Do You Like Goals: Tottenham vs. Manchester City Match Preview


4-1. 5-0. 6-0

Those are the scores of the last three Tottenham-Manchester City matches. This Sunday at White Hart Lane, Spurs look to reverse that trend, as they take on the defending champions.

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City have experienced a real drop in form over the last 2 months which has knocked them out of the title race and left them 13 points behind Chelsea. Now, they are closer to the Europa League than the Premier League title. After losing to their cross town rivals Manchester City, however, they have won their last two games against West Ham and Aston Villa.

City have crushed Spurs lately. Spurs’ shaky defense and lack of organization have killed them against City recently, as they have been unable to track star forward Kub Aguero recently. Often, Spurs’ open style of play benefits them against smaller sides who don’t have the same amount of talent, but against the bigger teams like City and Liverpool Spurs’ strategy has not paid off in the same way. Here are three things that Spurs must do if they want to beat their recent nemesis.

  1. Contain Kun Aguero

Sergio Aguero has been one of the most lethal strikers in the English Premier League since his move to City from Atletico Madrid in 2011. He has managed 72 goals in 115 appearances so far in the league. When he has not been injured, he has destroyed Premier League sides with his pace and directness. Spurs have been dominated by Aguero. He has scored 9 goals in only 6 games against Tottenham. He has been able to get behind Tottenham’s defense with ease. Jan Vertonghen is a good defender, but pace is not his strong suit, as with his partners over the year. And Spurs’ back four has been hurt by the lack of organization over the years. The issue with Kun Aguero is not only that he is extremely fast. He also is an excellent finisher, and truly only needs one chance to score. City have a powerful offense, and Spurs will probably let up some goals. They cannot allow Aguero to grab a goal out of nothing, like is his tendency.

  1. Track Silva

David Silva has been one of Aguero’s main suppliers over the last few seasons. Mostly he plays on the wing in either a 4-4-2 or 4-2-3-1. But he is certainly not a nominal winger. Silva will come inside and combine with Yaya Toure, who has played in a number 10 role recently. Silva is a brilliant player who has extraordinary vision. One of the keys to execute Spurs’ first goal in stopping Aguero is stopping Silva. Spurs’ central midfielders will have to press effectively as soon as Silva receives the ball in order to cut off his passing lanes. He is not the quickest player, so putting pressure on him while he is on the ball should be more effective. However, Spurs’ midfielders also must be aware of the space they abandon to press Silva, as he can play a pass at any angle to free a teammate up in space.

  1. Draw Kompany up the pitch

Vincent Kompany is one of the most talented defenders in the league. He displayed top form during the 2012/13 title campaign, when he demonstrated his excellent defensive skills. Kompany is a master inside his own box, up there with the likes of John Terry. He is a dominant physical presence and a great tackler, so he is able to make key interventions in his third of the field. However, since City’s first title, Kompany’s form has dipped severely. One of the major weaknesses in his game is when he gets drawn up the pitch. The aggressiveness that helps him in his defensive third, where he has less space to defend, helps him, but farther up the field, where there is more space around, Kompany struggles greatly. He is often drawn out of position by forwards checking back into midfield, and commits a ton of bad fouls, many of which earn him cards. A key to Spurs’ attack will be Harry Kane coming back into midfield to receive the ball, which would draw Kompany up the field. There, if Kane can turn at Kompany and go at the defender with that ball at his feet, Spurs should be able to attack effectively.

I am never optimistic about a City game, and I have a similar feeling about this matchup. While I think Kane is a player well suited to play against Kompany- he is a good athlete who can battle the Belgian in the air while being able to take advantage of Kompany’s weaknesses defending on the floor- Spurs’ defense has been disorganized the entire season. I don’t expect this to change now, and Kun Aguero feasts on a disorganized defense. Also, Vertonghen’s likely partner, Fazio, is even slower than Super Jan, which plays right into Aguero’s strengths. Finally, City have much more to play for here, as a win would leave them 9 points clear of Liverpool in 5th, and would essentially clinch a Champions League berth for next season.

Spurs 2-3 City.

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