TWO points from eight games. At one time, it was Harry Redknapp's favourite mantra as Tottenham manager, a reflection of the predicament that he found the club in when he took over at White Hart Lane in 2008. It is a measure of how far Spurs have come in the intervening period that the same expression was being used to weigh up their record against their rivals for a place in the top four this season. That was the statistic facing Jose Mourinho's side should they suffer what felt an inevitable defeat by Manchester City but by the end of 90 minutes those two points had ticked over to five.

HeraldScotland:

This was Tottenham's first game since the closure of the January transfer window. There were gaping holes in the squad prior to it following season-crippling injuries to Harry Kane and Moussa Sissoko. There was an expectation that Jose Mourinho would add a Kane replacement – and the club certainly pursued the option vigorously last week to no avail. But it was at the other end of the pitch that Spurs have suffered most this season notwithstanding Mourinho's reputation has a defensive mastermind.

In particular at right-back, where Serge Aurier has been a repeat offender in big games with his rash decision making. And so it proved again when the Ivorian clipped Sergio Aguero in the area. Farcically, play continued for a full two minutes before Mike Dean pointed to spot following a VAR referral, then Ilkay Gundogan promptly missed and Hugo Lloris appeared to fell Raheem Sterling from the follow-up. Sterling, already on a booking for a poor tackle on Dele Alli, appeared to make the most of the challenge and VAR subsequently overruled any penalty claim. Chaos, it seems, follows Aurier around.

For City, too, there have been questions about a lack of recruitment in key areas. The presence of Fernandinho at centre-back serves as an uncomfortable reminder that Aymeric Laporte is still not ready to return from the knee injury that has denied Pep Guardiola of his best centre-back for most of the season while John Stones is so far out of the picture that he was being linked with a move to Arsenal last month.

HeraldScotland:

But it was in front of goal that City struggled most, racking up 18 attempts to Tottenham's three. The missed penalty aside, a litany of chances were squandered, Sergio Aguero hit a post and Gundogan also scooped over following a heavy pass by Sterling.

Guardiola, who has repeatedly denied a policy of tactical fouling – joking last month that journalists should ask Mikael Arteta about it – was left looking like a hypocrite, Dean sending off Oleksandr Zinchenko for knocking down Harry Winks as the Spurs midfielder made a break from a dreadful Cty corner. The game turned in that instant.

For all the perceived hand-sitting at Spurs in January, it was left to one of the players they did sign, Steven Bergwijn, to produce the moment of magic that broke the deadlock, the Dutchman chesting and volleying home from outside the area to cap an encouraging debut. Son, one of the old guard at Tottenham these days and so often on target against City in the past, added the second to seal it.

Mourinho admitted Spurs were lucky saying of their opponents' majority 67% possession “that's Man City”, before adding his own take on the Sterling situation, saying afterwards: “We were very unlucky that VAR didn't decide for a Sterling red card. I see other situations when the decision is a red card, I see the red card for Son against Chelsea for me it is a dive, red card.”

Arteta still searching for his rhythm

Across London at neighbours Arsenal, there is a shared uncertainty that the appointment of a new manager brings. In drawing 0-0 at Burnley yesterday afternoon, Mikael Arteta's run of Premier League games without a win extended to four. On the plus side, Arteta's men took a point off a Burnley side that had accounted for Manchester United and Leicester City in its previous two games. More worryingly there was little to suggest that the 37-year-old has found a coherent strategy at his new club.

HeraldScotland:

He expressed the need for resilience prior to kick off and he certainly saw evidence of that as Arsenal remained compact, dug in and sought to break in numbers. However, only errant finishing by Burnley, particularly when Jay Rodriguez hit the underside of the bar, prevented the first defeat of the Arteta regime. As it was they chalked up their fourth draw in a row under the Spaniard since he succeeded Unai Emery.

The ongoing conundrum that is Mesut Ozil continued to confound, too. Making his 250th appearance for the Gunners, he was anonymous, as is so often the case, and was substituted for Joe Willock, who immediately made Arsenal more threatening.

VAR . . . again

The farce at the Tottenham Stadium aside, the ad nauseum debate about the impact of VAR rumbled on this weekend after two stonewall penalties were missed in the fixture between Liverpool and Southampton. In one, Roberto Firmino was hauled to the ground by Shane Long as he waited to head in from close range while in the other Danny Ings was tripped by Fabinho with the goal at his mercy. Liverpool subsequently went down the other end of the pitch and scored the first goal of the game.

At the risk of repeating myself, this is not VAR's fault. It is the incompetence of those using it. The message is worth repeating as the continuous narrative seems to deflect all attention from the very people rolling it out, yes, those same people it was brought in to help because of perceived incompetence. In all three instances, at Spurs and at Liverpool, the fallibility of humans was exposed and PGMOL's failure to roll out a process that is fit for purpose is the problem not the use of technology per se.