Friday, 20 January 2012

Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur preview

Sky Sports are billing this weekend's match as a grudge match with Spurs seeking revenge for the beating they received at White Hart Lane earlier in the season. According to a recent poll by Sky Sports, Spurs are also the favourites to win the league, no doubt partly due to the new-found hatred that City has acquired.

Spurs are certainly in the title race at this point and there's no doubting they are a good team but they have a really tough run of games approaching that starts against City. In the next 5 games after City they are away to Liverpool and Arsenal and are at home to United, not exactly a the easiest fixture list.

City could seriously hamper Spurs' ambitions with another win which would see them go 8 points ahead of them and potentially 6 points clear of United depending on their result later on in the day. Another 5-1 victory may not be on the cards though as City will be missing at least 2 key players, Vincent Kompany and Yaya Toure. Mario Balotelli and Micah Richards are also hoping to return from injury.

Spurs will be without a few players themselves due to injuries, however they will probably feel the loss of City loanee and their top scorer in the league, Adebayor the most. Despite Redknapp favouring the City outcast, Jermain Defoe has actually scored more goals for the club in all competitions scoring 1 every 84 minutes, so will be an able deputy.

Spurs  have a wealth of attacking talent throughout the starting 11 too. Bale, Van der Vaart, Lennon, and Modric are all threats to City's goal. Given the pace of Bale and Lennon on the wings you would hope Richards will return to the right of defence with Clichy on the left.

Redknapp has recently praised the way Spurs have gone about their business, saying that they have had success without spending the kind of money City have done in recent years. And while it is true that City have spent more while Spurs have managed to wheel and deal in the transfer market, it's not as though Spurs are flush with academy talent in their side. 10 of their probable starting 11 will have been bought and taken no part in any academy activity. They are also one of the biggest spending English clubs in the last few years.

It's not as though they've won much either. I know success isn't measure only in silverware but it's the ultimate indication of how successful a club really is. A solitary League Cup win in 2008 is their only trophy in the last 10 years. The last trophy before that was 1999 with another League Cup and we all know where City were at that time.

But to be honest, I don't really care how Spurs run their club, I only care about them finishing behind City in the league.

A repeat of the 5-1 would be great, but I just don't see a scoreline like that as I see this game being a much closer contest this time. Thankfully Edin Dzeko has found his shooting boots again and an attacking lineup of Silva, Nasri Aguero and Dzeko could prove fruitful.

Whether Nasri gets the nod though is anyone's guess as Mancini may want to go with the industry that Milner provides. Either way, City still have plenty of talent despite the loss of several players and have enough of it to win this game.

Twitter: @MikeWalsh1880 or @mcfcDSLeftFoot
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