Spurs v Man City: Preview, Likely Line-ups & Predicted Score

By on August 28, 2011

Spurs kicked off last season with a 0-0 draw against City at The Lane. City were lucky that day as Joe Hart was their star, keeping Spurs at bay in a match that the home side should have won easily. It was almost a case of the two clubs seasons in microcosm, Spurs playing well but failing to score, City playing ugly defensive football and keeping a clean sheet. Since then City of course have replaced Spurs in the top four and more importantly the Champions League.

This summer could hardly have been more different for the two clubs. City have had no trouble in securing their transfer targets and have strengthened an already formidable squad. Spurs meanwhile have foundered in the market and seem to have been turned down by pretty much anyone thats been linked to the club. Despite them all clearly having been at Spurs Lodge for medicals. Honest guv, those ITK’s have got photo’s and everything.

One thing both clubs have had to deal with is a want away star. Carlos Tevez has made his semi annual declaration of homesickness and unhappiness. Despite early interest from Corinthians it’s never looked likely he’ll go anywhere. Despite his apparent desire to leave he returned to training on time and has remained available to Mancini if he requires. Luka Modric has struggled to grasp the concepts ’6 year contract’ and ‘big club’ and has been missing from Spurs start to the season. Crucially though, the Croatian playmaker is now over the hamstring injury which has kept him out of the team and looks set to start.

City will arrive at The Lane with high hopes of continuing their 100% start to the season, while Spurs will be looking to get their season properly kicked off in style and give the home fans something to cheer about.

Spurs team news

Injuries and a lack of signings leave Spurs squad short of options so there may not be too many surprises about the team that will line up today. Brad Friedel may have conceded three at Old Trafford but still looked more confident and commanding than either Gomes or Cudicini did in conceding no goals in their outings.

In front of Friedel, Kyle Walker is again available and will be competing with ex-City man Vedran Corluka for the right back slot. With Spurs looking to go on the attack at home, Walker may get the nod ahead of the Croatian but experience could count and it may well be Charlie that gets in. In the centre there’s no reason that it won’t be Dawson and Kaboul as at Old Trafford. Danny Rose is currently injured but there is no way he’d get in ahead of Benoit Assou-Ekotto at left back anyway.

In midfield it seems sure that Luka Modric will start and the only choice will be who to play alongside him. There are three options realistically available to Redknapp. Jake Livermore has impressed in all three games so far this season and may well get to continue, if only for the reason that he is in better condition than the other two, Huddlestone and Jenas. On the wings, Lennon and Bale have no real competition so seem certain to start, as does Rafa Van der Vaart just off the striker. Up front the only realistic options are Defoe or Pavlyuchenko. On the evidence of Thursday there is very little chance that Pavlyuchenko will get the chance so Defoe will most likely get to go up against City’s monster centre backs. Adebayor of course is unavailable against his parent club due to Premier League rules.

Manchester City team news

City’s only injury absence is Nigel de Jong so all Mancini has to do is decide which of his numerous superstars gets a chance to start. That said he’s unlikely to tinker too much with a team that has started so well. Joe Hart will obviously be in goal. How many people that aren’t City fans can even name their reserve keeper?

Despite the wealth of talent City have, Mancini seems loath to mix things up too much at the back so expect the ever improving Micah Richards at right back. Kompany and Lescott seem the first choice central pairing leaving Mancini his only real choice at left back. New signing Gael Clichy will be looking to start ahead of Kolarov and might just edge it.

In midfield Mancini is likely to revert to last seasons more familiar shape than the more adventurous style used against Bolton. With de Jong out, Barry and Milner are sure to be joined in the middle by Yaya Toure. Adam Johnson should start and will take up a wide role, mainly from the right with the sublime David Silva starting on the left but drifting all over as is his way. Edin Dzeko has started the season well and must be confident he’ll get the start up front. Leaving the likes of Aguero, Tevez and Balotelli fighting to come off the bench. Scary. Samir Nasri having just signed from City’s feeder club is available to play but is likely to be a sub at best.

How will it be won and lost?

Spurs have to hope that Luka Modric is up for this game and to be honest I’m sure that Harry Redknapp wouldn’t risk it if he didn’t feel Luka was fully fit. The crowd could also play a huge part in how he performs, it will be interesting to see what reaction he gets. With Modric in the team Spurs are a completely different prospect and he could just be the key to getting more out of the Van der Vaart/Defoe partnership. On his day Defoe’s movement is excellent and he could trouble Kompany and Lescott if on top of his game. It’s just that he hasn’t been on top of his game for some time and although he scored at Hearts, at Old Trafford he looked poor.

Whoever gets picked alongside Modric in midfield will have their hands full, having to track runs from Yaya Toure and also deal with David Silva flitting in and out of any space he can find. Silva is rightly receiving the praise he’s due, he is absolutely phenomenal and can dictate games, he runs rings around people with his nimble footwork and has the ability to split defences with his passing. Like Modric, Silva wouldn’t look out of place in Barcelona’s midfield, there can be no higher praise at this moment in time.

On Spurs left wing, Gareth Bale is going to have his work cut out against Richards. Physically, Micah Richards is a beast and will not be easily outdone by Bale’s trademark push past your man and sprint move. City’s left flank could be the weak link, both options for Mancini are more comfortable going forward than back, so Aaron Lennon could have a key role to play if he can hit his stride. Adam Johnson will most likely be going up against Assou-Ekotto and this could be a fascinating duel. Johnson has pace and skills at his disposal to trouble anyone but BAE isn’t just anyone and as always will be calmly confident he can handle the England winger.

With his countryman de Jong missing, Rafa Van der Vaart may hope that he can get the better of Barry and Milner. Rafa was clearly frustrated at Old Trafford and was wasteful with his shooting and unusually wayward with his passing, Redknapp will look for more from him today.

Even more so as Defoe could struggle against City’s dominant centrebacks. At the other end Edin Dzeko is clearly going to bother the Spurs back line. Michael Dawson is however fantastic in the air and if he can keep track of the Bosnian could reduce the threat from that route. Intricate footwork from Silva, Johnson and potentially Tevez, Aguero, Nasri or Balotelli could pose a massive risk to Spurs chances. All of Spurs backline have been known in the past to go to ground rashly in and around the box and all will need to maintain discipline and a calm head throughout.

My Prediction

Anyone who’s listened to Harry Redknapp this summer will know that Spurs actually stand no hope at all. City’s money means it’s impossible for Spurs to win and it’s a surprise that this game hasn’t been conceded and City awarded a walkover win.

Luckily, as Jimmy Greaves catchphrase goes ‘football’s a funny old game’ and no game is over before it starts.

As seen last weekend, City look really frightening going forward but uncharacteristically shaky at the back. This will give confidence to Spurs that with all attacking elements firing a win could well be on the cards. Obviously Roberto Mancini won’t have been happy at conceding the two goals and will be wary of Spurs attacking threat, City may well revert to last seasons more negative style and this could frustrate Spurs in their efforts to make a breakthrough.

This is where Luka Modric will become even more crucial to success in unlocking the meanest defence in the Premier League last season. Despite Spurs home advantage, the bookies have City as favourites. As I write this, I am having huge bouts of optimism and although I firmly believe City are one of the best two teams in the country and will push United all the way for the title, this may not be their day. Spurs have a good record against City and I like to believe that this can be the game where Spurs flex their muscles at the top of the Premier League. I’m going for a 3-2 Spurs win.

COYS

Submitted by www.thfc1882.com

 

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2 Comments

  1. TShill7

    August 28, 2011 at 11:28 am

    Good article let down by the final analysis. Spurs to score 3 goals at home in the League? White & blue tinted glasses weighing heavy on the end of your nose? Pains me to say it but 0-2 to the Moneybags I fear…. as we slide back to the bottom of the League.

  2. It's Grim Oop North

    August 30, 2011 at 8:23 am

    I realise I’m being incredibly childish now, but –

    1-5 to the Mighty Blues.

    Didn’t see that coming did you?

    Ok, I’m sorry, waited many years to taunt you lot like that 🙂

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