Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur has been a big fixture in the Barclays Premier League in recent seasons, but none have been bigger than that which takes place on the afternoon of Sunday 22nd January 2012, for, this time, both clubs are in with a realistic prospect of lifting the Premier League come the end of the season.
The match, which kicks off at 13:30 GMT in City’s Etihad Stadium, sees first play third, with Spurs, who lie five points behind the Sky Blues, looking to take advantage of a slightly weakened City outfit, and gain revenge for an early-season 5-1 humbling at White Hart Lane.
While Mario Balotelli and Micah Richards – both of whom were missing in midweek for City – are expected to return for the rich Manchester team, Man City will be without the Toure brothers who are in Africa for the Cup of Nations, and shall also be missing their captain, Vincent Kompany, who is still banned for that tackle on Manchester United’s Nani.
Spurs will be without their loaned City striker, Emmanuel Adebayor, as the loan contract precludes him playing against his parent club, while Ledley King remains doubtful. Spurs’ defence is bolstered, however, by the recent return of Michael Dawson.
Tottenham also come into this match in a rich vein of form: they are unbeaten in their last seven matches, and have scored in each of their last twenty outings. City, on the other hand, have wobbled of late, performing badly in both cups, and looking a little short of ideas without playmaker David Silva. Their rich squad, while running deep, has not looked brilliant when short of it’s top players: and there are three missing today.
If there is anywhere you do not want a chink against Spurs, it is in defence, for they can and will work chances against any team, with pace up both flanks, and finishers like Jermain Defoe up top. That being said, Man City have a world class right-back in Micah Richards, though Aaron Lennon might find he gets some joy out of Gail Clichy at left-back, if the City defender does not remain ultra-focussed today.
City’s main issue, lately, in stark contrast to their prolific start to the season, has been finding goals. Early in the season, Edin Dzeko, Sergio Aguero, David Silva and Mario Balotelli were sharing out goals in multiples. More recently, as one or two of those players have picked up knocks, the goals for the whole team have dried up. Much depends on getting at least 75% of those four on and firing at some stage today, it is felt, for, other than that quartet, much of City’s attacking drive has come through Yaya Toure, who will not be present today.
This match, however, is very difficult to call. It could literally go either way. There should be goals at either end based on the season as a whole, but, if recent form is considered, it could also easily be that either side keeps a clean sheet, and steals the game by one goal to nil.
In other words, fans on all sides, home, away or neutral, are set up for a great spectacle.
Man City v Tottenham kicks off at 13:30 GMT on Sunday 22 January 2012.
Who do you think will win Man City v Spurs on Sunday 22 January 2012, and why? Leave your comment below.