disappointment of the defeat by Wolverhampton Wanderers now
behind us, Tottenham can push forward for the remainder of
the season to see where they finish up. And while all
the talk is of being glad there is another game so soon, it
could possibly have been abetter one than the equally
unpredictable Manchester City.
On their day,
they are capable of beating anyone, but equally, they are
capable of turning in a stinker of a defeat to the lowliest
of opposition. Sound familiar ??
starting to assemble a team worthy of the money being pumped
in by the Dubai investors and the Champions League placings
will be their target for this season. it is always
likely to happen, but it was a question of whether the team
would gel quickly enough. The erratic nature of their
results shows that it is not quite the well-oiled machine
the petrol heads behind the club might have hoped for, but
they are getting there.
A big miss
will be Craig Bellamy, who has been a crucial factor in
their better performances and the City side also looks to be
shorn of Shaun Wright-Phillips and Wayne Bridge, while the
terrier in midfield, Nigel de Jong is just getting over
Swine Flu, so might miss out too. But there are enough
good players to fill their places and in the rest of the
team to keep Tottenham occupied.
back, where they have signed a very good goalkeeper in Shay
Given through the defence with the likes of Micah Richards,
Kolo Toure, Joleon Lescott and Pablo Zabalyeta who will
probably be the four to face Tottenham. The full back
swill enjoy looking to push on and the use of the ball by
Spurs in finding Aaron Lennon will be a major factor in
pinning them back and also in terms of the Spurs attacking
intent. With Crouch likely to start, he might find it
a tough aerial battle with the two experienced central
defenders, but they lack pace and if Defoe gets one-on-one
with them, he could benefit from his pace over theirs.
midfield is packed with big money signings and Stephen
Ireland. Gareth Barry has found a new lease of life
after leaving Villa, with some forceful performances while
Vincent Kompany will probably come in for de Jong as the
enforcer alongside Barry. Strong and tall, he can be a
formidable obstacle to get around. Wright-Philips'
pace is always a dangerous weapon for City and without that
it may be left to Martin Petrov to provide the supply from
the flanks, with Stephen Ireland roving behind the front two
and linking play between the two parts of the team.
The Irishman is a good creator and also a good finisher and
will need to be tracked as he makes runs off the ball into
there is a choice of Roque Santa Cruz, Carlos Tevez or
Emmanuel Adebayor. The former Gooner used to score
regularly here against us and this might be in Mark Hughes'
mind as he approaches the game. not in the same sort
of scoring form as before his infamous goal celebration
against Arsenal, Adebayor is gangly and tall, but he can be
kept quiet in games by good marking. Tevez is dynamic
and never stops hassling centre halves or closing down
goalkeepers. His goal-scoring record isn't probably
what it should be for someone who is as talented as him, but
he is a real nuisance and will run until he drops.
Santa Cruz is a more natural goal-scorer than the other two
and has height ands strength on his side. Still really
finding his feet at City after his move from Blackburn
Rovers, he is a handful for any defender.
up in a fluid 4-4-2 formation, City try to play the ball
through the midfield and while the hope is that the game
will be an attacking, open one, it may be that they have
noted how Spurs have crumbled under the pressure of being
chased for 90 minutes against Everton and Wolves. It
has been a period where Tottenham's form has plateau'ed out
following the big win over Wigan Atheltic, but that must be
put behind them now and another good run begun to carry
through Christmas and New Year.
I don't think
this willbe as open as many consider it will be and that the
game will be fought out in midfield, leaving few clear-cut
chances for the forwards to thrive on. It will be down
to which side takes them, but I think it might be that Spurs
edge it as City are not as potent a threat away from
: - Tottenham Hotspur 1
Manchester City 0
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the opponents and their history, including full result history of
matches between the two teams, click