Tottenham will still be smarting from the 6-0 hammering that they suffered at the hands of Manchester City during their visit to the Etihad earlier in the season, and will be looking to make amends when the two sides meet tomorrow at White Hart Lane. Tottenham have recovered from the midseason slump under new manager Tim Sherwood, and have won 5 out of 6 league games under him. Meanwhile the City juggernaut keeps on rolling and they have won their last 7 league matches on the trot, and now are much improved on their travels.
Here are three things Tottenham have to do in order to secure a victory and ensure that they don’t lose ground in the race for the fourth spot.
1. Neutralize Aguero
The Argentine forward is the leading scorer for the Citizens with 14 goals in 16 appearances and it is imperative that Tottenham neutralize the threat he provides. In the absence of Alvaro Negredo, he’ll be joined in attack by Edin Dzeko and Aguero will look to make runs off the Bosnian. Tottenham’s defenders will have to be alert and ensure that he does not get any space in the box.
Aguero has a fantastic ability to squirm past defenders and can get his shot away at the first chance he gets. He has scored 13 of his 14 goals from inside the box, and if Tottenham defenders manage to cramp him for space, they will have a good chance of keeping a clean sheet. That being said, Dzeko too must not be allowed to run free in the box, and Spurs defenders will have to be alert for the entire 90 minutes.
2. Shackle Toure and Fernandinho
Toure and Fernandinho form perhaps the most powerful midfield combination in the league. They have the ability to bulldoze their way into the opposition penalty area, and they will hurt Tottenham’s chances. The two of them have scored 14 goals between them, and provide a very real goal-threat from midfield, and are more than capable of shooting from outside the penalty box.
In an attempt to mark Aguero, they must not allow Toure or Fernandinho to make unchallenged runs into the box, and the onus will be on Tottenham’s midfielders to handle them, and close them down before they manage to shoot from outside the box. It would be wise for Tottenham to play with three midfielders to counter the duo, and restrict the space in which they enjoy working. This may mean employing a 4-2-3-1 formation with Bentaleb and Dembele as the defensive midfielders, and Eriksena s the attacking midfielder.
3. Exploit City’s weak left flank
Manchester City’s left flank is their weakest link. They will be playing Alexander Kolarov at left back and David Silva as the left sided attacker. Silva has the tendency to drift infield leaving space behind for Kolarov to move into. While this has been to City’s advantage, against Tottenham, it could be their undoing.
Tottenham possess two of the quickest players in the Premier League in right back Kyle Walker and right winger Aaron Lennon. If they are able to catch Kolarov out of position, Demichelis lacks the pace to be able to cover the space behind Kolarov, and Spurs could have very good chance of breaching City’s defense. Adebayor has been in good form recently, and his heading ability will be useful for getting onto the end of crosses.