Another big game, another big defeat for Tottenham. Last season, Tottenham gained notoriety for losing heavily to their rivals; 5-0 and 4-0 losses to Liverpool; 6-0 and 5-1 defeats to Man City; as well as a 4-0 loss to Chelsea, had seen Tottenham written off as pretenders with a weak mentality. A 3-0 loss to Liverpool earlier this season, had simply furthered that notion.
On paper, Tottenham's 4-1 loss to Man City should be categorised with the above results; however, unlike the lifeless the performances of the aforementioned, against City on Saturday, Tottenham showed a verve and resistance to going down that should serve as a sign of improvement for the club.
Barring the Chelsea game, Tottenham conceded very early in all of the aforementioned matches and their game on Saturday against City was no different. What was different was the way Tottenham reacted. In the past Tottenham had shriveled up into a ball and allowed their opponents to kick them around.
On Saturday, Tottenham hung in for the fight - their equaliser was a perfect example as they hounded Fernando into a mistake and swiftly put away the chance.
In fact, before City scored their first, Tottenham should have had a goal of their own as Ryan Mason had his shot well saved by Joe Hart.
City managed to get their noses back in front but Tottenham held on stubbornly, matching the 2014 champions blow for blow.
Their pressure finally paid off when they were awarded a penalty. Unfortunately, Roberto Soldado's weak attempt was captured by Joe Hart and City escaped unpunished. When Fazio was sent off and City scored the resulting penalty, there was no way back for the wounded Tottenham.
Nonetheless, despite the resounding 4-1 scoreline, Tottenham can take many positives, namely: had they defended better and been more clinical in front of goal, they could have gotten a draw from the Etihad, and very well could have even beaten them.
However, in order to give themselves those opportunities against their rivals, they need to be in the game with 30 minutes left. The only way to that is to be resilient and keep their opponents honest by pressing them into the ground.