Manchester City (Away)
Premier League

Sunday 17th December 2006

While Manchester City possess a home record that shows they are yet to be beaten and Tottenham one which shows they are yet to win away, I am cautiously optimistic about this match.

Coming off the back of five goals against Charlton and a good 3-1 UEFA Cup win against Dinamo Bucharest, I reckon Tottenham are approaching this game in good form, whereas City lost their Manchester derby last week and have injuries and suspensions hitting their side. without the depth of squad that Spurs have at their disposal.

With City struggling early on this season, their home form has been their salvation, but the lack of scoring has hit them hard and just when Bernardo Corradi looked as though he was going to go on a run, he got sent off and will serve a suspension that keeps him out of this match.  Samaras and Fowler may well be paired together against King and Dawson, who should manage to keep them under shackles.  However, the annoying Dickov might feature at some stage and Darius Vassell is still speedy and a good finisher, so will need to be kept wide by our full backs.

The midfield is where most of City's power comes from and Joey Barton has been playing very well after his personal problems.  Claudio Reyna adds experience in the midfield, but may struggle to make the start, as is Dietmar Hamann, leaving Hatem Trabelsi on the right and DeMarcus Beasley on the left.  Trabelsi was a player heavily linked with a move to Spurs in the summer and Beasley is a player I like.  While Trablesi is getting on a bit, Beasley is athletic and works the line well.  our wide midfielders will need to pay attention to the defensive side of their game to ensure they don't let them get forward too often.  Stephens Jordan and Ireland might be up for selection in midfield, but neither has shown outstanding form of late.

With the defence missing Thatcher and Sun Jihai, the central pairing of Dunne and Distin will be flanked by Micah Richards and Nedum Onuaha.  Richards is another player Spurs admire, as do many other clubs, while Onuaha is a young talent, who has yet to establish himself in the Premier League.  By switching Lennon to run at him, Tottenham might get some joy on the forward front.

With Berbatov in good scoring form alongside Jermain Defoe, it would be a brave man who changes the line up, but Jol is just that and I think he will start with Mido, who is now fit.  The physical approach of Dunne and Distin might suit the Egyptian better and Berbatov can always come off the bench.

As Huddlestone is playing so well he cannot be dropped, the fact we are missing Jenas, Tainio and Zokora might mean a league recall for Ghaly, who played against Dinamo on Thursday and did well That leaves Lennon and another start for Malbranque who had a rest for the majority of the match on Thursday.

It will not be an easy game, as Stuart Pearce will have his side fired up, especially as they have not got a very good record against us in the recent few games, so it will need a solid performance away from home ... something that has not characterised our performances away for the Lane so far.

With all that said, I reckon we might take the points, but only just ...

PREDICTION : -  Manchester City  1   Tottenham Hotspur   2

For more information on the opponents and their history, including full result history of matches between the two teams, click here.


MANCHESTER CITY :  Ben Thatcher (suspended); Bernardo Corradi (suspended); Trevor Sinclair (knee); Sun Jihai (knee)

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -  Didier Zokora (suspended 2 of 3); Teemu Tainio (illness); Robbie Keane (knee); Jermaine Jenas (ankle)


Sky Sports 1 - (live coverage)
Match of the Day 2  (BBC 2) - 22.40 - 23.20 (highlights)
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)
BBC Radio Five Live (live coverage)  606/939 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 & 1500 matches
Australia (Sydney)  Radio 2  -  1611AM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 12.45 Match
Singapore 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
Planet football - (free - only available when match is on.)
BBC London - click on link to "Listen to Tottenham Hotspur live commentary" on top right hand menu.




Manchester City   1   Tottenham Hotspur    2      (Half-time score : 0-2)

Premier League
Venue : -  City of Manchester Stadium
Sunday 17th December 2006
Kick Off :  3.00 p.m.
Crowd :   39,825
Referee :  Rob Styles (Waterlooville)
Weather :  -  Chilly, dry
Teams : - 
Manchester City :


Richards (Ireland 30)

Reyna (Dabo 70)

Samaras (Onuoha 46)

Unused subs: 

Tottenham Hotspur :


King (c)
YP Lee


Defoe (Mido 83)

Unused subs: 

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of
Manchester City

Tottenham Hotspur
Scorers : -  
Manchester City

Barton 64

Tottenham Hotspur

Davenport 17
Huddlestone 25

Cards : -  
Manchester City

Dunne (dissent) 90   


Tottenham Hotspur 



Match Report : -  
At last Spurs managed to break their away-day hoodoo and smash Manchester City's unbeaten home record with a 2-1 win achieved thanks to a dominant first half performance.

Spurs had to play with their backs to the wall a bit in the second half, as Stuart Pearce stirred up his side, who had gone in at the turnaround 0-2 behind.  That was thanks to Tottenham playing a counter-attacking game to exploit the lack of firepower City exhibited with Spurs failing to be greatly troubled by the home side in the first period.

From the first minute, Young-Pyo Lee attacked down the left and knocked in a cross that flew across the face of goal, with Dimitar Berbatov unable to get a contact on the ball and when Nicky Weaver knocked away a Huddlestone free-kick from Calum Davenport and then Tainio's pass through to Defoe was taken off him into the path of Berbatov, whose shot was cleared on the line by Distin, it looked as though it might be another bleak away day.  However, Samaras' climb all over Malbranque gave Spurs a free-kick in an area that Hid specialises in.  His clipped free-kick was touched with the faintest of contacts by Davenport to take the ball up and past Weaver to give Spurs a 16th minute lead.

Davenport was then in defensive action to block a shot from Dickov, with the game then switching to the other end and Berbatov latching onto Ghaly's pass to get a shot in, but it lacked power.  That could not be said about Huddlestone's shot that gave Tottenham a two goal advantage.  He broke up a move and laid the ball off which then found it's way to Ghaly on the right.  Hud ambled up in support and as Ghaly lifted a pass into the youngster's path, he strode onto the bal and without breaking his step he drilled a perfectly struck half-volley a foot off the floor all the way and it ripped past Weaver into the net in an unstoppable manner.  He hit the ball as true as you could wish and even though he was 25 yards out, the keeper did not stand a chance.

On 35 minutes, a Lee cross was looped up in the air by Dunne and Malbranque had to stutter in his run to volley the ball at goal, but Dunne got in the way when really it should have been 3-0.  In the next City attack, it was again broken up and Hud picked up the ball just inside his half.  He once more moved forward and without a City player coming to him, he hit another of his trademark rockets and it fizzed just over Weaver's bar.

Spurs poured forward in waves and Weaver did well to palm out Berbatov's fierce shot and Defoe went close just before the break after the Bulgarian had flicked the ball on, but was too high with his effort.

City were fired up after the break and Trabelsi had an early shot blocked by King, with the ball moving straight to the other end where Defoe turned past Dunne and fired a shot in at the near post, but hit the side-netting, before Dickov flashed a drive over the top at the Spurs end.  City had a great chance to get back into it from a corner that Dunne headed wide from close range and then again when Reyna played in Ireland, who only had Robinson to beat, but hit it way, way too high.  Distin put a header from another corner in the same place, but when Dickov got a yard of space on the left wing, his deep cross found Barton moving onto it to hit a controlled volley past Robbo and making it 2-1.

Spurs were called upon to do some last gasp defending and Trabelsi's shot was knocked off the line by King and there was a big shout for a penalty when Malbranque challenged Barton in the box and he went down, but it looked difficult to see if he had got the ball or player first.  Robinson dashed out to thwart Vassell and then the former Gooner Dickov put in a late cross for Trabelsi, who had a free header, but put it wide and with that went the chances of City getting anything more from the match.

It proved to be as tough as I thought it might be, but the way we played in the first half, we should really have been out of sight, but our lack of clinical finishing might have cost us had it been a better team than City and our first away win was welcomed by the big Spurs contingent in the crowd.

Hopefully, this will be the start of a better run of away form to add to our solid home record.  That will help us push on up the table and show that last year was not a one-off




Reaction : -



For all the doubters (and there were many of you) who felt that Tom Huddlestone wasn't ready for the big time ... that at the age of 19 he couldn't cope with the physicality of the Premiership because he's "still growing" ... you got it wrong big time boys and girls.

Are you the same folk that claimed that Wayne Rooney wasn't ready for England when awarded his first cap at the age of 17 ?  I'll bet you were. 

Not only has Tommy Hud proved me right in that he's the natural successor to Carrick, he's also currently more deserving of an England place than Man Utd's 18.6m flop.

Am I wrong ?

And one for the road, as I understand it, Spurs have been undefeated this season and last when Huddlestone has started a game.  Over to you, Mr. O'Brien and the rest.

P.S. To all at MEHSTG, even the knockers, have a merry christmas and happy new year, as I'll be busy over the next couple of weeks.


This was more like it from Tottenham.  City, with injury problems, were there for the taking and that was what Spurs did in the first half, but a tired second half performance and a spirited charge from the home side saw Tottenham have to fight a rearguard battle to keep all three points.

Outstanding was Huddlestone of course, but note should be taken of a better performance from YP Lee and some sharp passing from Tainio and Ghaly in the first period.  Davenport came in and looked good, taking his goal very well, while Berbatov and Defoe looked like they are forming a fine partnership, with the Bulgarian putting in a better away showing.

Looking critically, the wasteful finishing should spell more scoring practice in training and Malbranque needs to be a bit more cautious when rushing into tackles in the penalty area.

Still, a win's a win !!




Other scores this weekend :
Arsenal 2 Portsmouth 2 Saturday
Aston Villa 0 Bolton Wanderers 1 Saturday
Charlton Athletic 0 Liverpool 3 Saturday
Newcastle United 2 Watford 1 Saturday
Reading 1 Blackburn Rovers 2 Saturday
Wigan Athletic 0 Sheffield United 1 Saturday
Everton 2 Chelsea 3 Sunday
West Ham United 1 Manchester United 0 Sunday
Fulham 2 Middlesbrough 1 Monday



League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Manchester United 18 14 2 2 38 10 44 +28
2 Chelsea 18 13 3 2 30 11 42 +19
3 Liverpool 18 9 4 5 26 15 31 +11
4 Arsenal 18 8 6 4 29 15 30 +14
5 Bolton Wanderers 18 9 3 6 20 15 30 +5
6 Portsmouth 18 8 5 5 25 16 29 +9
7 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 18 8 4 6 22 22 28 0
8 Reading 18 8 2 8 20 23 26 -3
9 Aston Villa 18 5 10 3 21 18 25 +3
10 Everton 18 6 6 6 22 20 24 +2
11 Fulham 18 6 5 7 18 28 23 -10
12 Wigan Athletic 18 6 4 8 20 23 22 -3
13 Newcastle United 18 6 4 8 17 20 22 -3
14 Manchester City 18 5 5 8 15 22 20 -7
15 Sheffield United 18 5 5 8 14 22 20 -8
16 Blackburn Rovers 17 5 4 8 16 22 19 -6
17 Middlesbrough 18 4 5 9 15 24 17 -9
18 West Ham United 18 5 2 11 11 24 17 -13
19 Charlton Athletic 18 3 3 12 13 31 12 -18
20 Watford 17 1 8 8 11 22 11 -11



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