|DATE||Sunday 3rd May 2015|
|VENUE||White Hart Lane|
At this stage of the season, it might be nice to meet a team who
have little to play for. Instead, we meet a Manchester City
side, who want to prove that they are not as bad as their league
position makes out and to stop a run of four consecutive away
defeats. With a top four placing more or less safe, with a
further three points probably sealing it, City have more to play for
than placing, with the manager's position under scrutiny and the
players playing for their place at the club, although some seem to
be on their way out anyway,
Joe Hart has had a season with some fine performances, but has had a few mishaps along the way and Spurs need to test him out and see how he functions under pressure. To do so, the tempo of our game has to be right from the start, as City can switch defence into attack very quickly and have caught Spurs out numerous times over the last few matches between the sides. For Tottenham's sake, we cannot reproduce last week's calamitous defending ay Southampton.
Without Kompany at the back, Eliaquim Mangala would be expected to step into a commanding position, but despite his bug fee, he has been rocky this season, making mistakes and being caught out, while the other central defender, Martin Demichelis ha been better this season, but is still suspect, so it will be interesting to see if he tries to bully Kane out of the game, or relies on being able to better him on ability alone. Zabaleta is a fine attacking full back, but lacks a little pace and Spurs will need to make that pay, with space in behind him to be exploited and on the other flank, if Clichy returns, he has some of the same failings. There is scope there for Tottenham if they move the ball quick enough.
Other defensive options include Dedryck Boyata, who has not developed from a youth player as the club might have expected and he mainly plays a fringe squad member role, while Kolarov and Sagna do not command first pick status these days.
In midfield, City have strength, but without Yaya Toure on this trip, they might have a weakness through the middle. However, with the likes of Silva, Nasri, Milner, Lampost, Fernando and Fernandinho, there are enough options to cover for the Ivory Coast international. Silva is the main creator there, while Milner works up and down the line, the two Fernandos through the middle and Nasri usually has a floating role behind the front two.
Those two have enjoyed a lot of joy against the Spurs defences over the last few years. Aguero and Dzeko are keen goal-scorers and while City have been given more than the rub of the green in terms of decisions (penalties, sending offs, etc), they have taken them with both hands (about the only offence they haven't committed). Aguero is the epitome of the modern striker. Quick in thought and deed, he is strong on the ball and hard to shake off. His goal-scoring record is quite phenomenal. Dzeko doesn't always start, but is equally adept at taking a chance, so both will need the Spurs defence to pay particular attention to them. Now they have the added strike-power of Wilfried Bony from Swansea City, they might tray and use his physicality to upset the defenders and allow Aguero space to do his thing.
Spurs need to put together a run towards the end of this season to spell out to potential signings that we can challenge nearer the top, to gain the extra cash from finishing as high as possible and to get things in place for the new season. It might mean having to field a few players who may be tired, but those who do not feature in Pochettino's plans are already annexed (Adebayor, Capoue, Kaboul), with the future of Dembele an interesting conundrum.
I think City are a little vulnerable, but with their recent record against Spurs and our occasional lack of application, I think they might come out on top, although by a narrower margin than the previous few meetings.
|PREDICTION||Tottenham Hotspur 1 Manchester City 2|
|Click here for more info on opponents - stats v thfc , an alternative history, etc.|
HOTSPUR TEAM NEWS :
Spurs will be without Kyle Walker (foot) and Ben Davies (shoulder), while Danny Rose could fill in for Davies as he overcomes a hamstring injury.
MANCHESTER CITY TEAM NEWS :
Yaya Toure has a hamstring injury, while captain Vincent Kompany will be missing with a groin problem, along with Stevan Jovetic (muscle problem). Gael Clichy and Samir Nasri are sure to return from injury.
available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard
in these countries on these stations ...
0 (0) Manchester City
Sunday 3rd May 2015 Kick off 16:00
White Hart Lane
|None||Aguero 28m 10s|
Bentaleb (foul on Fernandinho) 42
Mason (foul on Fernandinho) 45+1
Kane (foul on Silva) 90+5
Milner (foul on Rose) 41
Zabaleta (foul on Chadli) 68
Kolarov (foul on Lamela) 74
Silva (foul on Paulinho) 82
|Crowd : 35,784||Weather : Bright, sunny, with some cloudy spells|
|Referee : Andre Marriner (West Midlands)||Assistant Referees : Mr. S. Ledger; Mr. M. Perry|
|Fourth Official : Neil Swarbrick||-|
|Manchester City kicked off and played towards the Paxton Road end in the first half.|
|Game time : - 90 + 7 minutes.|
|Tottenham Hotspur :||kit||Manchester City :||kit|
18 Harry KANE
Joe HART (cpt)
|Manager : Mauricio Pochettino||Manager : Manuel Pellegrini|
|Sponsor : AIA||Shirt sponsor : Etihad Airways|
|Kit Supplier : Under Armour||Kit Supplier : Nike|
Tottenham were hit with a sucker punch by Manchester City to fall to another home defeat and got a taste of the way we play away from home. In a game of plenty of chances, it was one punch more than featured in the previous night's "Fight of the Millennium" between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather.
Despite playing better than they have done against Manchester City in recent years, Spurs were undone, when City broke away from a Spurs corner to score on the counter-attack.
With Davies' injury ruling
him out, Danny Rose returned at left back, while the rest of the
side remained the same as recently. As for City, they were missing
Yaya Toure in midfield and Vincent Kompany at the back, so could
Spurs capitalise on their absence ?
There were plenty of City fouls that earned bookings as they got more desperate as Spurs threw players forward, but the referee failed to take action against City substitute Samir Nasri, who, a minute after coming on, went down injured in the Spurs box when the ball went out for a Tottenham goal-kick. He managed to get up to limp to the half-way line, where he slumped at the referee's feet and then received at least a minute's treatment before he was helped off by two City physios to the dug-out. This despite the weak-minded referee had indicated that he had to go off on the East Stand side as it was closest, but instead let him take the long and very slow route. Referees wonder why they get no respect ??
When play eventually started again, Kane was on the end of a neat chipped ball into the box by Paulinho, but as it dropped, Soldado took the shot and got a lot of power behind it, but it was blocked by a light blue shirt. Full backs of both sides were getting forward, with Kolarov's low ball to the near post kicked away by Lloris and then Dier putting a decent curling cross in, but it was too close to the keeper.
Silva fouled Paulinho with a bad challenge that earned a booking, but the Brazilian got up to get on the end of the free-kick from Lamela to throw himself at the ball and head it just wide. Then he played the ball in to Soldado's feet, Lamela took it off Roberto and lined it up for a shot by Paulinho, but Hart was down at the foot of his left post to turn it aside.
There was the bizarre sound of both sets of fans booing, as Emmanuel Adebayor replaced Chadli. He came on; his first touch was poor and his second was a tackle; he ran about a bit and frankly added little to the attempt to get something out of the game. I am not sure what he was doing on the bench, but this wasn't much of a shop window if that was what was intended.
Milner raced away down the right wing, putting a low ball into Bony at the near post and he took his shot first time and all associated with Spurs were relieved that it hit the advertising hoardings and not the back of the net. Erik Lamela was on the spot again in added time, when he tried a scissors kick at a Rose cross. He didn't make proper contact with the ball, but it bounced down into the ground and up, forcing Hart to react and touch it over the bar. Tottenham continued to spend time in City's final third, with the succession of corners bringing their usual return ... nothing.
It left City with a fortunate win, although both sides had enough chances and a draw might have been a fairer result, but it is another game that points out the needs for next season. Eriksen was shut down and the City midfield hurried to get behind the ball as soon as they lost it, highlighting the failing Spurs have trying to break down sides who are well-organised. Both our full-backs got forward, but there was always the threat from the visitors that we would get caught on the break, as it proved.
By no means was it a bad performance from Spurs, especially when compared to those against City in the past three seasons. Perhaps it is a sign of what might have been had we been able to keep ten men on the pitch for a number of those games and to keep the margin to a single goal is a big improvement in previous years. But Pochettino must be thinking already of who he wants to bring in to plug the holes and open up opposition defences for the next campaign. We have a number of players returning from loan, but he might have made his plans for those; whether that is to keep them or sell them.
Three more games to go and at least the side are putting in the effort, even if they are not getting results. Three more games and a potential nine points. Stoke next week, without Marc Wilson, who was sent off today and then Hull, who might still need the points and might fancy their chances against us, before we go to Everton on the last day, who will be without their star performer, Aaron Lennon. Four out of nine is a pragmatic view; seven would be better and nine marvellous. Europa League beckons unless Timbo works his magic and gets one over on Arsenal. Either way, there is still something to play for, even if it is only place money.
Manchester City fans
adopted the song "Blue Moon" not because of their club's colours,
but because that was how often they had success in the early 1980s.
After crashing to defeat to Grimsby Town on a televised match
after the weekend, the City fans changed the lyrics to "Blue Moonday".
|Match ball sponsors||-|
|Match programme sponsors||-|
|Match shirt sponsors||-|
|What you thought|
|Other scores during this week :|
|Leicester City||3||Newcastle United||0||Saturday|
|Manchester United||0||West Bromwich Albion||1||Saturday|
|Swansea City||2||Stoke City||0||Saturday|
|West Ham United||1||Burnley||0||Saturday|
|9||West Ham United||35||12||11||12||42||43||47||-1|
|13||West Bromwich Albion||35||10||10||15||33||46||40||-13|
Position before match :
Position after match : 6th
Position after the weekend : 6th
* Pub facts may not actually be true, but after a few pints everyone will think so.
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