Save for the excellence of Joe Hart in the Man. City goal, the Premier League curtain raiser would also have been a first win of the season for Spurs. The England number one made excellent stops from Defoe, Huddlestone and Assou-Ekotto in the first half, and allowed his teammates the luxury of going into the second still on terms. Harry Redknapp gave an accurate summation of the game in his post-match comments:
"Hart was in great form. We made so many chances first half but just couldn't beat him. The way we played, the intensity of our game the way we passed it, the way we moved the ball, the way we pressed them - I couldn't have asked for more. We just needed that goal and if we'd got the first goal the game would have been totally different. We were fantastic in the first half and it was difficult to keep that up in the second half. They got more possession than they did in the first half, they overloaded a bit in midfield and they had lots of players coming to get around the ball to make it more difficult for us. To be fair, one or two of ours started to look a bit tired. I think we just suddenly ran out of a bit of steam but overall it was a great performance."
Spurs started the game with essentially the same team that lined up against Man. City in the Champions League decider a few short months ago, the only difference being the inclusion of Corluka ahead of Kaboul. By contrast there were expensive new faces in the City ranks but - with the possible exception of Yaya Toure - they did little to impress. In a side overloaded with holding midfielders, David Silva did not appear to know what his role was, while Aleksandar Kolarov was withdrawn at half-time.
As far as the established City players were concerned, this column had recently welcomed the possibility of Micah Richards making the move to White Hart Lane. Given his performance on Saturday, let's just say that Spurs should not be too rash in producing the checkbook. In fairness to the big defender, he was up against the excellent Gareth Bale, who gave him a torrid time as well as striking the post. Bale was supported superbly down the left hand side by Assou-Ekotto, and were it not for Hart's spectacular display, either of these players would have been a contender for man of the match. Assou-Ekotto made a vital last-ditch challenge to deny Shaun Wright-Phillips a goal, but it was his distribution out of defence that really caught the eye all afternoon.
All of the Spurs team could be satisfied with their contribution, including the substitutes who were introduced toward the end. One hope for this season is that more is seen of Giovani, who lit up the ground with his pace and dynamism. The main hope in the short term, however, is a positive result on the plastic pitch of Young Boys of Bern.