After an irritatingly long international break, the Premier League returns this weekend. Spurs feature in the early Saturday kick-off, as we travel to the Etihad Stadium to face Manchester City.
It’s fair to say that last season’s meetings between the two teams were not happy occasions for Tottenham fans. 6-0 and 5-1 defeats dealt serious blows to the managerial ambitions of both AVB and Tim Sherwood.
The reigning Premier League champions currently sit second, on 14 points, three points and four places above Mauricio Pochettino’s team. They come into this game in good form having won their last two. They did suffer a wobble back in August in a 1-0 home loss to Stoke, so they are certainly not unbeatable.
Spurs gained a morale boosting victory against Southampton last time out and will looking to build on that much improved performance.
Manchester City tactics
Manuel Pellegrini has mainly stuck to a 4-4-2 again this season. Aguero and Dzeko form possibly the most feared partnership in the Premier League. Yaya Toure can be immense in the centre, while David Silva provides the guile coming in off the left wing.
City boast some impressive statistics already this term. They have the most shots per game (16.6), the second highest possession (57.3%) and are top in pass completion (87%), all pointing to a slick, confident, attacking side.
The addition of summer siging Eliaquim Mangala has added to an already strong backline. It’s interesting that City decided to spend so much on a centre back, purchasing the French international for £32M, a Premier League record for a defender.
City are big favourites at 1.49, the draw is out at 4.8, while a Spurs win is at an incredible 8.0. It’s fair to say that the betting markets do not have much faith in Pochettino’s men as far as this match is concerned.
Tottenham must wait on the fitness of Nacer Chadli after he aggravated a hip injury on international duty. Hugo Lloris sat out France’s clash with Armenia – causing a massive scare to all Spurs fans – but should be fit to play.
Right back is looking a problem position, with Walker and Naughton both long term absentees.
City have Nasri out, while there are doubts over Fernandinho who picked up a hamstring injury a couple of weeks ago.
Potentially key players for both sides, Emmnauel Adebayor and Yaya Toure, will have little time to recover after appearing in African Cup of Nations qualifying on Wednesday. In more bad news for Spurs, Togo completed a second victory in a week over Uganda, greatly increasing their chances of making it to the finals.
I would stick with the team that won against Southampton, with the enforced change of Dier for Naughton. If Chadli is not available, it would be good to see Harry Kane given a chance.
Aguero and Silva will provide an interesting test of Kaboul and Rose’s recent renaissance,
Spurs have a history of struggling against attacking sides with two up front and clever runners from midfield – Liverpool and City in particular.
Pochettino appeared to have learnt from the 3-0 loss to Liverpool when playing a more cautious counter-attacking style against rivals Arsenal. This could be a shrewd tactic to employ again, facing one of the most dangerous forward lines in the league.
Prediction: Manchester City 2 – Spurs 2 (a high scoring game with City on top but some dangerous Tottenham counters).
I was a guest on the ByTheMin Spurs podcast where we discussed recent games and this match. If you are interested in listening you can find it in the sidebar, on SoundCloud and on iTunes.
Do you think Spurs have a chance of victory on Saturday? Should Pochettino alter his tactics? Let me know in the comments below.
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