White Hart Lane, London
January 30, 2014 13:30 GMT
This week we witness a very crucial fixture between two giants vying for a top four finish. One that is well within the reach and another that is just outside due to a poorer goal difference. The previous fixture at the Ethihad is something the Lilywhites would long to forget. It’s not every day that a topflight premier league team beats another by margins as big as six goals. However a win in this fixture would pretty much make or break a team’s season.
Manchester City look like they are about to pull off what they did two seasons ago i.e. steal the title from Arsenal like they did from Manchester United. With just a point separating them from the league leaders, City needs this point to maintain the gap and hope for Arsenal to slip so that they may capitalize on the opportunity. Tottenham on the other hand are in fifth. They have a new manager and a new lease of life. With just the goal difference separating them from Liverpool, a victory over Manchester City will not only help them leap frog the Reds (even temporarily) but also give them confidence to aim for a top four finish and not to mention redeem themselves for the humiliation that was the previous attempt.
Team News and Tactics
Tottenham hotspur have undergone much change compared to the last time City played them. They have become more organized, more lethal and grown in confidence. Ever since Sherwood took over the club they have not lost a single game in the League. Of the last six games Sherwood has won five and drawn four. They have managed to score 14 goals in these 6 games where as under the previous management they had only 15 goals in 16 games.
Tottenham have a fully fit and complete squad to choose from this time. Hence this gives Sherwood a little more up his sleeve that what AVB had to do with. Vertonghen , Tottenham’s best defender is back to match fitness. His inclusion would be vital for the back four as his defensive prowess and hardworking nature could rub off on the others. However a question still remains, with Rose doubtful Jan might be played wide left, a position he prefers to avoid compared to the central role. Chiriches and Dawson look like the obvious choice in the center as their familiarity grows with every match. Walker on the right and Lloris on goal would complete the defensive line up.
Sherwood has evolved with every game, in the game against Swansea he tactfully changed to a five man midfield. It seems as though he would opt to do the same against City to curb and cut off the fluidity of the opponent’s midfield. Although Paulinho returns from injury, Bentaleb might yet again be slotted in the defensive mid role to keep a check on the advancing Toure. By his side we could see Dembele playing in the deeper playmaking role. The Three advanced midfield roles would be occupied by Chadli whos pace would prove to be an advantage on the left, Eriksen the playmaker and Lennon on the right to provide the width. Finally Adebayor will be played as lone Striker to spear head the attack.
Probable line up: Lloris; Vertonghen, Chiriches, Dawson, Walker; Bentaleb, Dembele, Chadli, Eriksen, Lennon; Adebayor.
Manchester City has seen form unlike anyone else. Unbeaten in their last eleven games and scoring 35 goals is a feat any defense would fear. They will hope to continue this good run by opting to play a more attacking 4-4-2. Their star Striker Aguero will be partnered with Dzeko, with the former dropping back to strengthen the midfield. Negredo will probably come off the bench in the second half although there have been rumors of a shoulder strain.
Jesus Navas has gathered somewhat of a reputation against Spurs after his split second goal against the London side. This could see him start on the right side of midfield. Silva’s return from injury will see him played on the left with Fernandinho and Toure completing the midfield. Toure will be given a free role to push up and would be lethal from a distance, while Fernandhino keeps a tab on the play build up in the middle of the park.
In defense Clichy would be played on the left, his pace would be an asset to keep a tab on Lennon and Walker who always threaten to go wide and deliver crosses. Zabaleta would be played on the right and has looked more comfortable than ever. Vincent Kompany is set to return from injury and is likely to be paired against the veteran Demichelis. Football Pundits have often called the Manchester City’s defence a bit vulnerable off late which we saw in their first half performance against Watford. However they always seem to get away with their mistakes by scoring twice as many as they have let in.
Probable Line up: Hart; Zabaleta, Kompany, Demichelis, Clichy; Navas, Toure, Fernandhino, Silva; Aguero, Dzeko.
- Manchester City has a goal difference of +38 while Spurs only have +3
- Lloris still has the highest number of Clean Sheets (7) in the premier League
- City have won only one of their last ten trips to the Lane
- Spurs under Sherwood have transformed from having the worst Conversion rate to the best in the League
Player to Watch
Aguero in his 16 premier league appearences has scored 14 goals and 5 assists. His recent form has sent shivers down every manager’s spine. His recent hatrick against Watford saved the clubs cup campaign. Hence he would play a crucial part in the outcome of this fixture.
Tottenham Hotspur 2 – 3 Manchester City
With the current form of both teams are displaying we are in for a very interesting game which will see a great many one on one battles and extraordinary display of skills. However both teams have exceptional firepower and a less impressive defense which will see a goal fest eventually ending in Manchester City’s way.
Blast From the Past
Have a look at what happened the previous time the two teams met.