The best team that the Abu Dhabi Dhiram can buy come to White Hart Lane on Wednesday evening for what is another big test in Tim Sherwood’s embryonic managerial career as well as a chance for us to get revenge for our biggest defeat of the season. Yes, the goal machine that is Man City are juggernauting into town.
Personally I’m still not used to the blue side of Manchester being anything other than underachievers. The names of Shaun Goater and Richard Dunne are more closely associated with the club in my mind than those that have recently been floated in on the petrodollar fuelled magic carpet. There’s a transient and impermanent feeling about what’s going on at City, mind you I feel the same about Chelsea and it’s over ten years now since Ken Bates sold up and the history revisionists moved in to Fulham Broadway.
City’s current form makes this game one of your stiffer tests. Their slick football and no nonsense finishing has fared better at Eastlands than away from it where they stuttered early on in the season with defeats at Cardiff, City and Sunderland and whilst they’ve improved of late, the last of those defeats was in November, they’re still showing signs of vulnerability away from home; they only drew at Blackburn and were fortunate at Newcastle. Not that I’m suggesting that they’re there for the taking of course, any point earned in this game will be a good point.
The great set of league results garnered since the change of manager has made it easy to forget how much of a work in progress we are. Injuries meant that Sherwood was left with a limited squad when he took over but it was one that fitted his immediate view of the way forward. There will shortly be the opportunity for him to tinker and tweak as the wounded return. Paulinho, Sandro, Kaboul and Vertonghen are all rumoured to be there or thereabouts and the introduction of several, if not all, of them will be tempting depending on Sherwood’s approach. Going toe-to-toe would be foolish whilst sitting back waiting for their firepower to find its range would also. So somewhere in the middle then. But what about the personnel? Tim will be reluctant to change much but can we afford all of Chadli, Lennon and Eriksen leaving just Dembele and Bentaleb in the centre to combat Toure, Fernandinho and Silva? Hm. If taking the game to the away team is going to be the preferred method then maybe Soldado and Defoe should be given a half each to run their socks off mostly up front but also giving the midfield some support. Or maybe some young legs, how about Kane? Radical perhaps but the boy’s in form and we have a precedent with Bentaleb. It’s a tough one and as I say, the fact that Sherwood’s now got choices will mean that we’ll get to know him better.
Nasri, Milner and Garcia are out for them, Negredo is fit though unfortunately.
City do concede goals, they generally score loads as well though. We’ve got to try and win our individual duels and hope that we can sneak a goal or two, if we do, then maybe we can emulate Cardiff, Villa and Sunderland. That can’t be too hard can it?
Andre Marriner is down to referee. COYS.
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