Tottenham v Manchester City Preview
Wednesday 29th January. 7.45pm BT Sport 1
Tottenham will be bidding to banish the memories of their humiliating 6-0 defeat at the hands of Manchester City at the Etihad in November when entertaining Manuel Pellegrini’s sharp-shooters at White Hart Lane on Wednesday.
There is cause for optimism for the north Londoners ahead of this match, too. Though the Sky Blues are as short as evens to win their seventh consecutive game overall, Spurs have been beaten just once by City in their last 10 meetings in the Premier League at The Lane.
Lilywhites blossoming under Sherwood
Tottenham imploded defensively when thrashed by the Citizens in the reverse fixture but, since taking over the reins from Andre Villas-Boas, Tim Sherwood has instilled greater organisation into the back four.
Spurs have conceded just three times in their last five league games, keeping clean sheets on two occasions. They look like a more cohesive outfit now, not just defensively, but going forward, too.
The reawakening of Emmanuel Adebayor has proved to be a masterstroke. The 29-year-old took his tally to five goals in seven league appearances for Spurs this season when netting a brace during the 3-1 win at Swansea 10 days ago.
The Togo international is a top-priced 8/1 with bet365 and Sky Bet to draw first blood against City at White Hart Lane, and is a standout 11/4 with the latter firm in the anytime goalscorer market, which rates pretty decent value all things considered.
City not so slick on the road
All four of Man City’s defeats in the Premier League this season have been on the road. They are virtually unbeatable at the Etihad – as Spurs discovered – but they don’t look quite so slick on rival turf.
That said, subsequent to their shock defeat against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light in November the Sky Blues have gone on a 19-match unbeaten run in all competitions, and have won their last three away fixtures in the English top-flight.
Pellegrini’s charges are extremely clinical, boasting the best chance conversion rate in the Premier League, with over 21 per cent of their attempts resulting in a goal. Between them, City strikers Sergio Aguero, Alvaro Negredo and Edin Dzeko have amassed a staggering tally of 64 goals during the current campaign.
Aguero has found the back of the net 13 times in his last 12 league appearances, and the Argentinean is Ladbrokes’ 9-2 market leader in the first goalscorer betting. He has netted four times in as many matches against Tottenham and is bound to be popular in the goalscorer markets on Wednesday.
Paddy Power are offering an attractive promotion revolving around Aguero. The Irish firm will refund all losing first/last goalscorer, correct score and scorecast bets if the 25-year-old scores the last goal of the game. A very magnanimous offer, Paddy…
Tottenham v Manchester City verdict
City were infinitely superior when Spurs travelled to Eastlands earlier in the season, that is incontrovertible. They are worthy favourites for this match, and many will doubtless be tempted by the 21/10 on offer in places about an away win.
However, the scoreline when the two sides met in November doesn’t tell the whole story. Yes, the Lilywhites were ultimately brushed aside, but it’s worth remembering that they had 13 attempts on goal at the Etihad (City had 15), despite looking disjointed for the majority of the game.
Tottenham under Sherwood are a different proposition; City will not be gifted chances the way they were in the reverse fixture, and it’s unlikely that Spurs will squander opportunities so frivolously in the way that they did in Manchester.
Jan Vertonghen, Sandro and Younes Kaboul are doubtful starters for the home side, while Andros Townsend is still on the treatment table. But Spurs have plenty of depth to their squad and have managed perfectly well without the aforementioned players in recent games.
Similarly, Pellegrini has a near-full strength squad at his disposal. Samir Nasri is a long-term absentee, while James Milner and Javi Garcia will miss out on Wednesday, but Alvaro Negredo and David Silva have recovered from minor injuries and could both feature in this match.
In essence, everything is in place for this to be a thoroughly entertaining and intriguing encounter. For all City’s undoubted quality, Tottenham are capable of turning any side over at The Lane, and they will be up for this game in a big way with a top four spot once again within touching distance.
Put simply, Spurs are too big at 11/4 with bet365.