Spurs clocked in a professional performance against Brighton and locked in another three points on Wednesday. It wasn't a mezmerizing encounter, but it didn’t need to be. With the win and back-to-back draws by top four rivals Arsenal and Liverpool, Spurs leap frogged the two aforementioned sides and Burnley to move from seventh to fourth place in one match-day. Neat. With the win, Spurs sit level in points with Liverpool and Burnley on points, though they are ahead on goal differential. They are one point ahead of seventh placed Arsenal, four points behind third-placed Chelsea, and seven points astray from United, who occupy second place.
Its only December, but Spurs are a galaxy away from Saturday’s opponent; first-placed Manchester City. The Citizens are undefeated on the year, only dropping points way back on August 21st against Everton. They have also annihilated their opposition on multiple occassions. City beat Liverpool 5-0, Watford 6-0, Stoke 7-2, and Swansea 4-0. Spurs are the last marquee fixture for the Sky Blues over the first half of the season, not that they have really struggled with anyone thus far. Put simply, City are on track to not just be the greatest Manchester City side of all time, but potentially placing themselves amongst the best of the Premier League era.
City have six players with five goals or more. Aguero leads the group with ten thus far, but Sterling and Jesus don’t trail too far behind with nine and eight goals respectively. Sané, De Bruyne, and Silva contribute to the goal scoring, in addition to their incredibly precise passing and creative flair. The second string of attack in a 4-3-3 for Manchester City would still be formidable enough to win a Premier League title. Spurs’ defense won’t get a rest on Saturday.
As evidenced in GN Punk’s interview with Bitter and Blue, Fernandinho doesn’t grab the headlines, but is the glue to this high-flying side and really allows the jaw dropping talent in front of him create. Nicolas Otamendi is just simply a spectacular central defender and a constant in their lineup, while Kyle Walker has made fifteen Premier League appearances for the Citizens and has been an outstandingly successful transfer for them. City have scored 52 time this year, fifteen more than next best Manchester United, and have only given up eleven goals on the year. They are first place in both of those categories, but maybe if supporters are trying to conjure up any sort of hope, they are less daunting in the back.
Spurs have had success against City over the past two seasons, taking ten points from four matches. Even last year at the Etihad, Spurs were certainly the lesser side on the day, but took care of business and nicked a point. Lets hope an organized, counter-attacking Spurs side can get the job done — just like we did against Real Madrid. Its a great opportunity for our young team and I’m sure they’ll be up for it. Looking forward to an exciting match in Manchester.
How to Watch
Date/time: Saturday, 5:30 p.m. (UK), 12:30 a.m. ET (USA)
Venue: The Etihad Stadium, Manchester, UK
Official: Craig Pawson
TV: NBC, NBC Sports Live Extra (USA), BBC Radio, BT Sport UK 4 UHD, BT Sport 1, BT Sport Live (UK), TSN4, TSN 3, TSNGO (Canada), Optus Sport (Australia), other listings at livesoccertv.com
Streaming: NBC Sports Live Extra (USA)
Radio: Audio streamed at tottenhamhotspur.com, also often at BBC Radio London,BBC Radio 5 Live, and TalkSport
Toby is out till February and Victor Wanyama is close to a return to the first team, but isn’t quite there yet. Davinson Sanchez will serve the final game of his three game suspension on Saturday.
With a dearth of options in central defense, Tottenham will have to play four in the back. The only real question is whether Harry Winks or Moussa Sissoko partners Moussa Dembélé in the double pivot. Poch trusted Sissoko against Madrid and this match has a similar feel. For this reason, I think he gets the nod over Harry.
Rotating our outside backs once again, Kieran Trippier, Eric Dier, Jan Vertonghen, and Ben Davies will start, though I really think Danny Rose and Serge Aurier should be the choices for this match. Dembélé and Sissoko will play in center midfield, with Son, Dele, and Eriksen in the attacking band. Harry Kane will start as the lone striker up top.
Everyone picked Spurs to beat Brighton and four of us dropped a perfect 2-0 scoreline. Meador, Giannini, Earl of Shoop, and yours truly pick up two points, while the rest added one.
Cartilage Free Captain Prediction League Standings 2017-18
|Earl of Shoop||10|
Dustin Menno: Spurs are good enough to get a point from City. I just don’t think they will. 2-1 City.
Matthew Pachniuk: Just absolutely hate that we don’t have the personnel to play a 3-4-3 right now. If we did, I would have said a draw, but we don’t, so I think it’ll be a loss. 3-1 City.
GN Punk: While Spurs have played City as well as anyone the last two seasons, this is a different City. My prediction is pain. 3-1 City.
Earl of Shoop: Tottenham Hotspur Football Club provides an interactive journey for fans, where inventive football and strong defensive performances complement the matchday experience. Unique to the Wembley Stadium location, Tottenham Hotspur Football Club offers a season-long spectacle where the team’s progressive and creative approach to inventing interesting passing combinations is featured in unexpected ways. Reflecting the core principles of Bill Nicholson, while incorporating the historically-rich football culture of Wembley Stadium paired with panoramic views of northwest London and the borough of Brent, Tottenham Hotspur Football Club provides fans with an experience like no other.
Unfortunately, we get smoked like a signature cocktail in this match. City 3-0
Skipjack: City's prospects keep going up and up and up but this can't be sustainable. 4-1 City
Jake Meador: City has slowed up a bit and this match, to me, feels very very like the game against Chelsea last year in which we played the title favorite around the holidays, they looked pretty untouchable and were on a long unbeaten run... and we basically played them to a draw on xG and won 2-0. I think we surprise people and it finishes 2-2.
Pardeep Cattry: The almost perfect Manchester City may begin to struggle at some point, but it won't be now, regardless of how much Tottenham try. City 3-1.
Bryan A: TBD
Salmon Chase: TBD
Ed F: Without Toby and Danny, and at the mercy of Sane, Jesus and Sterling, Spurs' back line will be UNPROTECTEEEEEEEEEEED LIKE A BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAABY IN THE SNOW. 3-1 City.
Alex Greenberg: City are going to win the league by a lot, but they’re not a perfect team, and we’ve got the best striker in the world on our side. I think we can get a big point here. 2-2.
Joe Patrick: I think we'll score, but we are far too unstable right now to get a result here, even a point. 3-1 City.
Joel Wertheimer: So, uh, Spurs actually rotated in midfield a bit on Wednesday. Manchester City did not. On the other hand, Jesus, Sane, and Kyle Walker (tear) all sat the entire match and we've got a back line of Davies, Vertongthen, Dier, and Trippier. Yikes. 3-2 City.
55th Vin: Our march towards bottling the title from a -18 point difference starts Saturday. 3-2 Spurs when Kyle Walker fouls Coco in the box after Coco should've seen red for removing Gabriel Jesus' nose from his face with an elbow. The wrongs of 2012 are put right.