Etihad Stadium, Manchester
November 24, 2013; 13:30 BST
Manchester City host Tottenham Hotspur at the Etihad Stadium in what promises to be an exciting encounter. The last meeting between these two sides ended in a 3-1 victory for Spurs as Dempsey, Defoe and Bale scored for the home after Manchester City took an early lead through Nasri. But despite that loss Manchester City have had the upper hand in this fixture in recent times, winning four of the last six meetings. Tottenham’s last win at Manchester City’s home ground came in 2010, when Peter Crouch scored a later winner.
Manchester City have had a poor start to their Premier League campaign under new manager Manuel Pellegrini. They are currently eighth in the League table, six points behind League leaders Arsenal. The Citizens have already lost four out of their 11 matches so far, and just when it looked like they are back to their best with a 7-0 win over Norwich, City dropped points once again away from home in their last game.
Philip Bardsley’s early goal gave Sunderland a surprise win over Manchester City and these are the sort games you would expect a side harbouring title ambitions to win with ease. Manchester City’s away form has been nothing short of disastrous. Only Hull, Norwich, Sunderland and Crystal Palace have a poorer record. Manuel Pellegrini’s men have lost four of their last six matches away from home and a return to the Etihad for this crucial game will come as relief.
A new look Tottenham side made a solid start to their Premier League campaign and there was a new found belief among the Spurs supporters. But results have not gone their way recently and they have dropped a lot of points. Tottenham have won just two of their last six league matches. Andre Villas Boas’ side are currently seventh in the league table and just one point above Manchester City.
Like Manchester City, Tottenham are coming into the match on the back of a loss against Newcastle United away from home. Loic Remy’s early goal secured the match for the away side. Contrary to Manchester City, Spurs have been poor at home. They have won only one of their last four matches at White Hart Lane. Andre Villas Boas will need his team to bounce back with a good performance in this game.
Manchester City – Team News, Lineup And Formation
Manuel Pellegrini has a lot of injury concerns ahead of this fixture. Vincent Kompany is still out injured and City have looked shaky at the back in his absence. David Silva and Stevan Jovetic are also yet to recover from their injuries and are out of contention for this game. The good news is that both Fernandinho and Matija Nastasic are fit and available for this game after being forced to miss the last game against Sunderland.
Pellegrini is expected to make as many as five changes to the side that he fielded against Sunderland. Pantilimon will retain his place in the goal ahead of Joe Hart, but Zabaleta will replace Richards at the right back. Nastasic will partner Demichelis in the center of the defence, while Clichy comes back into the side in place of Kolarov.
Fernandinho, who is fit once again, will replace Garcia in the center of park. Jesus Navas, who came on as a substitute in the last match, will start on the right wing, with Nasri on the left. Sergio Aguero, who has been in good goal scoring form, will once be the key in attack. The absence of David Silva is a big loss for them, which means Nasri will have to provide most of the creativity from the midfield.
Pellegrini has mostly used a 4-4-2/4-4-1-1 formation so far with Aguero partnering Negredo upfront. The pair has worked quite well, but it is the central midfield and defence which has let them down at times. Fernandinho and Yaya Toure are yet to shine as a pair, it seems both of them are quite similar in nature. Without Kompany at the back, the team has not only lost a lot of steel in defence, they have also lost the leader on the pitch.
Possible Starting Line up [4-4-2]: Pantilimon (GK); Zabaleta, Nastasic, Demichelis, Clichy; Navas, Toure, Fernandinho, Nasri; Aguero, Negredo
Tottenham Hotspur – Team News, Lineup And Formation
Andre Villas Boas will be without Christian Eriksen and Danny Rose for this game. The former Ajax midfielder is expected to return after a month, while Rose is yet to recover from his toe injury. There are some concerns about the fitness of Nacer Chadli, but he along with Zeki Fryers, are expected to be available for this game. Hugo Lloris, who missed out the game against Newcastle United, will also start in this match.
Andre Villas Boas will make four changes to the side he fielded against Newcastle. Friedel will drop back to the bench with Lloris coming back in goal. Dembele will be replaced by Sandro, who will partner Paulinho in the pivot ahead of the back four. Eriksen, who is injured, will be replaced by Lewis Holtby in attack. Andre Villas Boas has also insisted that Emmanuel Adebayor is likely feature in this game upfront. Roberto Soldado is yet to set the stage on fire after his much talked about move this summer, and this could come up as a wake-up call for the Spaniard.
Tottenham Hotspur have been brilliant defensively. The likes of Dawson, Vertonghen and now Chiriches have formed a solid partnership with Lloris sweeping behind them. But it is the lack of goals upfront that is Villas Boas’ biggest concern. Spurs have scored only nine goals in their opening 11 league matches. In fact they have managed to score only two from open play in their last five games. These stats are not befitting a side who have ambitions of breaking into the top four this season.
One of Tottenham’s biggest problem in attack has been the lack of width. Both Townsend and Sigurdsson like to drift inside and shot on goal. This congests the attacking third, which means there is a lack of space in attack. Even Lennon has been played as an inverted winger on the left to accommodate Townsend on the right. Spurs need to stretch defence and the wingers need to take on full backs to cross and provide for the strikers. One of the biggest reasons behind Soldado’s lack of goals from open play is because he has not been provided the service he thrives in.
Possible Starting Line-Up [4-2-3-1]: Lloris (GK); Walker, Dawson, Chiriches, Vertonghen; Sandro, Paulinho; Sigurdsson, Holtby, Townsend; Adebayor
- Manchester City have scored 30 goals in their last seven home games in all competitions.
- Tottenham Hotspur have conceded just one goal in their last nine away fixtures in all competitions.
- Tottenham have the worst goal scoring record among the top-10 side in the Premier League this season.
- Manchester City have managed to keep only three cleans sheets in the league so far this season.
Player To Watch Out For
Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)
The Argentina international has been at the top of his game his season and has already scored eight goals and provided four assists in just nine starts. He has been in eye catching form in the Champions League as well, scoring five goals in four matches. When Aguero is in song Manchester City look a completely different outfit and his partnership with Negredo is developing with every passing game. Tottenham will have to find a way to stop this man.
Manchester City 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur
Manchester City at home are a completely different proposition to Manchester City on the road. In fact this is an intriguing clash between one side who excel at home and another who at the moment are performing better on the road. This is also a match between statistically the second best defence in the league and the most prolific attack in England. City at home might be too strong for Spurs and expect them to win the game by a narrow margin.