Carragher: Ortega has won PL for City – and Son miss will haunt Arsenal


Jamie Carragher says Stefan Ortega has won Manchester City the title – and that his late save to deny Heung-Min Son will “haunt” Arsenal fans.

City are just one win from the title after their 2-0 victory at Tottenham on Tuesday moved them two points clear of the Gunners with just one game to play.

However, a draw at Spurs would have kept Arsenal on top of the table – meaning the title would have been in their hands going into the final day.

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Is this Manchester City’s title-defining moment? Stefan Ortega makes a huge save from Heung-Min Son as he closed in on goal

That scenario almost came to pass when, in the 86th minute at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Manuel Akanji was robbed of possession inside his own half.

Son raced goalwards and had only Ortega – the City No 2 who replaced the injured Ederson earlier in the second half – to beat.

With the goal at his mercy, Son’s shot was brilliantly saved by Ortega, before Erling Haaland scored his second goal of the game from the penalty spot just minutes later to secure a vital three points.

Speaking on the Gary Neville Podcast at full-time, Carragher said: “[Tottenham] gave Man City more problems than I’ve probably seen anybody give them for a long time, in terms of the chances they created.

“Ortega, tonight alone, has won them the Premier League title. Obviously a lot’s gone into that over the season but when you look at this game, if he doesn’t make those saves at 1-0, Arsenal will win the league. That’s how close it is.”

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Highlights from Tottenham’s defeat to Manchester City in the Premier League

Carragher compared Ortega’s save to the dramatic long-range goal scored by then-City captain Vincent Kompany that beat Leicester 1-0 and moved his side above Liverpool going into the final day of the 2018/19 season.

“When I think of me a few years ago as a Liverpool fan, watching Vincent Kompany put that shot in against Leicester, that is that moment now for Arsenal fans,” said Carragher.

“That Son chance is the moment Arsenal fans will remember in five, 10 years’ time. Even if they win the title in the next five years – and they’ve got a chance of doing that because they’re a great team with a great manager – that chance will still haunt them.”

Guardiola: I thought ‘oh no, not again!’

Pep Guardiola slumped to the floor as Akanji conceded possession and Son – who has scored eight goals against City in his career – raced towards goal.

However, Ortega saved his side and Guardiola was delighted with his goalkeeper, who joined City from German side Arminia Bielefeld for free two years ago.

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Jamie Redknapp, Daniel Sturridge and Micah Richards react to Manchester City’s win over Spurs and how it moves Pep Guardiola’s men to within touching distance of their fourth Premier League title in a row

“Ortega saved the actions, otherwise Arsenal is champion,” conceded Guardiola. “That is the reality in modern football. The margins are so, so tight.”

Asked about falling to the floor as Son looked set to score, Guardiola joked: “I have problems with my back and that position is better!

“What I said is, ‘oh God!’ Do you know how many times Son punishes us in the last seven or eight years, with Harry Kane?

“I said, ‘no, not again’. But then Stefan made an incredible save because he has this talent. In the one against one, he is one of the best ‘keepers I have ever seen in my life.

“It’s the German culture. Stand up, don’t go down. It’s really, really good.

“But not just today – since he arrived, playing in the FA Cup, the Carabao Cup. Even this season, Ederson has had four injury setbacks.

“But Stefan is so reliable. He is an incredible ‘keeper. The club and our goalkeeper trainer made an incredible decision to bring him in here.”

Neville: Ortega could be best No 2

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Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher discuss what Manchester City’s 2-0 win against Tottenham in the Premier League means for Arsenal and Mikel Arteta

Neville added that Ortega may be the best No 2 goalkeeper in the Premier League, saying: “It was a time-stood-still moment. The right man [Son] is there.

“You always need your goalkeeper, in a title run-in, to produce a performance.

“I nearly said at one point when he came on in the second half, ‘is he the best No 2 in the league?’ I thought it would probably be disrespectful to [Aaron] Ramsdale.

“But he’s an outstanding No 2. He came on in challenging circumstances. It was an unbelievable moment, that one where Son went through.”

City now only need to beat West Ham at the Etihad on Sunday to secure a record fourth successive title and Neville said: “Well done to City – you need everyone to contribute during a season.

“It’s been ominous for a couple of months or so. We were talking about that Oscar Bobb goal at Newcastle. It was ages ago [January] but I was watching at home and thought, ‘here we go again’.

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