|OPPONENTS||Manchester City at the City of Manchester Stadium|
|DATE||Saturday 17th August 2019|
Some people suggested that it was a good time for West Ham United
London to play Manchester City last week before they got a hammering
5-0. I reckon a good time to play Manchester City would have
been about 1998 when they were rubbish and the only knowledge of Abu
Dhabi was a punch-line to a Flintstones joke.
They have come a long way since then, with the UAE money propelling them to the Premier League title on more occasions than they had previously won it and other domestic cups, but the one they really want to win - the Champions League - has so far eluded the expensive squad and their highly successful, supposedly uber-cool manager Pep Guardiola. Wherever he has been in charge, he has had lots of money to spend and at City, he arguably has the best squad available to him and thus, his team are installed as favourites to win this season's PL.
While Liverpool ran them close last season, it will be a major task for them and us (or anyone else) to get close, with Rodrigo added to their squad's defence. However, are Spurs ready to start moving into the territory of signing big money players now that the training ground and stadium are in place ? They still have to be paid for, but with a huge amount of match-day income from tickets and catering and the stadium naming rights still to be sold are we set to step up to challenge for expensive signings and pay top salaries.
Obviously, contracts and transfers have been much to the fore this week, with potentially five players leaving Spurs before the European window closes. The biggest question mark is over Christian Eriksen, who made it clear he wanted a new challenge and that meant Spain, but lack of bids means he may be in limbo of staying with Spurs for another season and running his contract down, signing a new deal with the club or settling for a move abroad that wasn't the one he wanted. For Daniel Levy, it is a balancing act between wanting to get some money back on the player or having him for another season, but getting no return on his investment. The Dane made quite a difference when he came on against Villa, making me think he might be worth keeping.
I imagine he will return, as will the man omitted last week - Jan Vertonghen. While Jan probably wanted to play against Villa, my first thought was that Poch was saving him for the City game. I imagine that Sanchez's height might just have swung it playing up against the strapping Wesley, although it didn't pay off when they scored. This season will see Mauricio mix and match, depending on the opponents and I think part of his summer moan was to have a squad that allowed him to do this. That will be undermined if Rose, Alderweireld, Wanyama, Vertonghen or Eriksen disappear before September 2nd.
With Son suspended, Dele, Foyth and Sessegnon injured, it further limits his ability to put out the team he might want against City. There is no way of stifling City, although Liverpool seem to have the sign over them. They have pace up front, can play through the middle and have wide players who can stretch you across the pitch. It allows them massive variety in the way they can play, but Spurs have the win over them at their place in the Champions League to hark back to. Laporte didn't look great that night and Stones is vulnerable when trying to play out from the back. Rodrigo got caught a few times on the ball last week, so perhaps a hard pressing game might force errors, although, if they play around that it is possible to break quickly.
With lo Celso only arriving late last week, I think he might start on the bench, with Eriksen starting, but the bulk of the side will remain the same. Jan for Toby and Ben Davies back for Danny Rose, perhaps, but I would stick with Rose for this game, rather than throw Ben straight in after a while out.
Having seen the ease in which the City side strolled through West Ham's team, I would like to think that this is a reflection on the Irons rather than City being able to do that every week, but our record up there hasn't been great over recent years (Champions League quarter final and Champions League qualifying win with Crouch scoring the winner apart).
If it is
possible to bring anything back from Manchester, it would be great,
but more realistically, I think we are looking at a loss if City
play anything like their potential and we need to be sharper than
the last time we played there, letting one in inside the first five
minutes and also better than last week, when we made Villa look like
title contenders for a large part of an hour.
|PREDICTION||Manchester City 3 Tottenham Hotspur 1|
HOTSPUR TEAM NEWS : -
Spurs can welcome back Ben Davies after undergoing surgery in the summer and new signing Giovani Lo Celso looks set to make the match-day squad. Ryan Sessegnon and Dele Alli are both ruled out with hamstring problems, while Heung-Min Son and Juan Foyth are both suspended, with Foyth also suffering an ankle tendon strain.
MANCHESTER CITY TEAM NEWS
|Premier League||Kick off 17:30|
Tottenham Hotspur 2 (1)
Sterling 19m 14s
Lamela 22m 37s
|Crowd : 54,503||Weather : Warm, sunny|
|Referee : Michael Oliver (Northumberland)||Assistant Referees : Mr. Stuart Burt ; Mr. Steve Bennett|
|Fourth Official : Paul Tierney|
|Video Assistant Referee : Graham Scott||VAR Assistant : Andy Halliday|
|Manchester City kicked off and played towards the - end in the first half.|
|Game time : - 90 + 8 minutes.|
Sterling (foul on Walker-Peters) 26
|Manchester City :||kit||Tottenham Hotspur :||kit|
Kevin de BRUYNE (c)
Bernardo SILVA (26
Riyad MAHREZ 80)
Hugo LLORIS (c)
10 Harry KANE
|Manager : Pep Guardiola||Manager : Mauricio Pochettino|
|Sponsor : Etihad Airways||Shirt sponsor : AIA|
|Kit Supplier : Puma||Kit Supplier : Nike|
Controversy once again dominated the after-game discussions about the last minute disallowed goal by VAR for Manchester City that prevented them securing a 3-2 win, which their play might have deserved, but Tottenham conversion of two of their three chances brought a point back from the North-West.
Pochettino restored Eriksen to the side and kept Rose in and Vertonghen side-lined, although on the bench this time. City were at more or less full strength, only missing Leroy Sane, who will miss the majority of the season with a cruciate ligament injury that put a stop to his move to Bayern Munich.
For the first five minutes, Spurs could hardly get near the ball and
had trouble playing the ball to a navy blue shirt and when Walker
got away on their right past Sanchez, he squared it for Sterling,
but Walker-Peters blocked his shot. When the ball came back in after
the corner was cleared, de Bruyne scuffed a weak effort along
the ground and straight at Hugo Lloris. A couple more corners were
won when Spurs were blocking the ball, with the second to the near
post, where Rodrigo went down under Lamelaís challenge, with Erikís
arms all over him, but not really exerting enough effort to make it
a nailed-on penalty. As it was, the VAR team didnít think it worth
brining to the refereeís attention.
Hugo Lloris makes his 300th Spurs appearance.
Danny Rose makes his 200th Spurs appearance.
|How the players did|
|Hugo Lloris||A couple of goals went past him and he had a dodgy moment when coming to punch the ball, but made a couple of good saves to prevent the margin being bigger before our equaliser.|
|Kyle Walker-Peters||Solid game up against the threat of Sterling and with little assistance. Stuck at it, made well-timed challenges and was willing to look for a pass out of defence. Lost Sterling for the first goal though.|
|Toby Alderweireld||Played a good game with City on the offensive. Could have done better with Aguero's goal, but that would probably have resulted in a penalty !|
|Davinson Sanchez||Played well and read some of City's passing to intercept. Strong in the air and concentrated well when under pressure for much of the game.|
|Danny Rose||Good performance again from Danny Rose. Doesn't look like a player who wants to leave.|
|Harry Winks||Did well to try and stem the tide of City's attack through the middle. Showed his usual determination and the whole of the midfield needed to put in a lot of effort|
|Tanguy Ndombele||Subdued game for the new signing, but he stuck at it and got his foot in when needed. More to come from him, I'm sure, as a couple of runs showed and his pass set up Lamela's goal.|
|Moussa Sissoko||Good, strong running and getting back behind the ball well. Final ball could have hurt City more, but did well.|
|Erik Lamela||Scored one; made one. Not a bad day's work, although pundits seem to think he should have been penalised for being all over Rodrigo in the box when goal-less. Put in a lot of effort.|
|Christian Eriksen||A game in which we needed Christian to help us get forward saw a lethargic display, although his passing was generally good. Not sure what is going on with his contract at the moment.|
|Harry Kane||A game he will probably want to forget, being starved of service and having very little involvement in play, but still worked hard to pull defenders out of position.|
|Lucas Moura||Made an immediate impact with his goal and worked hard to press City defenders on the ball.|
|Giovani Lo Celso||Came on for his first Spurs outing, but hardly had a touch, so difficult to judge how he will fit in.|
|Oliver Skipp||Busy coming on in added time, but made a good block and got a challenge onto Laporte, forcing him to handle and thus get the goal disallowed.|
|Match ball sponsors||-|
|Match programme sponsors||-|
|Match shirt sponsors||-|
|What you thought|
|Benny The Ball||
Don't know what City fans are complaining about with their last
minute goal being disallowed. Most of them weren't even in the
stadium then !
City fans want it all don't they ?
Last season they wanted a
handball against Llorente in the Champions League game up there and
now their moaning has changed the laws, they want them changed back
because it went against them. Expect a big money move for
Manchester City to buy VAR !
|Other scores during this week :|
|Brighton & Hove Albion||1||West Ham United London||1||Saturday|
|Norwich City||3||Newcastle United||1||Saturday|
|Sheffield United||1||Crystal Palace||0||Sunday|
|Frank Lampard's Chelsea||1||Leicester City||1||Sunday|
|Wolverhampton Wanderers||1||Manchester United||1||Monday|
|League Table 2019-20|
|4||Brighton & Hove Albion||2||1||1||0||4||1||4||+3|
|15||Frank Lampard's Chelsea||2||0||1||1||1||5||1||-4|
|16||West Ham United London||2||0||1||1||1||6||1||-5|
Position before match : 9th
Position after match : 5th
Position after the weekend : 6th
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