Manchester City 1
Tottenham Hotspur 1
DESPITE the dire predictions of mediocrity some good points emerged from the match at Maine Road yesterday. For Manchester City it might have been considered a triumph that the numbers of their team, at least three of whom were only introduced to their colleagues on the eve of the season, recognised each other well enough to pass the ball in the right places occasionally. Spurs did not quite have this difficulty of unfamiliarity to overcome but, given their pre-season form and an injury list you could be considered unlucky to have after 20 matches, a point was a golden haul.
Not, in truth, that it is easy to envisage either of these sides having any profound influence on the destiny of the title. There was a lack of inventiveness in the pattern of play which did nothing to lend credence to the Premiership's self-promotion as the greatest league in the world.
Both the goals were created by defensive shortcomings. Spurs, having lost Justin Edinburgh to an accidental blow in the face in the 18th minute, were probably worth their lead 16 minutes later. Kevin Scott, the substitute full-back, found himself in space on the flank and did not waste his cross. It might have found either Teddy Sheringham or Chris Armstrong who were both left unattended and perhaps he was grateful it got to the former as the latter had shown little inclination to shrug off his reputation as a non-scoring goalscorer. Sheringham planted his header precisely in the left-hand corner.
The goalkeeper, Eike Immel, was not at fault, which could not be said for the City equaliser eight minutes into the second half. Nicky Summerbee unfurled a tantalising cross from the right as the hard-working Uwe Rosler backed away from his markers. Ian Walker, being talked up as a new goalkeeping star, went for the ball. Maybe he was blinded by the sun or by his luminous jersey but he made a hash of gathering it either way. Rosler's header looped over him and under the bar. Neither side was menacing enough thereafter to deserve to take all the points.
Of the new signings, Kit Symons at the heart of City's defence was outstanding, Georgi Kinkladze in midfield made some telling passes while the pounds 4.5m Armstrong failed to score. He must start doing so shortly.