Tottenham travel to the Etihad stadium tomorrow to play Manchester City as the Premier League returns from the international break. Spurs come off the back of a disappointing home defeat to Newcastle with the hosts too entertaining a shock defeat at the hands of Sunderland. It was a double Tyneside defeat for the two sides.
Tottenham have lost their last three league visits to Manchester City, having won on seven of their previous nine trips. The last four meetings have produced a total of 18 goals – 11 for City, and seven for Spurs.
City are the only team in the top four divisions of English football with a perfect home record this season. They have scored 20 times and conceded twice in their five league matches at the Etihad Stadium this term. They have scored in 55 consecutive Premier League home games since a 0-0 draw with Birmingham in November 2010. A fact that Tottenham will be cautious of is that of the 114 different players to have scored at least 40 Premier League goals, only Thierry Henry (122) has a better minutes per goal average than Sergio Aguero (123), who is likely to line up against the Lilywhites.
Prior to this weekend, only Arsenal (13) had claimed more points away from home than Tottenham (10) this season. The only league goal Spurs have conceded on their travels this season was scored by Olivier Giroud in a 1-0 defeat at Arsenal on 1 September. Against Newcastle, Tottenham attempted 31 shots, including 14 on target. Before this weekend, Spurs had attempted more shots at goal (157, excluding blocked efforts) than any other Premier League side. However, they also had the lowest conversion rate (5.7%).
Injury and team wise – The big question for City is whether Joe Hart will earn back his place in goal, but Pellegrini refused to confirm whether Hart will be welcomed back into the team after leaving him out in favour of Costel Pantilimon for four fixtures. Vincent Kompany is set to miss out through injury which will be a big blow for the home side with playmaker David Silva and Jovetic also out of action.
For Spurs, Villas-Boas has suggested that Emmanuel Adebayor could feature against his former club, but Roberto Soldado is expected to start up front. Danny Rose is still out injured for Spurs with Etienne Capoue still returning from injury. Christian Eriksen will be the biggest blow after he suffered a nasty ankle injury whilst on Danish duty. Vlad Chiriches is playing again after his clash against the Toon and should he start, will wear his protective mask.
I can see this only going one way unfortunately. With Tottenham performing far from top four standard as of late, this is going to be a very challenging test. Despite carrying a good away streak, AVB’s men will find it difficult to produce chances I feel, especially with Eriksen out. Against Newcastle we did produce attacking moments but fighting through the City defence will be a greater challenge. They provide a bit too much threat going forward however with Sandro and Paulinho in the centre, I could potentially see Yaya Toure having to fight just as hard to push forward as opposed to his usual capability to stroll through the centre.
Predicted Team: Lloris, Walker, Dawson, Chiriches, Vertonghen, Sandro, Paulinho, Townsend, Holtby, Lamela, Soldado.
Predicted Score: Man City 3-0 Tottenham