Manchester City: Stefan Jovetic, Vincent Kompany & David Silva - Out; Fernandinho - Doubtful
Tottenham Hostpur: Christian Eriksen & Danny Rose - Out; Nacer Chadli - Doubtful
Manchester City: None
Tottenham Hotspur: None
Manchester City: WWLWL
Tottenham Hotspur: LWWDL
As the league begins to hot up, Manchester City vs Tottenham is another top of the table clash Premier League fans can look forward to. With any luck, both these sides will be able to produce a spectacle as pulsating as rivals Everton and Liverpool produced yesterday.
Am I building everyone's hopes up for a anti-climax? Well I would hope not. Both these sides have the required motivation to play out a thriller. Man City are 9 points behind Arsenal and Tottenham are 8 points behind; a draw does absolutely nothing for either side and considering how much money either spent in comparison with Arsenal over the summer, the pressure is definitely on to close the gap before it becomes insurmountable.
We already know what City are capable of, on paper they are the best team in the division and one of the most exciting when on form. In many ways, today's game is down to Tottenham to make the most of. If either side habour title aspirations then this is a must win match. If Tottenham cannot raise their game beyond what they have shown this season they will be beat.
In that regard there is good news for Tottenham, there has never been a better time to play City at home. As silly as this sounds considering City are undefeated at home, City's most creative player (Silva) is out, they are without Kompany who is the glue to the back and if Fernandinho does not play then an already dodgy back is without its prime protector.
Tottenham have all the prompting needed to take the game to City, all that is needed to sort out is their troublesome attack. Starting with Soldado, he has been under copious amounts of pressure given he has only one goal from open play. However I would not start with Defoe. In big matches Defoe has always found himself swamped and looking at their respective goal tallies throughout their career's, it is clear Soldado is better at his job.
What he needs is support, in an ideal world Lamela would play. I have already espoused views highlighting he is the only player who can emulate Bale's form. Though if he has not played due to needing a settling in period, throwing him into the lions den at the Ettihad seems counterproductive.
In his absence, Villas Boas has to chose three from: Holtby, Townsend, Sigurdsson and Lennon. I would argue that Lennon and Holtby must be starters, they offer the team ethic that Tottenham require for such a game. That just leaves Townsend and Sigurdsson. Goal.com analyst Ewan Roberts superbly sums up why I have reservations over both Townsend and Sigurdsson:
"Townsend's limp goal tally, though, is not for the want of trying. No player in the Premier League has attempted more shots on goal than the winger's 45 – that's one every 18.7 minutes he has been on the pitch."
"Astonishingly, 41 of those efforts have been taken from outside the box (or 91 per cent, way above Spurs' average of 56% which is already significantly higher than other top-four rivals), 15 have been blocked (which is another league high), just 33% have been on target, and he boasts a head-scratching average shot distance of 26 yards."
"Though he has failed to record an assist in 26 of his 27 Premier League career appearances, Townsend has created 19 chances for his team-mates this term, the most of any Spurs player – even if his only tangible contribution remains the penalty he won against Swansea. Somewhat symptomatic of the problems Spurs face on a wider scale, only four of those 19 chances have been inside the box, and only three have been clear-cut."
"Further to that, Townsend has created just two chances for the much-maligned Roberto Soldado (while attempting 73% more shots), yet the Spaniard has created seven chances for Townsend and provided an assist."
"In none of the 10 league games in which both players have featured has Soldado taken more shots than Townsend, while in 50% of matches the England wideman has had at least twice as many attempts as the former Valencia hotshot (peaking at nine against Norwich, a match in which Soldado had just three efforts)."
"Criminally, Sigurdsson has not created a single chance for Soldado in open play. The former Hoffenheim midfielder has serviced the Spaniard just once in total, from a free-kick against Crystal Palace on the opening day of the season. If there is one silver lining it is that, unlike Townsend, Sigurdsson is a legitimate goal threat – a valuable commodity in a side that has struggled in that respect. Of midfielders, only Oscar, Eden Hazard, Yaya Toure and Aaron Ramsey have scored more goals in the Premier League this term."
*Quotation from Goal.com
What about City? They have scored 28 goals in 11 games and seem almost unbeatable at home. Tottenham do have a great defence, especially when they are defending on the deck - a method of attack City use the most. What could be the difference between the two teams is the ways in which they can score. City have a plethora of proven ways to score, Tottenham are still very much an unknown entity in that regard.
Manchester City 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur