Manchester City 4 Tottenham 1: Five things we learned

What we learned from City's impressive victory at the Etihad

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The Independent Football

Dodgy in defence

Unless there was an injury to Jan Vertonghen – and he was on the bench, so we must presume he was fit – it was a surprise to see the Spurs manager choose Federico Fazio at the centre of his defence.

Surely Vertonghen would have been a far better man to counter Sergio Aguero, even though he did play twice for Belgium during the Euro 2016 qualifiers. As it was, Younes Kaboul and Fazio had a torrid time keeping out City’s peerless centre-forward – and Fazio was sent off

Be more flexible, Poch

Tottenham were a threat in attack in this game. Indeed, had Roberto Soldado scored from the spot, it would have been 2-2 midway through the second half. But City were able to create so much space with their passing and movement in attack and, with his side only 2-1 down at half-time, Pochettino could have thought about replacing the ineffective Erik Lamela with midfielder Benjamin Stambouli and switched to 4-3-3 to give his side greater solidity and control in midfield. Pochettino’s principles are admirable but perhaps he could be more adaptable.

Roberto Soldado missed a penalty for Spurs

Praise for production line

It has received little attention, but Tottenham’s academy is starting to bear fruit. Ryan Mason, the latest home-grown player to break into the first team, produced another composed performance in midfield. Never over-awed by high quality opponents, Mason used the ball intelligently and made dangerous forward bursts, one of which would have resulted in an early goal were it not for a fine save from Joe Hart. Mason, Andros Townsend, Harry Kane and Danny Rose were all named in the matchday squad after coming through Spurs’ junior sides.

Without Champions League football, Spurs can’t keep Hugo Lloris

Even though he signed a new five-year contract in the summer, it is hard to imagine the goalkeeper staying at White Hart Lane if they fail to reach Europe’s main club competition next season. Spurs conceded four goals but it would have been many more without Lloris – a story that has become all too familiar in 2014. How long before the France captain becomes dejected with the performances of those supposed to protect him and decides it is time to leave?

Hugo Lloris was superb despite the score line

Don’t despair

It might sound a strange thing to say after yet another tonking by City. But Spurs need to remember that they aren’t running the same race as Manuel Pellegrini’s superstars, bankrolled by Abu Dhabi oil money. They don’t have Gareth Bale or Luka Modric anymore. The best players will always make the difference and those of the quality of Sergio Aguero, David Silva and Jesus Navas are well out of Tottenham’s reach. City and Chelsea are the class of the field this season. Spurs’ fortunes will be decided by their results against the other pretenders.