoe, gave the home fans hope, his direct and energetic approach troubling Manchester City on occasions in the closing stages, a contrast to the lumbering Peter Crouch who started the game. Starved of service, Crouch was unable to make an impact on City’s well-protected defence. Goalkeeper Joe Hart had a few saves to make – Tottenham managed a not inconsiderable 10 shots on target, to City’s 12 – but the England international was only beaten when slack marking at a corner left him with little chance of stopping Kaboul’s header.
It was all in vain though, as Manchester City cruised to a devastating 5-1 victory to further enhance their title credentials, while Redknapp will be happy when the transfer window closes on Wednesday night, as the Luka Modric saga continues to cause disruption both on and off the pitch.