13 Feb As Man Metropolis and Guardiola march in the direction of the title, Mourinho’s Spurs limp together with fading top-four hopes
MANCHESTER, England — It is not all dangerous information for Jose Mourinho. The Tottenham Hotspur supervisor can nonetheless declare to be the final coach to mastermind a win towards Pep Guardiola’s Manchester Metropolis, though that distinction won’t have supplied a lot comfort as Spurs headed again to London after a 3-Zero defeat towards the runaway Premier League leaders on Saturday.
However with Tottenham now dealing with a battle simply to complete within the high 4 this season after struggling their fourth defeat in 5 league video games, the fading reminiscence of that 2-Zero dwelling win towards Metropolis final November at the very least gives Mourinho the best to say he nonetheless is aware of easy methods to beat the perfect. Sadly for Mourinho, that’s what his rivalry with Guardiola has now turn into: a fading reminiscence. Whereas Guardiola wins trophies and breaks data, after which threatens to repeat all of it at Metropolis, Mourinho is locked in a battle with himself to show that he’s not yesterday’s man. Wins like that one final November nonetheless matter to Mourinho.
If he beats his outdated rival within the Carabao Cup ultimate in April (his 1-Zero win with Manchester United in October 2016 stays the final time Guardiola was knocked out of the competitors), Mourinho will should have a good time one other trophy, however the one-time Particular One does not come shut when the largest prizes are handed out these days, and the Carabao Cup is perhaps nearly as good because it will get.
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Guardiola has received that exact trophy in every of the previous three seasons. Two years in the past, it was the primary leg of a home treble and Metropolis are on course to try this once more this 12 months. They might even win the Champions League, too. And having secured a 16th successive win in all competitions with this victory towards Spurs, who can critically bet towards Metropolis sweeping the board this season?
However that’s the glittering street forward: trophies and historical past lurking at each flip.
There was a time when Mourinho was on the same path throughout his first spell at Chelsea after which Internazionale, however it’s all about Guardiola now. This was the 25th assembly between the 2 males in all competitions for all golf equipment, and Guardiola has received 11 in comparison with Mourinho’s seven, with the opposite seven ending stage. For Mourinho’s sake, let’s not speak in regards to the trophy depend.
On the Etihad on Saturday, Mourinho’s team had been dominated from begin to end — apart from the 14th minute when Harry Kane despatched a free kick towards the Metropolis crossbar — and the house facet may have received by a higher margin.
“A recent team towards a really drained team,” Mourinho mentioned after the sport. “However a team that began the sport very nicely.
“I’m very, very proud of the gamers’ angle. I had guys on the pitch who performed two hours a few days in the past they usually gave all the pieces.”
Mourinho at the very least confirmed ambition together with his beginning lineup, by boldly choosing 4 forwards in Kane, Erik Lamela, Son Heung-Min and Lucas Moura, nevertheless it made no distinction. He and his team nonetheless had no reply to Metropolis’s waves of assaults as Ilkay Gundogan as soon as once more scored twice, having hit two at Liverpool final week, after Rodri’s opener from the penalty spot.
However there was by no means any trace of a repeat of the win on the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, when Mourinho’s team went high with 20 factors from 9 video games. They’ve since taken 16 factors from a attainable 42, dropping to eighth place within the course of.
As for Metropolis, they’ve received 13 of 15 league video games and drawn two since shedding at Spurs. Again then, they had been as little as 11th, however they now sit high, seven factors away from second-placed Leicester Metropolis, with a recreation in hand on Brendan Rodgers’s team. Manchester United can shut the hole to 5 factors by profitable at West Bromwich Albion on Sunday, however Metropolis play their recreation in hand at Everton on Wednesday and a win at Goodison Park will certainly sign the top of this season’s title race.
The concern for the chasing pack is that Metropolis had been so snug in profitable this recreation — each going ahead and defensively. They didn’t have to hit high gear to say the three factors and the win was achieved with out the injured Kevin De Bruyne and with Ruben Dias and Sergio Aguero solely match sufficient to take a spot on the substitutes’ bench.
Metropolis’s first purpose got here from the penalty spot on 22 minutes, when Rodri made it 1-Zero after Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg had fouled Gundogan.
“A contemporary penalty,” Mourinho mentioned. “A contemporary penalty is one the place even if you happen to contact with a nail it may be a penalty.”
Davinson Sanchez denied Metropolis a second on 42 minutes with a goal-line block from Gundogan’s close-range shot, however the latter was on the scoresheet early the second half when he beat Hugo Lloris with a tame left-foot strike. Gundogan’s second on 66 minutes was excellent — the Germany worldwide managed a protracted clearance by goalkeeper Ederson earlier than beating Sanchez after which scoring previous Lloris.
The sport was received by then and the title race has the same sense of inevitability. Metropolis may lose once more earlier than the top of the season, nevertheless it’s troublesome to see them dropping seven or eight factors.
Metropolis and Guardiola march on, however Mourinho and Spurs are limping. The Spurs boss has little to smile about proper now — other than being the final man to beat Guardiola.