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Premier League Preview: Tottenham Hotspur – Manchester City


Kick-Off: Wednesday, December 16, 20:00 GMT.
White Hart Lane, north London.

In terms of points-won, both Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City are the Premier League’s most improved sides this season – sitting nine points better off than they were 12 months ago. However, both sides have been fairly wasteful over recent weeks.

Spurs followed up their stomping 9-1 demolition of Wigan Athletic with two draws and a home defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers, whilst City ended their run of seven league draws on the bounce with a great victory over Chelsea, only to then record a 3-3 draw away at Bolton.

History suggests that Redknapp’s men will win this match, with Spurs having claimed 17 of the 24 Premier League contests between these sides. But as supporters of both these glory-starved clubs know, history only goes so far.

As Liverpool continue to struggle in the league, many feel that this season more than most presents the best chance for a side to break into the top four. However, unlike in previous seasons there are as many as three additional sides capable of doing so - and perhaps for City, Spurs and Aston Villa, finishing above each other should be the main objective for this season, securing the forgotten label of ‘best of the rest’.

The significance of this match is hard to judge. With so many sides battling it out for one place, big-match opportunities increase as it becomes almost a league inside a league with City, Liverpool, Spurs and Villa battling it out for fourth place. For what it’s worth, here’s how that league would look at the moment.


PLD
W
D
L
PTS
Aston Villa
3
1
2
0
5
Tottenham
2
1
1
0
4
Manchester City
2
0
2
0
2
Liverpool
3
0
1
2
1


FORM GUIDE

Tottenham Hotspur

12 Dec: Tottenham 0-1 Wolves [Premier League]
6 Dec: Everton 2-2 Tottenham [Premier League]
1 Dec: Man United 2-0 Tottenham [League Cup]
28 Nov: Aston Villa 1-1 Tottenham [Premier League]
22 Nov: Tottenham 9-1 Wigan [Premier League]

Manchester City

12 Dec: Bolton 3-3 Manchester City [Premier League]
5 Dec: Manchester City 2-1 Chelsea [Premier League]
2 Dec: Manchester City 3-0 Arsenal [League Cup]
28 Nov: Manchester City 1-1 Hull City [Premier League]
21 Nov: Liverpool 2-2 Manchester City [Premier League]

TEAM NEWS

Tottenham Hotspur


Tottenham could be boosted by the return of club captain Ledley King who has been suffering with a knee injury, but could feature given the importance of the fixture.

Having successfully completed over 30 minutes of football against Wolves, Luka Modric is in line to return to the Tottenham starting line-up for the first time since August.

Wilson Palacios is also a doubt as the midfielder struggles to shake off the rib injury he picked-up during Spurs’ 2-2 draw with Everton.

Spurs will continue without Jonathan Woodgate [groin] however, and goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini will also miss out [wrists and pelvis], whilst David Bentley and Roman Pavlyuchenko could return to the squad.

Last starting XI (v Wolves): Gomes, Corluka, Dawson, Bassong, Assou-Ekotto, Lennon, Huddlestone, Palacios, Kranjcar, Keane, Defoe.

Manchester City

Mark Hughes will be sweating over the finesses of Nigel de Jong and Shaun Wright-Phillips, who are suffering from illness and ankle injuries, respectively.

Definite absentees are Wayne Bridge [knee ligament], Michael Johnson [knee], and Craig Bellamy – who is suspended after he was sent off against Bolton Wanderers last time out.

Last starting XI (v Bolton): Given, Richards, Sylvinho, Lescott, Toure, Kompany, Wright-Phillips, Barry, Adebayor, Tevez, Bellamy.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Tottenham Hotspur – Wilson Palacios

Harry Redknapp stated last season that he “always felt you could bash Tottenham up,” when he was Portsmouth manager. Upon taking charge at White Hart Lane, Redknapp looked to resolve the problem as soon as possible, and signed Wilson Palacios.

Should he be fit to feature against City on Wednesday, the midfield powerhouse could prove to be the difference, especially with Nigel de Jong struggling with a virus.

Palacios is more than the rock in Spurs’ midfield, he is the engine that Huddlestone is not, and between them they create arguably the best midfield partnership White Hart Lane has seen in years. Forget Defoe, Kranjcar, Lennon, Modric and the rest, When Palacios and Huddlestone are on form – Tottenham tick, and should they control the midfield the afore-mentioned names will steal the show for the home side.

Manchester City – Emmanuel Adebayor

City’s Togolese forward may have an acrimonious relationship with Arsenal fans, but the striker has held one for even longer with their arch-rivals.

Adebayor can boast an impressive striking tally against Spurs, having scored eight goals in eight appearances against them.  The former Arsenal man has already shown this season that he flourishes in the most hostile of atmospheres, and Spurs fans will do well not to goad the powerful striker into another assault on their scoreboard.

Should Ledley King be deemed fit, his partnership with the no-nonsense Michael Dawson could prove enough to suppress Adebayor, but they will have to be at their very best.

PREDICTION

One word will describe this match: open. Either side could win this contest, scoring and conceding any number of goals in the process. Both sides possess mouth-watering options in attack, but these are compounded with defensive lapses that can reduce their fans to tears. If one side triumphs, it will be by the odd goal.

Tottenham Hotspur 2-2 Manchester City

Richard Parry, Goal.com UK