Preview: Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City
City head to White Hart Lane looking to get back to winning ways in what could be described as a 6-pointer between two sides looking to finish in the top four this season. Quite what the outcome will be is anybody’s guess as both sides mask inconsistent results with moments of attacking brilliance.
Tottenham haven’t been our favourite opponents in recent years with five consecutive 2-1 defeats at White Hart Lane in the league. However most of City’s new look team probably aren’t even aware of this and previous form is of little relevance to our newly bankrolled blues.
It’s difficult to know what to expect from Spurs with their last two home matches featuring a 9-1 hammering of Wigan and a 1-0 defeat to Wolves. If they’re on form, Shay Given could be in for a busy night.
Consequently it’s important City start the game well, keeping it tight and not allowing Spurs space to attack.Ã‚Â This would be the opposite of the Bolton match where we allowed the Trotters far to many opportunities by needlessly conceding possession.
Hughes may be tempted to display some of the negative tactics we saw in the first half at Anfield as we seek to frustrate the home side, before hitting them with our attacking talent.
If we go out to attack Spurs from the off and enter into a stretched end-to-end game, as we saw at Villa Park, then the score could be anything.
A key area could be our left flank, where an on-form Lennon can devastate opposition, and is ably supported by Vedran Corluka. Wayne Bridge may not be the greatest defensively, but he would at least have the stamina to keep close to Lennon for 90 minutes. Whether Sylvinho can last the pace is more debatable, but his experience makes him the best option for left-back. Moving Lescott over would give a stronger physical presence but Joleon isn’t as quick on the turn and could be caught out as a result.
Bellamy would have been an obvious choice to keep an eye on the runs on Corluka and double-up on Lennon. Robinho is now the likely starter and it may be as well to have Barry or de Jong coming over to double-up on Lennon if things get hairy.
It’s to be hoped de Jong is fit enough to play as Kompany and Barry could be out-manoeuvred by a fluid Spurs attack.
The absence of Wright-Phillips deprives us of pace on the right flank, but the intelligent movement and passing of Stevie Ireland caused Bolton plenty of problems on Saturday and could do the same to Spurs.
The in-form Tevez likes to roam and, by coming over to the right flank, enables Ireland to drift in-field. This enabled Micah Richards to find space and score on Saturday, and could well prove key again.
Adebayor also likes to roam, but often to less effect as it leaves us without a target in the middle – and Hughes long-ball tactics do require an effective target man. As a former Arsenal player, Adebayor is likely to get a hostile reception from the Spurs crowd and this could be to City’s advantage if it fires up the Togolese.
It should be an exciting game, with both sides looking for three points after failing to win at the weekend. Liverpool currently have three winnable games, while Villa are showing some consistency. City have been lucky that the run of draws hasn’t left them further adrift of fourth place.
That good fortune is unlikely to continue and it’s time to put together a winning run of our own. White Hart Lane is as good a place as any to start.
Prediction: 10-9 to City!