Manchester City will be looking to overturn a narrow deficit when they host Tottenham for the second leg of the UEFA Champions League quarter-final on Wednesday.
Manchester City have it all to do in the second leg of their quarter-final tie against Tottenham. Their league form has been exemplary as they still trail Liverpool by two points, with a game in hand over them. But, their hopes of winning an unprecedented quadruple is in danger after losing 1-0 to Tottenham in the first leg at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Tottenham, on the other hand, have their task cut out as well. While they did prevent City from getting an away goal in the home leg, Spurs lost Harry Kane to injury, with the key forward now set to miss almost the remainder of the season. They have done well in Kane’s absence this year, whenever needed and will have to come up with the goods again on Wednesday.
Tottenham’s last visit to the Etihad saw them lose 4-1 to Manchester City. Before the two teams renew rivalries in search of a semi-final berth in the Champions League, we take a look at their squads.
Team News & Tactics
Pep Guardiola is not without any of his first-choice players, with Claudio Bravo the only one not available due to a lack of match fitness. Fernandinho is a doubt and will be assessed ahead of the match. But, the Brazilian is crucial to City’s gameplay and should start, even if not 100%.
Oleksandr Zinchenko is now fit and should come in for Fabian Delph at left-back, with the Englishman not performing at the desired level for a while now. Zinchenko could have an enticing test at hand against Lucas Moura. The rest of the back four should consist of ball-playing defenders Aymeric Laporte, John Stones and Kyle Walker.
David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne will be responsible for providing the creative impetus on Wednesday. The forward line should see some changes, with Raheem Sterling the only constant. The Englishman has been in blazing form and should retain his place.
Bernardo Silva and Gabriel Jesus though, should come into the starting eleven, with Sergio Aguero and Leroy Sane making space in attack.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Ederson; Walker, Stones, Laporte, Zinchenko; De Bruyne, Fernandinho, David Silva; Bernardo Silva, Jesus, Sterling
Mauricio Pochettino is riddled with injury concerns but none bigger than Harry Kane. Dele Alli has a broken hand but could start with a cast, with Pochettino aware of the magnitude of the fixture. Eric Dier, Serge Aurier and Eric Lamela are on the injury list alongside Kane.
Fernando Llorente and Harry Winks are doubtful as well, which means Pochettino doesn’t have a lot to pick and choose from on Wednesday. The backline though, is the only place where Pochettino can field a first-choice lineup, with Davinson Sanchez, Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen sitting in front of goalkeeper Hugo Lloris making up the defensive line.
Moussa Sissoko and Winks should be the central midfielders, with Kieran Trippier and Ben Davies tasked with providing width against Manchester City. Without Kane, Son Heung-min will start upfront, with Alli and Christian Eriksen expected to play behind the South Korean international.
Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Lloris; Alderweireld, Sanchez, Vertonghen; Trippier, Sissoko, Winks, Davies; Eriksen, Alli; Son
1. Tottenham have failed to lodge a clean sheet in their last six games in all competitions at the Etihad, but kept one in the first leg in this tie.
2. No team has been able to keep a clean sheet against Manchester City at the Etihad this season in all competitions.
3. Manchester City have won 12 games on the trot at home in all competitions.
4. Manchester City have kept a clean sheet in 9 of the aforementioned 12 games.
5. Son Heung-min has 2 goals and an assist in the last three games for Tottenham in all competitions.
Player to Watch
Raheem Sterling is having a blinder of a season, with a return of 21 goals and 16 assists in all competitions so far. The Englishman is in red hot form and will be the main man for Manchester City on a day they need him the most. Sterling has shown he can perform at the biggest of stages.
Wednesday will be another test for Sterling and his pedigree to be the big man on the pitch. Expect the Englishman to run Tottenham ragged.
Manchester City 2-2 Tottenham
Pep Guardiola will instruct his side to go hard at the Tottenham goal in search of a win while being wary of not conceding. Tottenham’s weakest point or the only area where they might come up short is the midfield, in comparison to Manchester City on Wednesday.
Stranger things have happened in the 2018-19 Champions League and Guardiola will be hoping City can overturn the deficit. There are likely to be goals in this encounter. But, we expect Tottenham to score a couple of their own and advance in terms of the aggregate scoreline. We are going with Tottenham to end City’s hopes of the unprecedented quadruple.