Mario Balotelli will get all the headlines, but James Milner played one of his best games for Manchester City to help the club to beat Spurs 3-2.
City lined up in a 4-4-2 with Samir Nasri and David Silva on the outside and Gareth Barry and Milner in the middle of midfield. This in some ways limits City as Nasri just doesn't combine as well with Silva, but given the desire to play two up front, and no Yaya Toure, the centre of midfield is where Milner should play.
Silva was given his normal free reign to roam although nominally being assigned to the right of midfield. This meant that Milner had to cover for Silva defensively when a play broke down. However, more than that, with Micah Richards playing right full back and occasionally moving forward, Milner would then drop back to cover for Richards all of this while also playing the central defensive midfield role with Barry.
Milner's value is emphasized by what happened in the game between Arsenal and United. Rafael, the United full back, went surging forward and was tackled in the Arsenal box. Arsenal counter attacked immediately and the ball was played into the left wing where United had not successfully rotated correctly allowing Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to find Robin van Persie for the equalizer.
Given the formations of Spurs and City with Harry Redknapp's club playing five in midfield the visitors really should have dominated, but Milner constantly made the correct decision to deny Modric and Bale the opportunities to cause trouble. I've written that Spurs have the best midfield in the Premier League. That wasn't the case on Sunday as Gareth Barry combined superbly with Milner to really prevent Spurs from hitting their stride.
And finally the controversies of the game. Lescott should have received a straight red for his elbow smash to Younes Kaboul. With Balotelli I'm not so sure. At full speed it looks like the striker is trying to regain his balance. In slow motion it looks like a clear stamp on Scott Parker. But when you are off balance you do stomp down to regain your footing. As it was Balotelli frankly I think most of us, including me, will tend towards a deliberate stamp.