Tuesday 11 November 2008


Dunne off as Bent spurs Harry to victory
Another suicidal performance from Manchester City captain Richard Dunne helped condemn Mark Hughes’ side to a dismal 2-1 defeat against in-form Tottenham Hotspur.

Despite the visitors starting the brightest, it was City who took the lead in the 16th minute. Shaun Wright-Phillips broke well down the right and set up Darius Vassell, whose shot was parried by Heurelho Gomes, only to land at the feet of Robinho. He made no mistake of firing home and giving City the lead. Ireland went close to doubling City’s lead on 24 minutes but Gomes produced a good save.

But it was on 26 minutes when the match was turned completely on its head. Gelson Fernandes committed a challenge on David Bentley- and was promptly dismissed for his second bookable offence, after first fouling Luka Modric. The decision had an immediate impact as Luka Modric forced Joe Hart into a spectacular save.

But it was inevitable that the equaliser would come, and calamity captain Richard Dunne played a big part in it. Dunne completely missed a long ball from Modric, allowing Darren Bent to pounce and slot home under Joe Hart. The City players’ confidence had been shot at and Spurs thrived on the home side’s sloppy passing and technical inadequacy.

After the break, Spurs continued to dominate possession and Modric was at the heart of every Spurs attack. But City refused to lie down and die; Wright-Phillips had an effort saved by Gomes, who was also forced into making a sublime saved after Dunne’s header from a Garrido cross had powered towards goal.

City’s resistance was futile and Redknapp’s team took the lead on 65 minutes when Jermaine Jenas’ through ball found the in-form Bent, who shot the ball home off the post. But the Blues didn’t give up hope and Robinho continued to rally the troops. In the 75th minute his 25 yard shot was palmed past the post by the active Gomes. Gomes was once again forced into action when Stephen Ireland shot at close range.

City misery continued on 83 minutes when Dunne hacked down Bent as he was through on goal. Mike Dean had no option but to show the red card to the defender who had blatantly fouled the Spurs striker who would have possibly gained a hat-trick. Card-happy Dean continued to flash the red cards on the 90th minute when Assou-Ekotto committed a harsh foul on Pablo Zabaleta.

The result condemned City to another defeat and Dunne’s glaring error raising questions about his place as captain and defender in the side. Dunne wasn’t the only one to blame- Spurs took full advantage of City’s 10-men handicap and Modric controlled everything through midfield- an area where City lack grit and power. Micah Richards is struggling with form and, although Dietmar Hamann is just the type of player the Blues need, he is struggling to cope with the fast pace of the Premier League nowadays. With City just two points off the bottom of the table, Sunday’s game at Hull will prove to be a six-pointer and unfortunately one that Hughes must win if he is to keep the fans, critics and new owners at bay, despite today’s vote of confidence.

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