OPPONENTS Manchester City
COMPETITION Premier League
DATE Sunday 11th November 2012
VENUE Etihad Stadium






An interesting match up sees Spurs travel to Manchester City for a vital game for both clubs as they aim to break into the upper echelons of the Premier League.

Spurs lost to Wigan last weekend, but have had a victory in Europe, while City are on the back of two draws, held in Europe by Ajax at home and in the League last week, they were goal-less against West Ham at Upton Park.  SO, both sides will be looking to return to winning ways in the League and they are both having problems in certain areas of the team.

City look shaky at the back, where Vincent Kompany and Joleon Leescott were so dominant last season, while Spurs have been finding goal harder to come by, with the absence of Luka Modric and Rafael van der Vaart being felt while Mousa Dembele has been out with a hip injury.  City's back line has been changed around because of injury and poor form, leaving a lack of consistency and allowing other teams opportunities to get goals.  Whereas last season they were sticking goal away for fun, this season they are winning by the odd goal.

Joe Hart has been in good form, but as shown in midweek, the back four are slow to react and have been getting done at set-pieces ... not that this will help Spurs, who are notoriously bad at making the most from dead ball situations.  Javi Garcia has struggled to adapt to English football, while Gael Clichy has been unable to recapture his form of last season.  Richards is out injured and the experienced Zabaleta might be used to stop one of our wingers, but he lack space and this might mean a recall for Maicon.  If he renews his battle with Gareth Bale, they might need a taxi waiting outside.

In midfield, Gareth Barry has been getting caught out and in the absence of James Milner, the work ethic is not quite what it was.  While high wages tempt a lot of players to the Etihad, the return does not always match the outlay and Samir Nasri has been a peripheral figure as he ahs not been playing regularly and his input is not always meeting the expectations of the fans.  David Silva's return might provide a key in unlocking defences, as his passing is damaging and he can also link up to finish off moves.  Yaya Toure runs the midfield and he is a big presence there, so will need to be competed with and Scott Sinclair is in the wings, having had only a few chances to show what he can do.  A talented player who last year starred in Swansea's rise, he might be taking the Shaun Wright-Phillips route to nowhere.

I attack there are a number of options for Roberto Mancini to consider.  His love-hate relationship with Mario Balotelli continues and while he was the match winner with a late penalty last season, he could easily have been sitting in the stand after stamping on Scott Parker.  Sergio Aguero is an almost certain starter, providing a different problem to most forwards, in that his low centre of gravity makes him a difficult player to get off the ball.  He can generate a lot of power in his shooting and also is aware enough around the box to pick out a pass if the situation requires it.  Carlos Tevez was rehabilitated after absconding last season and is a prodigious worker and also a scorer of different types of goals, while Edin Dzeko is not just a target man, as he is skilful enough to use his feet to good effect, as we found out at home last campaign.  The tall striker is a good goal-scorer and can be used from the bench as an alternative to who he has replaced.

But Spurs have enough in their team to cause City problems, with Bale and Lennon running at their full backs, with the midfield supporting and the full backs getting up outside our wingers, City might find that they are sometimes outnumbered.  But Spurs can't go gung-ho, with a considered approach needed.  Last season were 0-2 down before we started playing.  We can't afford to do that again and while a quick start might catch City off guard, we need to be alert enough to stop anything going in at our end.

With both teams off their best, it could be a score-draw and that is what I am going for.

PREDICTION Manchester City    1      Tottenham Hotspur   1
Click here for more info on opponents - stats v thfc , history, etc.
David Silva may return in midfield for City, while Joleon Leescott (back) and Maicon might be ready to return to bolster City's shaky defence.  The home side will still be missing Micah Richards (knee), James Milner (hamstring) and Jack Rodwell (hamstring).
Spurs will still be without Scott Parker (Achilles), Benoit Assou-Ekotto (knee) and Younes Kaboul (knee).  Jake Livermore will be fit for consideration and Spurs hope that Sandro (calf) and Mousa Dembele (hip) might be fit to play.

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Manchester City  2 (0)     
Premier League
Sunday 11th November 2012                              
Venue :  Etihad Stadium
Tottenham Hotspur  1 (1)

Kick off  13:30
Aguero 65
Dzeko 88
Caulker 21
Zabaleta (continual fouling)  29


Walker (foul on )  27
Adebayor (foul on Zabaleta)  76


Crowd :   47,208 Weather :  Chilly, dry
Referee :  Michael Oliver (Newcastle-Upon-Tyne) Assistant Referees :  Mr. S. Long; Mr. D. England
Fourth Official :  Lee Mason -
Manchester City kicked off and played towards the The Key 103 Stand end in the first half.
Manchester City : kit Tottenham Hotspur : kit
  1  Joe HART

13  Aleksander KOLAROV
33  Matija NASTASIC  (33  MAICON 56)
  4  Vincent KOMPANY (c)
  5  Pablo ZABALETA     

21  David SILVA 
42  Yaya TOURE
18  Gareth BARRY

32  Carlos TEVEZ (10  Edin DZEKO 73
16  Sergio AGUERO (14  Javi GARCIA 90)

Unused subs: 
28  Kolo TOURE
11  Scott SINCLAIR
62  Abdul RAZAK


  24  Brad FRIEDEL

28  Kyle WALKER        (20  Michael DAWSON 78)
33  Steven CAULKER
13  William GALLAS (c)


  7  Aaron LENNON  (16  Kyle NAUGHTON 87)
  2  Clint DEMPSEY
11  Gareth BALE

10  Emmanuel ADEBAYOR       (18  Jermain DEFOE 80)

Unused subs: 
23  Carlo CUDICINI

Manager :  Roberto Mancini Manager :   Andre Villas-Boas
Sponsor :   Etihad Airways Shirt sponsor :  Aurasma
Kit Supplier :  Umbro Kit Supplier :   Under Armour
Match report

What could easily have been a memorable win ended up as a 1-2 loss to Manchester City as a result of a couple of individual mistakes that turned the game the home team's way.

Much had been made of Andre Villas-Boas' change of tactics for the midweek Europa League game at home to Maribor, where he played two up front, but it was always on the cards that he would return to his favoured 4-2-3-1 formation for an away Premier League match at the home of the league champions.  The only surprise may have been that Emmanuel Adebayor was selected to play the lone striker rather than hat-trick hero of Thursday night, Jermain Defoe.

Spurs looked comfortable for much of the first half playing the system AVB had selected.  Taking a lead and then defending that they did not look overly troubled by the presence of Manchester City's stars, but it all went wrong halfway through the second half.

City started playing long behind Walker and trying to thread the ball through the Tottenham defence. It worked on occasion, but the final shots tended to be off target or weak enough for Friedel to stop without any worry.  Referee Oliver was allowing some heavy challenges on Bale and Lennon to go unpunished with cards, but decided to book Walker for his first offence. Zabaleta was having a running battle with Adebayor, with seemingly no love lost between the ex-team-mates, but it ended with the City full back getting booked for a number of fouls and Adebayor also seeing yellow for an arm across Zabaleta's face as the defender fell into a challenge.

Spurs had a good spell of pressure for about five minutes starting 15 minutes in.  A couple of free-kicks and a couple of corners from Huddlestone put the home defence under pressure and a cross into the box bounced high and was left by the City defenders, allowing Lennon to challenge for it, with the ball going wide to Adebayor, who looked to be bumped by a defender and Hart then went under him.  No penalty was the decision. 

Not that it mattered too much, as from a 22nd minute free-kick out on the right, Steven Caulker escaped the attention of a defender and ghosted between Kolarov and Zabaleta to head the ball down and Joe Hart was behind it, but fumbled it over the line and Spurs were in the lead. 

City hit back straight away, with a neat passing move that got them into the area and Sergio Aguero popped the ball up to go past Gallas, just about on the penalty spot, with the ball hitting the Spurs captain's arm.  Once more Oliver was not interested and Spurs broke away, with Adebayor leading the line, taking the ball across the edge of the penalty box before back-heeling it to Tom Huddlestone, who struck the ball well, but a foot wide of the keeper's right hand post.  The ball had gone past the dead ball line before hart got there, so it would have beaten him if it had been on target.

Bale managed to get on the end of a Vertonghen cross, but couldn't control his header and it drifted over, then, Zabaleta ran into the Spurs box at the other end and Huddlestone cut across him with his shoulder and the Argentine hit the ground and was left berating the linesman for not being given a penalty.  Twice towards the end of the half City engineered good moves, with Silva pulling a ball back for Tevez, who half-hit it, making it easy for Brad to flop on the ball, then a move from more or less the same area brought a weak shot from Zabaleta when he was put through into the box.

At half-time, there was much talk about how AVB would play the second half, with a lead and Defoe on the bench, would he throw him on with the "attack being the best form of defence" belief or carry on as he was and bring Defoe on for Adebayor later to provide some fresh legs to test the tiring City defence ?

As it turned out, the team kicked off the same as finished the half and City continued attacking, as Spurs found it hard to relieve the pressure.  On 56 minutes, the moment came that changed the game, with Maicon replacing Nastasic and moving into midfield.  This gave City more attacking potency on their right, with Vertonghen sometimes exposed, with Bale not always tracking back as quickly as he should have done.  And the first goal for the home side came down that flank when a Spurs attack broke down.  Toure had already hit the side-netting with a shot before Jan dithered on the ball near the side-line and played it to Hud, who had no options to pas sit on to and his ball forward was picked off.  Suddenly, City shifted it to Silva infield and as Kyle Walker came infield to cover, his attempted interception took the ball into the path of Toure, who played in Aguero on the right inside the box.  The Argentinian's low shot across Friedel was well placed out of the keeper's reach and City were level.  It had been coming for a while, but it was a poor goal to conceded when you look at where it started.

Before and after the goal, Bale had shots from just outside the box that went wide, when he should have made Hart work to save a shot, but these were isolated opportunities, as City moved towards the Spurs goal and it looked like Old Trafford all over again.

Maicon slid a cross along the six yard line with nobody there to apply the finishing touch and Tevez fired a low shot across the face of goal before he made way for Edin Dzeko.  Bale once more wriggled through three tackles on the edge of the area before hitting a low shot that Hart did well to beat out.  Spurs had to make a change when Walker limped off and Michael Dawson came on in his place, then Adebayor was taken off before he got sent off, with Defoe getting his chance to get involved.

Again, the pressure built, with City having three men in attack now, with Silva first toe-ending a shot just wide and then creating a chance for Aguero, who shot low from a central position and Brad kept it out with his legs, but two minutes form time, Spurs were undone and their attempt to defend the lead came to nothing.

Another move on the City right saw Dzeko come in off the line with Caulker allowing him to move towards the box.  The ball was played across to Silva, who played a dinked pass in behind Dawson, who was slow turning and Dzeko got there before him to shoot left footed past Friedel and into the roof of the net to make it 2-1.   it was a blow to Spurs, but one that had been coming for a while.

Although there was five minutes added time, this did not cover the time that City wasted kicking the ball away at throw-ins and goal-kicks and they resorted to making substitutions at the late stages, which, I suppose, is a compliment, but one that frustrates and referees don't do much about.

So, time was eeked out and City had the three points.  With the game at a vital stage, Spurs had to make a substitution when City had made their crucial change and non such things games are won and lost, but the manager cannot be made to be responsible for individual errors and it was two moments when indecision allowed City to gain the intitative.

The team are still learning to play the way AVB wants and there will be moments when this happens, but perhaps this was a better performance at the Etihad than last season, as we didn't give City the space and time to go 2-0 up in the first place before having to battle back.  Last season was a thrilling game, but in the final analysis, we came away with the same result - no points.

Maybe we are getting closer and with Dembele, Kaboul and Parker it might have been a different story.  But success doesn't hang on "might have beens", so we need to turn our form around next Saturday to get a run going again.

Steve Kirkwood



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What you thought
John [Spurs forever]
I have supported spurs since forever, even now living in Australia, still an ardent fan. Now I have to say this new, so called, manager does not have a clue, playing with one striker, and formation that does not work at all, we had success with Harry and 442. Harry should have got a smack on the wrist and then left to continue the improvements he was implementing, I can only hope this bloke goes sooner than later and we get a proper manager not a football scientist.

Yours in football

Paxton Mark
As I’ve heard fellow Spurs fans on various media outlets questioning our recent style of play compared to last season, I thought I’d add to the growing concerns.

Why does AVB insist of playing just one up front in the Premiership, when in the Europa League we played 4 4 2 and we won comfortably?

Why does he insist of playing such a high defensive line when we have been undone by this as was the case yesterday against Man City, it was only a matter of time before they scored as we were obviously settling for the draw with 20 minutes to go?

By taking off Adebayor and bringing on Defoe was the incentive City needed to continue to press for the winner, and I am sure that this negativity and too defensive formation is causing an effect in the team and is in stark contrast to our free flowing style of play of last season.

I am willing to give him some time, but watching us now compared to last season is getting me worried and I feel he could be like a ‘temporary postman’, gone by Christmas!




Other scores during this week :
Arsenal 3 Fulham 3 Saturday
Aston Villa 2 Manchester United 3 Saturday
Everton 2 Sunderland 1 Saturday
Reading 0 Norwich City 0 Saturday
Southampton 1 Swansea City 1 Saturday
Stoke City 1 Queens Park Rangers 0 Saturday
Wigan Athletic 1 West Bromwich Albion 2 Saturday
Chelsea 1 Liverpool 1 Sunday
Newcastle United 0 West Ham United 1 Sunday




League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Manchester United 11 9 0 2 29 16 27 +13
2 Manchester City 11 7 4 0 19 10 25 +10
3 Chelsea 11 7 3 1 22 10 24 +12
4 Everton 11 5 5 1 21 14 20 +6
5 West Bromwich Albion 11 6 2 3 17 12 20 +5
6 West Ham United 11 5 3 3 14 11 18 +3
7 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 11 5 2 4 18 16 17 +2
8 Arsenal 11 4 4 3 17 10 16 +7
9 Fulham 11 4 4 3 24 19 16 +5
10 Newcastle United 11 3 5 3 12 15 14 -3
11 Swansea City 11 3 4 4 16 15 13 +1
12 Liverpool 11 2 6 3 14 16 12 -2
13 Wigan Athletic 11 3 2 6 12 18 11 -6
14 Norwich City 11 3 5 3 8 18 11 -10
15 Stoke City 11 2 6 3 10 11 12 -1
16 Sunderland 10 1 6 3 7 11 9 -4
17 Aston Villa 11 2 3 6 10 17 9 -7
18 Reading 10 0 6 4 12 18 6 -6
19 Southampton 11 1 2 8 15 29 5 -14
20 Queens Park Rangers 11 0 4 7 8 20 4 -12


Position before match :  6th
Position after match :  7th
Position after the weekend :  7th


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