SPURS v MAN CITY – The Preview

13 Aug

The. Time. Has. Arrived. Forget the World Cup, forget pre-season fixtures and forget meaningless international friendlies. The real football is about to start!

On Saturday 14th August at White Hart Lane, Manchester City play their first match of the eagerly anticipated 2010-11 Premier League campaign as they travel to London to face last season’s nemesis Tottenham Hotspur. The hosts dramatically pipped the Blues to a Champions League place at the culmination of last season, so first and foremost on City’s list of missions to accomplish will be to exact revenge for that heartbreaking defeat.

Predicting which team my good friend Roberto Mancini will pick is a difficult challenge at the best of times, so for the first game of the season, when some players still have to regain match fitness and others are struggling with injuries, it’s almost impossible. As mentioned earlier in the week in this post, Mancini has a tough choice to make in the goalkeeping department, with Joe Hart and Shay Given, the number ones for England and the Republic of Ireland respectively, both perfectly viable options. Judging from the results of the poll I conducted, the huge majority of City supporters would elect the younger man, with Hart gaining double the amount of votes as Given.

In defence, new signings Jérôme Boateng and Aleksandar Kolarov are guaranteed starting places, although the make-up of the rest of the backline is less clear cut. Club captain Kolo Touré has not played a great deal in pre-season and looked less than convincing last campaign, but is the captain. Vincent Kompany was the standout defender in the erstwhile season and thus merits a start, which means the other choice involves Micah Richards and Joleon Lescott. The latter would provide balance as a left-footed centre-back alongside either Boateng or Kompany and would be my choice, but Richards has performed well during the close season and has been talked up by Mancini.

Moving onto midfield and there are, yet again, tough choices for Mancini to make. World Cup silver medalist Nigel de Jong ought to start after his sterling displays last season. Summer signing Yaya Touré is another who is almost guaranteed a starting berth, with the Blues making the former Barcelona man the highest paid player in the world. Touré is a combative, box-to-box midfielder, who is more than capable of scoring the odd goal. Gareth Barry is a proven Premier League campaigner, and someone who Mancini rates, but the England international is not certain of playing, such is our quality. Local favourite SWP has had a decent pre-season but is likely to miss out, whilst Adam Johnson is pushing for a place after impressing throughout the close season. Spaniard David Silva, the most creative of our players, will only start on the bench as he lacks fitness after returning recently from the World Cup.

Craig Bellamy is on his way out of the Blues after a damning midweek press conference, whilst former player of the year Stevie Ireland is also close to leaving. As for strikers, Carlos Tévez should start despite not being fully fit, whilst his partner is expected to be BBC’s star football pundit, Emmanuel Adebayor. Jo and Roque Santa Cruz are vying for a place on the bench.

Personally, I would play this side, although I expect Mancini to differ slightly:

                                                             Hart

Boateng                 Kompany                          Lescott                       Kolarov

SWP                         de Jong                            Y. Touré                     Johnson

                                    Tévez                               Adebayor

Subs: Given, Zabaleta, Richards, Barry, Vieira, Silva, Santa Cruz

KEY BATTLES

Aaron Lennon v Aleksandar Kolarov

City’s new Serbian signing will have his hands full on his debut as he tries to combat the significant threat posed by nippy winger Aaron Lennon. The former Leeds man has blistering pace that has made a fool out of many a fullback in the past, so Kolarov will hope that his attacking forays will limit the effectiveness of Lennon.

Luka Modric v Nigel de Jong

Although nominally named on the left wing, Modric, the creative Croatian, will almost certainly drift into a more central area as he attempts to become involved in the play. Nigel, fresh, or should that be fatigued, from his World Cup exploits, will have to be alert so as to combat that threat.

Michael Dawson v Emmanuel Adebayor

The Spurs defender was at fault for Hungary’s goal during the week, so hopefully that error will be preying on his mind. He put in some sterling performances last season, and will need to be his guard against the unpredictable Adebayor. Manu scored a number of goals last year despite a stop-start campaign, and will again look to hit the ground running.

Referee: Andre Marriner – regarded as one of the Premier League’s best officials, let’s hope that he isn’t all at sea tomorrow! (cue mass groans)

Prediction: Spurs 2 – 2 MAN CITY – A pulsating, end-to-end affair with a plethora of chances. Goals to be scored by Jermain Defoe, Robbie Keane, Carlos Tévez and Emmanuel Adebayor.

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5 Responses to “SPURS v MAN CITY – The Preview”

  1. Jon 13/08/2010 at 9:46 pm #

    I think Gareth Bale is going to give whoever plays right back for you a torrid time.

    Should be a good game. I predict a 1 – 1 draw.

  2. Ricky 13/08/2010 at 9:46 pm #

    Ahh, it’s good to see the game previews back.

    I, for one, am at a loss as to why Manchini would not name Bellamy in the 25 man squad for the European games over the next two weeks BUT has named Robinho who frankly, apart from a spectacular game versus Arsenal a couple of seasons ago, has not been good enough in a City shirt when he has worn it. His performances have been made to seem ever more lackluster by the tireless Tevéz who seems to be willing and abe to defend to the extent that a striker should be able to.

    I will be sorry to see Bellamy go as he has put in some sterling performances in a blue shirt but it seems that noone will be safe from the free spending club that we have become.

    Onto the game. I also seee a draw with both teams being very tentative and a bit rusty (as is expected at the start of a season) without wantint to show all of their cards to the watching world.

  3. DAVSPURS 13/08/2010 at 9:47 pm #

    I see a million reasons to beat City but the only one that matters is we are a better Team and cost less. I predict a riot So don’t look back in anger Spurs 3-City Oil Slicker 1

  4. Mark Schlick 13/08/2010 at 9:47 pm #

    My prediction for tommorrow’s game is more pain for Manchester’s blue half.
    In the 2 games between our teams last season I think it was clear for all to see that Tottenham Hotspur have a much better team than City.
    City were dispatched with ease at WHL (3-0) & only the heroics of Marton Fulop kept that end of season thriller at TCOMS at 1 nil.
    Of the latest crop of signings made by Mancini, only Y.Toure & Kolarov look sure to play & I dont foresee either of em making that much difference.
    Harry has a full squad to choose from.
    We are good at home, extremely good. Only Utd managed to win at WHL last season.
    Spurs 3-0, AGAIN!

  5. coxie 13/08/2010 at 11:55 pm #

    2-1 Spurs

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