In Spurs’ Under 23’s final competitive game of the 2020/21 season, Wayne Burnett’s side came up against the champions Manchester City, for the second time in a week. However, unfortunately Spurs lost 6-1, which was a real shame as Spurs have had a very good season at this level and finish in third place in Division One of the Premier League 2. Wayne Burnett’s side started with Thimothee Lo-Tutala in goal (his competitive Under 23 debut), whilst a back four consisting of Marcel Lavinier, Brooklyn Lyons-Foster, Tobi Omole and Dennis Cirkin, started in defence. Nile John and captain Jamie Bowden were in central midfield, whilst Elliot Thorpe and Dilan Markanday started out wide, either side of CAM Alfie Devine (Devine did often play out on the left flank). Dane Scarlett started up front for Spurs, in the absence of Kion Etete and Rodel Richards. Spurs got the game underway on a nice evening at Hotspur Way, and defender Brooklyn Lyons-Foster did well to intercept Cole Palmer’s early and promising forward pass towards Liam Delap. Not long afterwards and at the other end of the pitch, Manchester City goalkeeper James Trafford’s attempted pass to Tommy Doyle was intercepted by Jamie Bowden inside the visitors box. However, Bowden’s low side-footed effort was saved by the foot of James Trafford, in what was a glorious early chance for Spurs. Marcel Lavinier did well to block Ben Knight’s effort, before Tobi Omole gave the ball to Ben Knight on the edge of the Spurs box, but his goal attempt went wide. After receiving the ball out on the right flank, Marcel Lavinier went forward with it at some pace, he evaded the challenge of Romeo Lavia well, before passing the ball to Devine. The Warrington born midfielder cleverly worked his way into the Manchester City box before curling his effort wide of the Spurs goal.
After Bowden gave the ball away to Cole Palmer, the Manchester City winger passed the ball to Tommy Doyle on the edge of the Spurs box, but Omole did well to block his effort. Lavinier then blocked Liam Delap’s effort on goal, before Thimothee Lo-Tutala saved Cole Palmer’s attempt. At the other end of the pitch Alfie Devine had an effort deflected behind for a corner kick, and from that corner kick which was taken by Dilan Markanday, Brooklyn Lyons-Foster nodded the ball over the bar. After Liam Delap latched onto Cole Palmer’s pass, the skilful centre-forward ran into the Spurs penalty area, before calmly slotting the ball past Lo-Tutala to make it 1-0 to Manchester City. A matter of minutes later Liam Delap received the ball into his feet before running down the left side of the Spurs box and holding off Lyons-Foster, before curling the ball into the far corner of Lo-Tutala’s goal, 0-2. And Manchester City’s excellent start to the game got even better in the 28th minute, after Cole Palmer received the ball on the edge of the Spurs box before calmly curling the ball in off the right hand post of the goal and into the net, 0-3. Manchester City continued to play their exciting brand of attacking football, and a good block from Lyons-Foster was needed to stop James McAtee’s effort on goal, before Tobi Omole did really well to make a fine challenge on Cole Palmer in the Spurs box, to prevent a certain goal for the away team. Dane Scarlett ambitiously attempted to catch out Trafford from distance, but his effort went wide of the Manchester City goal.
A misplaced pass went straight to Elliot Thorpe inside the Manchester City box, but his effort was saved well by the feet of James Trafford. After receiving Lyons-Foster’s fine long pass out on the right flank, Dilan Markanday came inside and into the visitors box, before hitting the ball across the face of their goal, and then after the play was recycled Elliot Thorpe hit an effort wide of the goal. Tobi Omole received a yellow card from the referee for a foul on James McAtee, in what was the last piece of action from the first half. Manchester City got the game restarted after the break and it was the perfect start to the second half for them. After Cole Palmer finished well past Lo-Tutala from close range, after latching onto Tobi Omole’s pass out from defence, 0-4. A couple of moments later Lo-Tutala saved well low down, to prevent Ben Knight’s effort on goal, before Markanday did well to come forward with the ball. He then played a good pass into Alfie Devine down the left side of the Manchester City box, but James Trafford turned behind his effort, before Omole headed over Markanday’s resulting corner kick. Tobi Omole then did well to clear Ben Knight’s cross, before Liam Delap headed over another cross from the same player a couple of moments later. Lyons-Foster cleared away the ball from James McAtee’s cross, but Spurs could do nothing to prevent Manchester City’s fifth goal of the game shortly afterwards. After the visitors broke forward at pace through Cole Palmer, the winger then threaded the ball into the feet of Delap, who then continued into the Spurs box before firing the ball past Lo-Tutala and into the back of the net, despite the Spurs goalkeeper managing to get a hand on the ball, 0-5.
Second year scholar Romaine Mundle came on to replace Elliot Thorpe out on the right flank, in what was Spurs’ first change of the game. After receiving Dilan Markanday’s well weighted through-ball pass, Dane Scarlett continued into the Manchester City box before confidently sending the ball past James Trafford and into the back of the Manchester City goal, 1-5. After receiving teammate Cole Palmer’s pass down the right side of the Spurs box, Liam Delap’s fierce strike went just wide of the Spurs goal. Nile John blocked Cole Palmer’s shot, before Tommy Doyle fired an effort over Lo-Tutala’s goal, after Tobi Omole had blocked Cole Palmer’s effort behind for a corner kick. J’Neil Bennett came on to replace Dane Scarlett up front, for Wayne Burnett’s second change of the game. The very talented Cole Palmer hit an effort wide before Dilan Markanday whipped over a free-kick in a decent position, at the other end of the pitch. J’Neil Bennett did well to block Cole Palmer’s shot inside the Spurs box, before Cirkin had an effort on goal blocked at the opposite end of the pitch. Rafferty Pedder came on to replace Jamie Bowden in midfield late on in the game, before Ben Knight hit the ball over from the left side of the Spurs penalty area. After travelling forward towards the Spurs box, Manchester City player Romeo Lavia managed to find the bottom left hand corner of Lo-Tutala’s goal with a fine effort, after receiving Ben Knight’s pass, 1-6. After playing a good one-two with Markanday on the edge of the Manchester City box, Rafferty Pedder forced a save out of James Trafford.
After receiving the ball J’Neil Bennett hit the ball over James Trafford’s goal, before Lo-Tutala saved Tommy Doyle’s effort at the other end of the pitch, before the referee blew his whistle for full-time. It would be very easy to say that Spurs weren’t good, or focus on what they could have done to stop Manchester City scoring six goals, but sometimes you’ve just got to appreciate the brilliance of the opposition, and Manchester City were brilliant throughout yesterday’s game. It’s been a really good season for Spurs at Under 23 level, and that is a credit to the players and the coaches, who should all be very proud of helping the team to achieve their highest ever finish in the Premier League 2.
- Thimothee Lo-Tutala: On his competitive Spurs Under 23 debut, goalkeeper Thimothee Lo-Tutala made a decent number of saves to stop Manchester City from scoring more goals than they did. He was visibly frustrated that he unfortunately couldn’t keep out Romeo Lavia’s late goal, but any young goalkeeper would have found it difficult against Manchester City in Friday evenings game.
- Marcel Lavinier: I was impressed with some of the forward runs that Lavinier made from deep, and also some of his blocks inside the Spurs box. Yesterday’s competitive appearance was number 22 of the seasons for Lavinier, the most of any Spurs Under 23 player during the 2020/21 season.
- Brooklyn Lyons-Foster: Despite the fact that Spurs defence conceded six goals to Manchester City, I don’t think that the scoreline tells the story of how Lyons-Foster played at RCB. The defender who once again supported the attack well after making runs from deep, did make some good and important defensive contributions. The versatile 20 year old also kept some good defensive positioning, and his distribution out from defence was good, in my opinion.
- Tobi Omole: Obviously Tobi Omole would have been disappointed to have unfortunately given the ball to Cole Palmer, who as a result scored his second goal of the game. However, apart from that and some of his other passing out from defence, Omole impressed by making some really good defensive interventions during the game. And the 21 year old former Arsenal player has been consistently very good throughout the 2020/21 season, ever since he joined the club last autumn.
- Dennis Cirkin: Going forward I thought that the left-back made some powerful and purposeful runs from deep, showing good skill on the ball.
- Nile John: Playing as the deepest of the two central midfielders, second year scholar Nile John showed some fine skill on the ball in the middle of the pitch.
- Jamie Bowden: The Republic of Ireland youth international played the game as a number eight, and the Spurs captain got forward more than he would on other occasions this season, during his 77 minutes on the pitch. It has been really good to see him get a really good run of games this season, after missing some time with injury.
- Elliot Thorpe: Showing some good skill on the ball out on the right flank and going on some good forward runs, Thorpe also worked well and moved well off the ball, despite playing out of position. He came very close to scoring a goal during the first half, only to be denied by a fine save from James Trafford.
- Alfie Devine: Despite wearing the number ten shirt, Alfie Devine’s starting position was often out on the left flank, where I thought that he had a solid game. And during the first half he caused some problems for the Manchester City defence. He also worked tirelessly off the ball.
- Dilan Markanday: My man of the match, see below.
- Dane Scarlett: The scorer of our only goal of the match, centre-forward Dane Scarlett worked really hard off the ball, and he showed good composure to score from his only really chance of the game.
- Romaine Mundle: The second half substitute replaced Elliot Thorpe out on the the right flank for the final 62 minutes of the game.
- J’Neil Bennett: Showing some good skill on the ball after replacing Dane Scarlett up front during some of the second half, J’Neil Bennett looked good going forward during part of his time on the pitch.
- Rafferty Pedder: The energetic late substitute played a clever one-two with Dilan Markanday, before forcing a save out of James Trafford.
My man of the match: Dilan Markanday was superb against Manchester City on Friday, in my opinion. Although his starting number was 11, the 19 year old often started from a central position, and the player who threaded a nice forward pass into Dane Scarlett, to set the centre- forward up for his goal (fourth assist of the season), was really creative for Spurs throughout yesterday’s match. Drifting into good advanced positions and also going on some really clever and skilful forward runs, I thought that Markanday created more chances than any other Spurs player on the pitch. And the consistent and hardworking player also was good from set-pieces throughout the game, and also very difficult to get the ball off.
Spurs: Lo-Tutala, Lavinier, Cirkin, John, Lyons-Foster, Omole, Thorpe (Mundle 58), Bowden (c) (Pedder 77), Scarlett (Bennett 65), Devine, Markanday. Substitutes (not used): Kurylowicz, Paskotsi.
Manchester City: Trafford, Gomes, Sandler, Burns, Bernarbe (Robinson 65), Lavia, Palmer, Doyle (c), Delap, McAtee (Smith 86), Knight (Breckin 86). Substitute (not used): Slicker.