Premier League 17/18 Week 34: Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester City – Lineups, Preview and Prediction
City go to Wembley looking to take a giant step towards claiming the league title and avoid a quadruple that few would have expected last month
19:45 BST, Saturday 14th April, Wembley Stadium (London, England) Sky Sports
A team still without the silverware to back up their credentials, a win for Tottenham over this season’s champions-elect will add more belief that Mauricio Pochettino has got them on the right tracks. Having won both of their previous home games in the Premier League to a cumulative score of 6-1, Tottenham have good form going into this fixture. In the more recent history of the league, Spurs are on a 14 match unbeaten run ((W11, D3) but that all began with a heavy defeat at the Etihad last December.
For Pep Guardiola and Manchester City, it would be safe to say they’ve both had better weeks than that which has just passed. Twice beaten by Liverpool to be evicted from Europe and a chastening second half against their Manchester rivals in the league has taken a small amount of gloss off their hugely impressive achievements this season. With a huge lead in the table still to their benefit, a win over a Tottenham team glowing in confidence would go some small way to replacing some of this lost sparkle as the season draws towards its conclusion.
Last Time Out
Stoke City 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur (Premier League)
Forever to be remembered as the game in which Harry Kane might have scored, Spurs stretched their winning run to 6 consecutive league victories against a battling Stoke. The first half saw Tottenham make most of the running only to head into the interval frustrated at the Potters organised resistance.
When the opening goal arrived, it was perhaps no surprise it was the boot of Christian Eriksen which launched the ball into the net. Hugo Lloris was then at fault in what was his 200th league appearance for Tottenham, gifting the ball straight to Mame Biram Diouf who coolly slotted it back past the French keeper. Eriksen then found the net for the 3rd time in an 11 minute spell, a shot which now officially brushed the shirt of Kane on it’s way to beating Jack Butland. With Stoke unable to find a 2nd response, Tottenham held on for a comfortable win away during the final half hour.
Manchester City 1-2 Liverpool [1-5 agg] (Champions League)
City fell out of the Champions League to a Liverpool side who again proved to be their red Kryptonite. Guardiola’s claims of needing to bring a near-perfect game to the table were still ringing in the players ears when they took a 2nd minute lead in this game. What followed was some incisive attacking which swamped the Liverpool team, proving that Guardiola’s decision to stick with an unorthodox formation was well placed.
Despite their relentless attacks, City could not claim a 2nd goal – although they hit the woodwork and had a Leroy Sané goal wrongly chalked off. With Guardiola losing his cool at halftime, the Spanish manager was sent to the stands for the second half while his side appeared to wilt from their earlier exertions. A Liverpool goal in the 55th minute took the wind out of City’s sails before Roberto Firmino completely deflated them to leave them out of Europe for another year.
Tottenham Hotspur Lineup
Harry Winks (ankle) is joined on the sidelines by Danny Rose (calf) and Kyle Walker-Peters (hamstring) this weekend. Pochettino is likely to field the team he’s relied on for most of this season with Dele Alli and Heung-Min Son set to start in attack.
Manchester City Lineup
John Stones (groin) Ben Mendy (knee) and Sergio Agüero (knock) are all expected to miss out again for City while Fernandinho is suspended for collecting too many cautions in recent weeks. With Guardiola claiming to only have 14 fit players and some kids for this match, it would be very unwise for anyone to take them at face value for this.
Key Battle: Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur) vs Ederson (Manchester City)
Having claimed the second goal against Stoke through the FA’s dubious goals panel, Kane will look to add more to his tally this season as he chases the golden boot. Currently trailing Mohamed Salah by 4 goals, the England striker will be highly motivated to improve his figures this weekend which could spell trouble for Manchester City
While Ederson is undoubtedly one of the top keepers in the league, the lack of shots he’s faced this year has left some doubt as to exactly how good he is. Likely to face some testing shots to stop on Saturday evening, this battle between him and Kane could prove as revealing as it does decisive in defining this game’s result.
A win to put things right
Tottenham’s recent run of good form can be traced firmly back to their 4-1 defeat at the Etihad at the end of 2017. As a side who were just showing signs of genuine promise, the City result came as a crushing blow to Pochettino’s men.
Despite making a good showing of themselves in Manchester, Spurs were ruthlessly shredded by City who gave a major lesson in being clinical. Similar to their Champions League exit at the hands of Juventus, Spur will need to show they’ve learnt the valuable ability of belief in their own game. With a single-minded striker at the tip of their attack, Spurs may just be starting to evolve into the team Pochettino has often talked about developing.
A win to ease the pain
The measure of a great team is often quoted as being not the way they win, rather how they bounce back from defeat. City are still awaiting the bounce from their latest setback and will face another gruelling test this weekend.
Despite a more low-key feel to this clash due to the reduced stakes on offer for either team, City will be determined to end their current tribulations. With only two wins needed to formally clinch the league title this season, there is little doubt they will fail to land the trophy for the 3rd time in 7 years. This, however, is the final high-profile fixture of their season and to go out on a whimper from this match is not the message they will want to leave behind.
Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 3-2 Manchester City
Missing both Fernandinho and Agüero could prove a body-blow for City. Tottenham also have the advantage of having had a full week to prepare this match without fatigue being an issue for them. With a 4-1 humbling in the return fixture to avenge, Spurs will be keen to show they can topple City before next season gets underway and they could just prove too strong for City to handle on this occasion.