What Tottenham need to do to overcome the odds against City

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While not known as traditional rivals, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City have been developing animosity with one another, particularly due to an epic Champions League tie, over the last several years.

Let’s face it, VAR can be great or terrible. That all depends on the day and whose team gets the favourable calls. For Tottenham Hotspur fans that emotion was quite different from what the Manchester City fans felt on April 17, 2019, when VAR said “No Goal Offside” to what would have been the tie-winning goal for City in the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals. Such is the heightened emotion between the teams as the first meeting between the Spurs and City this season gos on Saturday at the Etihad.

Although Tottenham won that battle – on away goals – to advance in the Champions League, in the four matches between Spurs and City last season – yes four – Tottenham only won once. The Lilywhites won the first game in last season’s Champions League, where Spurs held City scoreless for the first time since October of 2016 at White Hart Lane. The other three games, including both Premier League matches, were City wins, each by a single goal.

Considering City beat Spurs 7-2 across the two 2017-18 matches, the 6-4 aggregate over four matches last season shows Tottenham are moving in the right direction. If we look even further back, to the 2015-16 and 16-17 seasons, Spurs won three and tied one, with an 8 to 4 advantage over the four matches.

Depending on how selective you want to be with your history, this budding rivalry may be a lot closer than you may think. If you just look at the last two seasons, or six games between City and Spurs, there are five City wins, to one for Spurs.

However, if you take that back to over the last 4 seasons, Tottenham and City have played 10 matches in which Spurs have won four, City five with one draw. In those 10 games there have been 33 combined goals, 16 of which for Spurs and 17 for City.

In looking back on those games a few keys areas need to be addressed for Tottenham. They need to keep City from scoring early, stop Raheem Sterling entirely, and get Heung-min Son going. Well two out of three isn’t bad, right?

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