Pochettino Silenced Fernandinho’s Brilliance With a Kenyan Star

Manchester City’s sensational striker Fernandinho has arguably been known as City’s key player this season.

The Brazilian has a remarkable passing range, dictating City from the base of midfield.

Perhaps the most important side of his game, to Guardiola, is the more cynical approach he takes to stopping opponents, or “technical fouling” as Jose Mourinho dubbed it.

He put on a masterful display of the dark arts in north London last week, chipping away to Harry Kane until the Spurs striker went full-blooded into Fabian Delph and ended up hobbling down the tunnel.

City’s lynchpin was bizarrely named on the bench, here, his absence telling early on in the shambolic defending which contributed to Son’s brace.

At the base of Tottenham’s midfield was a concern. Victor Wanyama has been on the fringe of Pochettino’s squad since returning from injury and has not played a full game in the Champions League all season.

With Sissoko forced off injured, the burden of controlling Tottenham’s rhythm and stemming the flow of City attacks laid solely with him.

The erratic nature of the game flowed through his performance. There were some questionable moments but more often than not some crucial challenges, and fouls too.

City staff were incensed that the Kenyan had already been booked by the time his first caution arrived, in the 77th minute. As City missed their master of the dark arts, Tottenham found a new one.

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