Tottenham Hotspur take on Manchester City on Sunday in a match-up that, let's face it, hasn't been very kind to Spurs lately. Spurs have lost their past three matches to City by a combined score of 15-2. This match, however, feels different: City have completely fallen out of the title race but aren't really in any danger of not qualifying for the Champions League. Spurs are more or less playing out their season and, if things really go south, could even miss out on Europa League qualification altogether.
Spurs are dinged up defensively, which doesn't help anything, and it'll be interesting to see if City will decide to press Spurs' midfield. As we've seen a lot lately, the key to beating Spurs is to press them and disrupt the center of midfield. If City inexplicably lay off of Tottenham tomorrow, they might have a fighting chance to get a result.
This match also features a tasty match-up between the two top scoring leaders in the Premier League: Sergio Agüero and Harry Kane. Kane needs two goals to jump ahead of Agüero in the race for the golden boot, but Diego Costa is lurking just a goal behind Kane.
The home crowd at White Hart Lane should hopefully give Spurs an extra boost. With good play and a little luck Spurs can avoid the 6-0 and 5-1 scorelines that have plagued this match-up in recent games. And if not, there's always whiskey.
Date: Sunday, May 3, 2015
Time: 4:00 p.m. (UK) 11:00 a.m. ET
Location: White Hart Lane, London, England
TV: Sky Sports 1 (UK), NBC Sports Network (USA)
We noted earlier that Danny Rose has trained all week and may make the match day squad, and we sure hope he does because otherwise this makeshift back line is going to get real fun real quick. Ben Davies is out for the season, as is Kyle Walker on the other flank. Paulinho is back after missing a match to attend the birth of his son. There are no other injuries of note.
For City, Yaya Toure will miss the match through injury, as will Stevan Jovetic and Vincent Kompany. Everyone else for City is healthy, which is not great, Bob!
Projected Tottenham lineup
We've already posted about how to beat Manchester City, but here I'm predicting what I think Pochettino will actually do instead of what I want to see. We already know Poche's preferred lineup, but questions remain about the defense, as well as central midfield beside Nabil Bentaleb. If Danny Rose is ready to go it gives Pochettino a few more choices. Considering how easily Aguero & Co. were able to slip past Fazio and Kaboul in the first fixture, I'd guess we'll see Dier shift back to center and have a Vladtastic right flank. If Rose isn't healthy, then all bets are off.
In central midfield, it's tempting to think that Paulinho might make a start beside Nabil Bentaleb, but I don't think that'll happen. Instead, I think we'll see the usual Bentaleb-Mason partnership and we'll spend another 90 minutes cowering behind the couch.