MF’s Preview: Manchester City vs Tottenham Hotspur

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City of Manchester Stadium - Header

Just a couple of months after the Premier League voted against the introduction of a play off to decide the last Champions League place Spurs go to Eastlands to play what is tantamount to a play off to decide the last Champions League place. The ramifications of each outcome of Wednesday evening’s game aren’t hard to understand. If we win, we’ve got fourth place no matter what happens at the weekend. If we lose, we need to win at Burnley on Sunday and hope that West Ham do us a favour at Upton Park by beating City. If that game ends in a draw, we could still get fourth but we’d have to win at Turf Moor by a very handsome margin. And finally, if we leave Manchester with a point, then matching at least whatever result Man City get in East London will be enough for us.

Our misfiring attack and City’s greater need for a win mean that on paper this game looks to be a straight battle between the home side’s stat studded front line and our back four, except that with King, Gomes and Corluka all struggling for fitness, we may not be able to put out a defence we can totally rely on. It’d be a real blow if Gomes weren’t to make it. Harry’s non-stop search for a replacement for Cudicini since the motorcycle accident gives a pointer as to his confidence in Ben Alnwick. Right back will be a key position as that is where Bellamy does most of his pouting and posing. Kaboul’s performance against Bolton was a huge improvement on other recent displays and if the treatment Corluka’s been receiving isn’t enough to get him on to the pitch then the Frenchman will play I’m sure. In the middle, it’ll be a surprise if Ledley’s able to play but if not, Sebastien Bassong hasn’t let us down all season and will do fine.

Redknapp’s choice of midfield personnel entirely depends upon his attitude towards this game. Palacios and Lennon are available and both would, you suspect, be in his first choice four across the middle. Modric and Huddlestone have done superbly lately though and after the below par display at Old Trafford it seems risky to break them up again. Bringing Lennon in from the start would send a signal that we’re not just going to sit and be happy with what we start with. For the neutral, Lennon, Bale, Johnson and Bellamy all starting is a mouth-watering prospect.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Crouch gets the nod up front in place of one of Defoe or Pav, as both have looked stale lately. Defoe has scored one goal from open play in his last ten games and Pav one in his last nine. Whilst he’s no Joe Jordan or even a Bobby Zamora Crouch’ll hold the ball up better than the other two and cause more of a nuisance. The option will be there to use one of Pav or Defoe as an ‘impact’ player. All the rage these days apparently.

Our record at Man City’s converted Commonwealth stadium is a good one with only one loss in eight visits. We’re used to seeing gaps in the home crowd and being able to hear a pin drop but this won’t be the case this time round. Their fans are desperate for success and even though the Abu Dhabi millions mean they’ll get it sooner rather than later, they’d prefer it right now and will get behind their team.

It feels like it’s ‘our’ fourth place we’ve been just above the dotted line for so long. Just a couple more quality performances and it will be.

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8 COMMENTS

  1. Harry has the correct attitude, relaxing his players, praising them for what they achieved this season and so on..while Mancini making an absolutely grave error by suggesting that it is a cup final, also bringing the old north london connection into the game which will make his players nervous. Man City despite spending big, they only signed players who were never leaders in their teams, Toure,Adebayor, Tevez and the rest of them always been a second fiddle to great characters in their teams before moving to the City. Spurs will win this encounter, it is a difficult game in anyones standards but Spurs will walk out of that ground with 3 points.

  2. Iver Biggen,i like your positive attitude.
    I am with you on that. A good post and never a truer word said.
    The pressure is on City to win,not us.
    I'll happily take a draw tomorrow and then the win on sunday.
    As a Spurs fan.It is ,and will be a mass roller coaster ride,but wow. What a season we have had and what a ride too.
    COYS

  3. Going to game tomorrow, cant sleep,massive butterfly`s in me stomach, this game is gonna be electric!! COYS.

  4. Spurscanada,your butterflies have also immigrated to China as all the Spurs fans here are as nervous as hell,but we'll still get up 3 a.m. to cheer the lads on. Let's give credits to the 2 teams for this exciting play-off as they both beat Chelsea,which in turn,got all the 18 points from ManU/Arse/Pool with a combined goals total 12 to 1.
    This game will be so exciting that frankly,I would still be nervous even if we were leading 2-0 with 5 minutes to go.
    But Spurs JIA YOL (Chinese for "add oil") !!!!!

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