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Tottenham’s defensive showing against Man City proves they can mount a proper title charge

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This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…

After seasons of watching Tottenham’s Premier League title challenges fall by the wayside during the business end of the campaign, there is understandably a question mark surrounding the north London side. Can they last the distance? After all, maintaining an assault on the league is more of a marathon than a sprint, and Spurs have slipped up at the final hurdle more than once.

But in grinding out a 2-2 draw at the home of the Premier League champions last weekend, Mauricio Pochettino’s side delivered a statement that this year could be slightly different. The Lilywhites were far from their best and it could conceivably be suggested that out of their recent titanic tussles against City, it was their worst performance against them.

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They managed just three shots on goal in the entire game, whilst Pep Guardiola’s rampant side mustered ten times as much. For most of the game, Spurs struggled to really lay a hand on their heavyweight opponents, but rather than laying down for the count, they got back up and connected twice with devastating sucker-punches.

First, it was an instantaneous reply from Erik Lamela that showed that Pochettino’s men had a bit more mental belief about them. Then, the Spurs boss showed how much of a game-changing influence he can be himself by watching super-sub Lucas Moura head home the most improbable of equalisers. The two goals were so different in terms of execution, but they both emphasised one thing. The north Londoners have the resilience to fight back.

Previous teams may have come to the Etihad and simply been overwhelmed by the attacking talent at hand. Spurs no doubt rode their luck – not least of which was another piece of timely VAR intervention towards the end – but it all tied in to the idea that they have the spirit and quality to dig deep, and grind out important results in the most difficult of times.

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The Lilywhites’ rearguard blocked 12 attempts, made 23 regular clearances and a further 11 with their head. It was the kind of backs-to-the-wall defending that is oh-so-necessary over the course of a season.

You become champions by triumphing over adversity numerous times. Spurs faced their first battle last Saturday, and by coming out on top with a hard-earned point, they laid down a marker for their title credentials this season.

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Article title: Tottenham’s defensive showing against Man City proves they can mount a proper title charge

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