An 89th minute Dejan Kulusevski header earned Tottenham Hotspur a dramatic 3-3 draw with Manchester City on Sunday.
Six goals were shared between the two sides in one of the best games of the Premier League season so far, with City’s defensive complacency ultimately proving costly for the treble winners at the Etihad Stadium.
The result sees City drop down to third in the league table, now three points adrift of leaders Arsenal, while Tottenham sit in fifth after securing their first point in three games.
How the game unfolded
As expected, both teams had acres of space to play into in the opening minutes of the game. That space was almost exploited by Jeremy Doku in the fifth minute when the Belgian forced Guglielmo Vicario into a smart save at his near post, and then it was exploited by Spurs directly from the resulting corner kick.
After clearing their lines, Dejan Kulusevski played a quick searching ball across the pitch to Heung-min Son who, after muscling Doku out of way, was able to wrestle his way into the penalty area. The South Korean’s subsequent effort on goal wasn’t particularly powerful, but managed to squirm its way under Ederson and into the net nonetheless.
Just three minutes later, Son was on the scoresheet again…this time for the wrong team however. Spurs’ captain saw an inviting Julian Alvarez set piece from the right flank flick off his outstretched leg and, rather unfortunately, past his own goalkeeper to make it 1-1.
Three minutes after it was 1-1, it was so so nearly 2-1. After some untidy play from Spurs in their own defensive third, Bernardo Silva stole the ball and fed it beautifully across goal to Erling Haaland. Rather amazingly, though, with the goal gaping and no pressure on him, the usually clinical striker side-footed the ball well wide of the post.
The action continued at break-neck speed for the rest of the first half, with Doku continuing to cause Tottenham’s backline a whole host of issues with his directness. The Belgian was so nearly rewarded for his positive play on the half hour mark when he dropped the shoulder to drift effortlessly past Ben Davies. His subsequent effort form the left of the box was ferocious enough to beat Vicario, but instead of crashing into the net, crashed off the crossbar.
City didn’t have to rue that miss for too long as, shortly after, a wonderfully fluid move would culminate in Phil Foden making it 2-1. After being slid through the ball by Doku, Alvarez notched up his second assist of the game by cleverly tapping the ball into the path of Foden, who made no mistake with his first-time finish.
The Citizens were close to putting the game beyond doubt on a few occasions before the half-time whistle, with Alvarez hitting the foot of the post with a decent effort from the edge of the box, and Haaland ballooning an effort from just inside the box well over the crossbar.
Despite a defensive-minded change from Ange Postecoglu at half-time, the onslaught from City continued at the start of the second period with Alvarez forcing Vicario into a stunning save with a strike from the edge of the penalty area.
After that save, Spurs began to find their way back into the game in the ensuing 20 minute period, with Man City notably taking their foot off the gas in that period.
Tottenham would make them pay for this in the 69th minute, when Giovani Los Celso latched onto the ball 20 yards from goal and curled wonderfully into the bottom right corner of the net.
That equaliser inevitably woke City back up, and they, inevitably, re-took the lead in the 81st minute. The goal would come from the out-of-form Jack Grealish – his first since April – who raced into the six-yard box to tap home a square pass from Haaland.
Amazingly, that wasn’t the last goal of the game as, in the 89th minute, Spurs made it 3-3 through Dejan Kulusevski. The Swede rose at the back post from a Brennan Johnson cross to thump home a headed effort into the top left corner.
GK: Ederson – 4/10 – Really should have saved Son’s shot which made it 1-0.
CB: Kyle Walker – 6/10 – The best of City’s defenders on the day…although that probably isn’t saying much.
CB: Ruben Dias – 4/10 – The centre-back has been generally very under-par this season, and his so-so performances continued on Sunday.
CB: Josko Gvardiol – 4/10 – Sloppy on and off the ball.
DM: Manuel Akanji – 4/10 – Not at the races in the middle of the park.
DM: Rodri – 6/10 – Played a few very good passes to help City transition from defence to attack.
RM: Phil Foden – 7/10 – Scored a lovely goal in the first half and his movement off the right flank caused Spurs plenty of problems.
AM: Julian Alvarez – 8/10 – Set up two of three goals and was generally fantastic throughout.
AM: Bernardo Silva – 7/10 – Created three chances for his teammates on the day and, had Haaland brought his shooting boots, he would’ve registered an assist.
LM: Jeremy Doku – 7/10 – City’s best player in the first half, he caused Spurs a boatload of problems with his dynamic and direct running.
ST: Erling Haaland – 4/10 – Missed chances you would’ve bet your life on him converting.
SUB: Jack Grealish (52′ for Doku) – 7/10 – Scored City’s third goal of the game to give Pep Guardiola some selection headaches moving forward.
SUB: Rico Lewis (71′ for Foden) – 5/10
SUB: Nathan Ake (87′ for Gvardiol) – 5/10
SUB: Mateo Kovacic (87′ for Alvarez) – 5/10
Manager – Pep Guardiola – 5/10 – There’s a clear need for Guardiola to reinvigorate his team. On Sunday, City once again were incredibly sloppy and lacked enthusiasm at times too.
GK: Guglielmo Vicario – 6/10 – Made a few very good saves and, ultimately, could do nothing about the goals he conceded.
RB: Pedro Porro – 5/10 – A difficult task dealing with Doku on the day.
CB: Emerson Royal – 4/10 – It’s fair to say that Emerson didn’t enjoy being Vicario’s first port of call when in possession.
CB: Ben Davies – 5/10 – Looked out of place at times in the middle of Spurs’ defence.
LB: Destiny Udogie – 6/10 – Struggled to deal with Foden’s movement in the first half, but got to grips with the game in the second.
DM: Yves Bissouma – 4/10 – Worked his socks off in the middle of the park, but so sloppy in possession at times and it cost his team in the final ten minutes.
DM: Giovani Lo Celso – 7/10 – Scored a brilliant goal to make it 2-2, and put in probably his best performance since his loan spell at Real Betis in 2019.
RM: Brennan Johnson – 7/10 – A constant threat with his pace on the break. Set up Kulu’s goal with a great cross to the back post.
AM: Dejan Kulusevski – 8/10 – A very good showing from the Sweden international, who bagged an assist for the opening goal of the game and scored a thumping equaliser late on. He’s really turned a corner since moving into the central attacking midfield role.
LM: Bryan Gil – 3/10 – The Spaniard just doesn’t look up to the task at this level both physicially and technically. Rightfully subbed off at half-time.
ST: Heung-min Son – 7/10 – Scored at both ends of the park inside the opening 15 minutes. The Spurs captain made a lot of good decisions on the ball throughout the game, and was at the heart of everything good that his team did.
SUB: Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (45′ for Gil) – 6/10
SUB: Oliver Skipp (79′ for Lo Celsco) – 5/10
SUB: Richarlison (87′ for Bissouma) – 5/10
SUB: Jamie Donley (90′ for Johnson) – N/A
Manager – Ange Postecoglou – 7/10 – Spurs were typically open in the first half, but a small tactical tweak at half-time from the manager really turned the game around for his side.
Man of the match: Dejan Kulusevski (Tottenham Hotspur)