Spurs face Manchester City this Wednesday in a repeat of the 6 – 0 thrashing at the Etihad, part of a trio of bad results that made AVB’s position untenable. Numerically this was our worst defeat of the season but of the three thrashings this was easily the most understandable. City have been unstoppable at home and boast a 100% record, scoring 42 goals along the way. The average opponent has lost 3.8 – 0.7 .
City’s away form has been less consistent including surprising defeats to Cardiff and Aston Villa, however In recent games they have looked more convincing, even beating European heavyweights Bayern Munich in Bavaria.
This match will be the biggest test of the Sherwood revolution. Manchester City lie second, 7 points above Tottenham and a mere 1 point behind leaders Arsenal. Unsurprisingly Betfair has City as favourites at 2.08, with the draw at 3.85 and a Spurs win at 3.9.
We go into this game with an extra weeks rest after sitting out last weekend’s FA Cup 4th round while City had a tough game against Watford. Tottenham should welcome back Sandro, Vertonghen and Paulinho after they played in a reserve game last week. For City, Nari is out long term but Negredo should return after a shoulder injury.
Emmanuel Adebayor has been key in the Sherwood era and will be particularly motivated facing a former team. Hopefully he can turn this into a positive, he has been known to go over the top in similar situations in the past.
Manchester City play 4-4-2 and Spurs’ will have to work hard to contain their mobile front two, along with Silva and Navas arriving from the wings. City favour through balls, they use them more than any team except Liverpool our other recent nemesis. We have had trouble defending them all season and part of the problem has been Michael Dawson. He’s great in the air and plays well when the opposition are in a more defensive formation but this game is different. Unusually for the modern Premier League where playing a lone striker has become almost ubiquitous, both centre-backs will have a striker to mark. For this reason I would pair Chiriches and Vertonghen. In fact Vertonghen when fit should be the first name on the team sheet.
City are third in the league in both passes played and possession despite playing with only four in midfield. This speaks of the subtleties of their formation but also of the ability of Yaya Toure the engine room of their team. Because of this, and to protect the defense, we should play an effective shield in midfield. Sandro would be ideal for this role. He led the team in tackles and interceptions per game last season and has the power to disrupt City’s passing game and get to their talasmanic midfielder. If he is unfit Capoue should deputise.
In addition we should stick to the 4-5-1 successfully used against Swansea. 4-4-2 works against more defensive teams but facing such a potent attacking force, the extra numbers in midfield will be important. Here’s my team:
What do you think?
Whoever we choose it’s going to be tough. City are my tip for the title. They have an amazing home record and most importantly possess an enviably deep squad that should give them the edge in the second half of the season.
Note: the game is live on BT Sport.