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Know Your Opponent: Manchester City

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Tomorrow, the Citizens come to White Hart Lane in what could be a huge match in Spurs' ambitions for top four. I interview Ric from BlueMoon about the match.

Jamie McDonald

We know what happened last time we faced Manchester City. It wasn't pretty. Nobody likes being on the end of a drubbing, but the manner in which we lost to the Citizens was not only disheartening, the vitriol that came from my Twitter feed nearly melted my laptop. But a lot has changed since that match, even if not a lot of time has passed. A new manager. New tactics. Six matches unbeaten. And now the uncrowned presumptive champions come to White Hart Lane -- can we actually get a result this time under Tim Sherwood? Know Your Opponent is back this week, and we talk things over with Ric Turner from BlueMoon, an English-based Manchester City blog and forum. We met in an opulent hotel bar in Macau where we bonded over our love of football, our fondness for baccarat, and our hatred of Arsenal.† He answered a few questions for me, I answered a few for him.

† – Actually, he's probably somewhere in Manchester, and I'm sitting in my living room in Indiana not wearing any pants.

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Uncle Menno: City are obviously title contenders, and people are even starting to murmur (quietly) about "winning the quad." Think it can happen?

Ric Turner: I've not met a single City fan who believes that the quadruple is a possibility. I think the media just enjoy building it up so that they can knock us down again when it inevitably doesn't materialise. The league is our priority, and obviously we stand a good chance of winning the Capital One Cup given that we're in the final. Anything else would be a huge bonus.

UM: The first match vs. Spurs was predictably one-sided, but a lot has changed since then. How confident are you about heading into White Hart Lane and emerging with a result?

RT: I think it will be an extremely difficult game on Wednesday, despite the resounding victory at The Etihad earlier in the season. Whilst our away form has improved of late, we're not quite the same team on our travels as we are at home. Spurs are also playing with renewed confidence under Sherwood, and it looks like you'll have a number of key players back, such as Vertonghen and Sandro.

UM: Related question: What do you see as the strengths of this "newco" Spurs side, and are you at all worried that they might do a job on Wednesday?

I think it will be an extremely difficult game on Wednesday.   -Ric Turner, BlueMoon

RT: Sherwood seems to have introduced a much more attacking approach, and I'm sure Adebayor will have a point to prove. Bentaleb looks like a player too, and you could hurt down our left hand side with the pace of Lennon and Walker. I think it will be a difficult evening for City.

UM: City are scary good and it's not like you all can really improve all that much from where you are right now, but what do you see are the weak points in Manchester City's side, and what players would you want to sign in January to address those areas?

RT: Our main weakness is our defence - we lack a quality partner for Vincent Kompany at centre half. We also lack strength in depth in central midfield; there is a significant drop in quality from Toure and Fernandinho to Garcia and Rodwell. Two ideal signings to address these issues would be Sergio Ramos and Blaise Matuidi.

UM: With the resources at their disposal City don't really HAVE to bring youth players along, but are there any products in the City youth academy that you're excited about and that have a shot of breaking into the first team someday?

RT: Marcos Lopes, a Portuguese attacking midfielder, is the most likely academy player to break into the first team in the foreseeable future. He has made a couple of senior appearances in the cup competitions, and looks a great prospect.

UM: What happened to Steven Jovetic? Is he alive? Was he devoured by Luis Suarez? Does it even matter anymore?

RT: Jovetic has been extremely unlucky with injuries so far this season, but is finally available again. He inevitably lacks match fitness, given his lack of playing time, so Wednesday's game may come too soon for him. He is clearly a great talent though, and will be an important player for us in the future.

UM: Why will Manchester City be relegated? Please be thorough.

RT: The price of oil plummets following the invention of cars that run on water. Sheikh Mansour withdraws all financial backing with immediate effect, and City reappoint Stuart Pearce as manager. Attendances remain constant however, proving conclusively that we really were here when we shit.

UM: Finally, Let's have a prediction for the Spurs match Wednesday.

RT: Spurs 2 City 2.

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Thanks again to Ric Turner from bluemoon-mcfc.co.uk for taking the time to answer my questions for this feature. You can read my interview with him over at BlueMoon's Opposition View feature, and please follow Ric and Bluemoon on Twitter: @bluemoon_mcfc.