OPPONENTS Manchester City
COMPETITION Premier League
DATE Sunday 3rd May 2015
VENUE White Hart Lane






At this stage of the season, it might be nice to meet a team who have little to play for.  Instead, we meet a Manchester City side, who want to prove that they are not as bad as their league position makes out and to stop a run of four consecutive away defeats.  With a top four placing more or less safe, with a further three points probably sealing it, City have more to play for than placing, with the manager's position under scrutiny and the players playing for their place at the club, although some seem to be on their way out anyway,

Joe Hart has had a season with some fine performances, but has had a few mishaps along the way and Spurs need to test him out and see how he functions under pressure.  To do so, the tempo of our game has to be right from the start, as City can switch defence into attack very quickly and have caught Spurs out numerous times over the last few matches between the sides.  For Tottenham's sake, we cannot reproduce last week's calamitous defending ay Southampton.

Without Kompany at the back, Eliaquim Mangala would be expected to step into a commanding position, but despite his bug fee, he has been rocky this season, making mistakes and being caught out, while the other central defender, Martin Demichelis ha been better this season, but is still suspect, so it will be interesting to see if he tries to bully Kane out of the game, or relies on being able to better him on ability alone.  Zabaleta is a fine attacking full back, but lacks a little pace and Spurs will need to make that pay, with space in behind him to be exploited and on the other flank, if Clichy returns, he has some of the same failings.  There is scope there for Tottenham if they move the ball quick enough.

Other defensive options include Dedryck Boyata, who has not developed from a youth player as the club might have expected and he mainly plays a fringe squad member role, while Kolarov and Sagna do not command first pick status these days. 

In midfield, City have strength, but without Yaya Toure on this trip, they might have a weakness through the middle.  However, with the likes of Silva, Nasri, Milner, Lampost, Fernando and Fernandinho, there are enough options to cover for the Ivory Coast international.  Silva is the main creator there, while Milner works up and down the line, the two Fernandos through the middle and Nasri usually has a floating role behind the front two.

Those two have enjoyed a lot of joy against the Spurs defences over the last few years.  Aguero and Dzeko are keen goal-scorers and while City have been given more than the rub of the green in terms of decisions (penalties, sending offs, etc), they have taken them with both hands (about the only offence they haven't committed).   Aguero is the epitome of the modern striker.  Quick in thought and deed, he is strong on the ball and hard to shake off.  His goal-scoring record is quite phenomenal.  Dzeko doesn't always start, but is equally adept at taking a chance, so both will need the Spurs defence to pay particular attention to them.  Now they have the added strike-power of Wilfried Bony from Swansea City, they might tray and use his physicality to upset the defenders and allow Aguero space to do his thing.

Spurs need to put together a run towards the end of this season to spell out to potential signings that we can challenge nearer the top, to gain the extra cash from finishing as high as possible and to get things in place for the new season.  It might mean having to field a few players who may be tired, but those who do not feature in Pochettino's plans are already annexed (Adebayor, Capoue, Kaboul), with the future of Dembele an interesting conundrum.

I think City are a little vulnerable, but with their recent record against Spurs and  our occasional lack of application, I think they might come out on top, although by a narrower margin than the previous few meetings.

PREDICTION Tottenham Hotspur    1         Manchester City    2
Click here for more info on opponents - stats v thfc , an alternative history, etc.
Spurs will be without Kyle Walker (foot) and Ben Davies (shoulder), while Danny Rose could fill in for Davies as he overcomes a hamstring injury.
Yaya Toure has a hamstring injury, while captain Vincent Kompany will be missing with  a groin problem, along with Stevan Jovetic (muscle problem).  Gael Clichy and Samir Nasri are sure to return from injury.

Sky Sports 1 - (live coverage)
Sky Sports 1 -  Ford Football Special -  Sunday 22.00; Monday 03.00; Monday 07.30
Match of the Day 2  (BBC 1) - Sunday 22.30 (highlights)  Also available online.

For coverage in all parts of the world, check here and here.

Radio :  
BBC LONDON 94.9FM (London area only), Digital Radio (London area only) &  Sky Channel 0152  (live coverage)
Commentary may be found on
>   BBC Radio Five Live (live coverage)  606/939 MW
TalkSport (DAB or 1089 MW)
Absolute Radio  (1215 AM/MW)

If available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard in these countries on these stations ...
Australia (Melbourne)
SEN  -  116 AM  Live Transmissions: TWI, Saturday. 12.45 & 15.00 matches
Australia (Sydney) 
Radio 2  -  1611AM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 12.45 Match
Media Corp Radio  -  93.8 FM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
South Africa 
SABC (Radio 2000)  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
Uganda  Radio 1 (English) 90.0 FM, Radio 2 (Lugandan) 87.9 FM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
North America (USA, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean) 
Sirius Satellite Radio  Live transmission: Saturday - 12.45, 15.00 (TWI) & 17.15 (BBC) Sunday - 14.00 & 16.05 (BBC) Mon, Tue, Wed - Various times (BBC)

Internet :   Live webcast  - subscribers only
BBC London - click on link to "Listen to Tottenham Hotspur live commentary" on top right hand menu.

Tottenham Hotspur  0 (0)                                                                   Manchester City  1 (1)
Premier League
Sunday 3rd May 2015                                                                                                                    Kick off 16:00
White Hart Lane
None Aguero 28m 10s
Bentaleb (foul on Fernandinho)  42
Mason (foul on  Fernandinho)  45+1
Kane (foul on Silva)  90+5


Milner (foul on Rose)  41
Zabaleta (foul on Chadli)  68
Kolarov (foul on Lamela)  74
Silva (foul on Paulinho)  82


Crowd :   35,784 Weather :  Bright, sunny, with some cloudy spells
Referee :  Andre Marriner (West Midlands) Assistant Referees :  Mr. S. Ledger; Mr. M. Perry
Fourth Official :  Neil Swarbrick -
Manchester City kicked off and played towards the Paxton Road end in the first half.
Game time : -  90 + 7 minutes.
Tottenham Hotspur : kit Manchester City : kit
  1  Hugo LLORIS (cpt)

15  Eric DIER
21  Federico FAZIO
  3  Danny ROSE

38  Ryan MASON       (  8  PAULINHO 70)
42  Nabil BENTALEB     

11  Erik LAMELA 
23  Christian ERIKSEN  (  9  Roberto SOLDADO 59)
22  Nacer CHADLI  (10  Emmanuel ADEBAYOR 84)

18  Harry KANE     

Unused subs: 
13  Michel VORM
25  Benjamin STAMBOULI
12  DeAndre YEDLIN

    1  Joe HART (cpt)

  5  Pablo ZABALETA     
  Eliaquim MANGALA
11  Aleksander KOLAROV     

18  Frank LAMPARD  (  8  Samir NASRI 73 [14  Wilfried BONY 76])

  7  James MILNER     
21  David SILVA     

16  Sergio AGUERO    (38  Dedryck BOYATA 89)

Unused subs: 
13  Willie CABELLERO
22  Gael CLICHY
  3  Bacary SAGNA

Manager :  Mauricio Pochettino Manager :  Manuel Pellegrini
Sponsor :   AIA Shirt sponsor :  Etihad Airways
Kit Supplier :  Under Armour Kit Supplier :   Nike
Match report

Tottenham were hit with a sucker punch by Manchester City to fall to another home defeat and got a taste of the way we play away from home.  In a game of plenty of chances, it was one punch more than featured in the previous night's "Fight of the Millennium" between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather.

Despite playing better than they have done against Manchester City in recent years, Spurs were undone, when City broke away from a Spurs corner to score on the counter-attack.

With Davies' injury ruling him out, Danny Rose returned at left back, while the rest of the side remained the same as recently. As for City, they were missing Yaya Toure in midfield and Vincent Kompany at the back, so could Spurs capitalise on their absence ?

To start off, it looked like they could and should have been three up before three minutes were out. An early break saw Eriksen's quick release send Chadli away on the left beyond the City defence. Instead of heading straight for goal, he went left and with players in the box, his cross was blocked for a corner. Eriksen took it and found Eric Dier's head, unmarked six yards out. With the goal opening up in front of him, the defender slid his header wide of the far post, when it looked odds on that he would score. It looked as though it wouldn't matter when Harry Kane was put through on the right inside the box seconds later by Lamela, but his shot was pulled across goal and wide.

Would Tottenham come to rue these missed chances ? With eleven minutes gone, it looked like it might be the case. Kolarov broke down the left wing and whipped in a cross, but whether he meant to pick out Aguero at the back of the box is questionable, but the Argentine striker crashed an instant volley at goal that flew powerfully wide by a yard or so. He was denied by Lloris, who came out to grab the ball before Aguero could seize on a long through ball. But Tottenham were still attacking with Kane missing with a shot and then just being flagged offside when Dier played in a fine cross.

In the 22nd minute, a through ball saw the heavily watered pitch cause Spurs as many problems as the one at Southampton did last week. As Aguero went through, Lloris came out to hack clear, but slipped and fell, leaving the City striker to run onto the ball as it went into the box, but he too fell, claiming contact by Federico Fazio, which did look to be the case. The referee, the hapless Andre Marriner failed to think along the same lines and waved play on, sparing our defender an embarrassing double of being sent off home and away against City.

As it was, the respite was brief. Bentaleb slashed a shot wide, then Rose had a shot blocked by Milner, before regaining the ball to cross to the far post, where Dier hit a volley at goal, blocked by Mangala. From the corner, Bentaleb was close to it, but Hart grabbed it, threw out and then City were away. Silva broke down the right, with Spurs players trying to get back and Lamela couldn't get to both opposition players going through and a pass inside Rose and Mason tried to catch Aguero offside, but he ran onto the ball and hit a first time shot to beat Lloris at his near post. It was similar to last week's first goal at Southampton, when Sade ran away from our defence before the comedy of errors handed them their goal.

It was slightly against the run of play, but it showed the importance of taking your chances when they arise. It is a failing that has arisen during the season and is made worse when midfielders don't protect the full backs that well.

Fazio had a header from a corner that glanced wide, while Kolarov pulled a cross back from the left wing to Fernandinho, who ran onto it with a clear shot on goal and his shot went wide of Lloris' left hand upright thanks to a fine block by Danny Rose. It was a real let off for Spurs.

It was interesting to see Manchester City, who, in previous games with Spurs, have steam-rollered us. From the start, there was time-wasting tactics, with Milner consistently knocking the ball away, every time he had a decision go against him. Plus the holding at corners and late tackling shows how desperate they were to achieve a win, whereas, it came much easier in the recent past.

The match moved from end to end, with Tottenham's moves breaking down, as City quickly got six men back behind the ball on most Spurs attacks, while Aguero went past Lamela on the corner of the area, before letting go a shot that Lloris dived low to save. Fernandinho was set up for another shot, this time by Aguero, but again he missed the target, but with no deflection this time. It was a shocking miss.

Spurs pressed as half-time approached, with Kane playing a ball beyond the City defence, who had pushed up for off-side, but Mason's run defeated that and he took the ball down, with his back to goal, hitting the ball on the turn, but Hart had come out to block his shot at the cost of a corner. That and the following two corners saw City desperately getting in the way.

Half-time saw the big screen show Ricky Villa's FA Cup final goal against City and then he was interviewed, followed by Martin Chivers, who had celebrated his 70th birthday last week.

Happier times of games against City behind us, it was back to business with the task in hand, but the start of the half saw neither side seriously threaten the goal. Lamela had a shot blocked, which Kane fired the rebound too high, then Lampard's shot at the other end was well blocked by Rose. Aguero had two efforts blocked and then Kane got past Demichelis and hit a shot at goal, but Hart made himself big to save. Aguero should have got his second of the match, after making ground past Vertonghen and Fazio on the City right, playing it to Fernandinho and getting it back to take it wide of Lloris at the far post and he swivelled to shoot into an unguarded goal, but screwed his effort wide. Vertonghen and Bentleb blocked efforts on goal, before substitute Roberto Soldado was inches away from meeting Dier's tantalising low cross across the face of the City goal.

Kolarov moved up the left wing and then inside, so without a challenge on him, he let fly from 30 yards with a searing shot that Lloris was pleased to push over the bar. It was a sharp save, as the ball seemed to be heading just under the bar.

There were plenty of City fouls that earned bookings as they got more desperate as Spurs threw players forward, but the referee failed to take action against City substitute Samir Nasri, who, a minute after coming on, went down injured in the Spurs box when the ball went out for  a Tottenham goal-kick.  He managed to get up to limp to the half-way line, where he slumped at the referee's feet and then received at least a minute's treatment before he was helped off by two City physios to the dug-out.  This despite the weak-minded referee had indicated that he had to go off on the East Stand side as it was closest, but instead let him take the long and very slow route.  Referees wonder why they get no respect ??

When play eventually started again, Kane was on the end of a neat chipped ball into the box by Paulinho, but as it dropped, Soldado took the shot and got a lot of power behind it, but it was blocked by a  light blue shirt.  Full backs of both sides were getting forward, with Kolarov's low ball to the near post kicked away by Lloris and then Dier putting a decent curling cross in, but it was too close to the keeper.  

Silva fouled Paulinho with a bad challenge that earned a booking, but the Brazilian got up to get on the end of the free-kick from Lamela to throw himself at the ball and head it just wide.  Then he played the ball in to Soldado's feet, Lamela took it off Roberto and lined it up for a shot by Paulinho, but Hart was down at the foot of his left post to turn it aside. 

There was the bizarre sound of both sets of fans booing, as Emmanuel Adebayor replaced Chadli.  He came on; his first touch was poor and his second was a tackle; he ran about a bit and frankly added little to the attempt to get something out of the game.  I am not sure what he was doing on the bench, but this wasn't much of a shop window if that was what was intended.

Milner raced away down the right wing, putting a low ball into Bony at the near post and he took his shot first time and all associated with Spurs were relieved that it hit the advertising hoardings and not the back of the net.   Erik Lamela was on the spot again in added time, when he tried a scissors kick at a Rose cross.  He didn't make proper contact with the ball, but it bounced down into the ground and up, forcing Hart to react and touch it over the bar.  Tottenham continued to spend time in  City's final third, with the succession of corners bringing their usual return ... nothing.

It left City with a fortunate win, although both sides had enough chances and a draw might have been a fairer result, but it is another game that points out the needs for next season.  Eriksen was shut down and the City midfield hurried to get behind the ball as soon as they lost it, highlighting the failing Spurs have trying to break down sides who are well-organised.  Both our full-backs got forward, but there was always the threat from the visitors that we would get caught on the break, as it proved. 

By no means was it a bad performance from Spurs, especially when compared to those against City in the past three seasons.  Perhaps it is a sign of what might have been had we been able to keep ten men on the pitch for a number of those games and to keep the margin to a single goal is a big improvement in previous years.  But Pochettino must be thinking already of who he wants to bring in to plug the holes and open up opposition defences for the next campaign.  We have a number of players returning from loan, but he might have made his plans for those; whether that is to keep them or sell them.

Three more games to go and at least the side are putting in the effort, even if they are not getting results.  Three more games and a potential nine points.  Stoke next week, without Marc Wilson, who was sent off today and then Hull, who might still need the points and might fancy their chances against us, before we go to Everton on the last day, who will be without their star performer, Aaron Lennon.  Four out of nine is a pragmatic view; seven would be better and nine marvellous.  Europa League beckons unless Timbo works his magic and gets one over on Arsenal.  Either way, there is still something to play for, even if it is only place money.

Wyart Lane




Manchester City fans adopted the song "Blue Moon" not because of their club's colours, but because that was how often they had success in the early 1980s.   After crashing to defeat to Grimsby Town on a  televised match after the weekend, the City fans changed the lyrics to "Blue Moonday".


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What you thought
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Other scores during this week :
Aston Villa 3 Everton 2 Saturday
Leicester City 3 Newcastle United 0 Saturday
Liverpool 2 QPR 1 Saturday
Manchester United 0 West Bromwich Albion 1 Saturday
Sunderland 2 Southampton 1 Saturday
Swansea City 2 Stoke City 0 Saturday
West Ham United 1 Burnley 0 Saturday
Chelsea 1 Crystal Palace 0 Sunday
Hull City 1 Arsenal 3 Monday




League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Chelsea 35 25 8 2 70 27 83 +43
2 Manchester City 35 21 7 7 71 36 70 +35
3 Arsenal 34 21 7 6 66 33 70 +33
4 Manchester United 35 19 8 8 59 35 65 +24
5 Liverpool 35 18 7 10 49 38 61 +12
6 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 35 17 7 11 55 50 58 +5
7 Southampton 35 17 6 12 47 28 57 +19
8 Swansea City 35 15 8 12 43 44 53 -1
9 West Ham United 35 12 11 12 42 43 47 -1
10 Stoke City 35 13 8 14 39 44 47 -5
11 Everton 35 11 11 13 46 46 44 0
12 Crystal Palace 35 11 9 15 42 48 42 -6
13 West Bromwich Albion 35 10 10 15 33 46 40 -13
14 Aston Villa 35 9 8 18 29 50 35 -21
15 Newcastle United 35 9 8 18 35 59 35 -25
16 Leicester City 35 9 7 19 39 54 34 -15
17 Hull City 35 8 10 17 33 48 34 -15
18 Sunderland 34 6 15 13 28 50 33 -22
19 QPR 35 7 6 22 39 61 27 -22
20 Burnley 35 5 11 19 26 52 26 -26


Position before match :  6th
Position after match :  6th
Position after the weekend :  6th


* Pub facts may not actually be true, but after a few pints everyone will think so.


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