On paper, our game against Manchester City is the toughest one of our remaining fixtures. How’s that for a no-brainer? It’s the toughest game even without the paper! A win would do nicely. But how do we go about it and who should be in the starting eleven? I have no idea so I’ll leave that up to Mr Pochettino and the experts on VS to sort out.
What I do know is that both teams have match winners across the forward line and in midfield. Both teams have sound defences. Both teams like to press. Both are the in-form PL teams. That’s a pretty mouth watering prospect for supporters to start with and has all the hallmarks of a cracking game for any football enthusiast. I’m sure neither team will take the other lightly and there will be respect on the park. But, how much respect will both teams show?
I’d be very surprised if we did not try to play our normal game from the start. City were put completely off their game in the first half when they played Liverpool in the first CL leg. Pool were all over them and they could not find any kind of rhythm. All the damage, by way of the goals, was done in the first half. Pool tired (unsurprisingly) in the second half, which was played at a more even pace, with the result that the score-line remained unchanged.
Like Spurs, I imagine City will try to play their normal game, which is very much on the front foot. I think it’s vital for Spurs that we control the midfield. If that happens City will be restricted to attacking down the wings; which they are bound to do in any case. Our defence can deal with that if we control the middle.
Pool showed that, by getting in their faces and not allowing them time on the ball, their main players are far less effective. Spurs pressing game is equal to any team in the PL and would, hopefully, have the same effect. But that intensity needs to happen from the kick-off. The danger will always be on the counter-attack but if our defence maintains concentration for the full ninety minutes we can deal with this.
City, of course, have their own problem in working out how to play Spurs. There’s no easy answer to that at the moment. Let’s face it; we’re not too bad on the counter-attack either. We can attack down both wings and we can attack through the middle with our runners latching on to diagonal, defence splitting passes. Maybe Mr Walker will be asked for his views on the matter by his manager!
Spurs have the advantage of playing at home (?!) and will have the vocal support of the crowd. The supporters will have a huge part to play in this match. There is another advantage; City have just played three games against Pool, United, and then Pool again. Playing three such intense games in just a matter of days has to affect the energy levels of the players. In the same period, we have played Stoke. City, of course, only require one more point to confirm that the title is theirs but this is not a defining game for them as they are bound to pick up more points in their remaining games.
We know Spurs are super fit and will play out the full ninety minutes. Our fitness level is such that, time and again this season, our opponents have tired and we have maintained our pace. And, as we’ve seen, this team never gives up. Therefore, unless there is a total blow-out in the first half we will be in the mix. It would be nice to have a half-time lead but if we found ourselves with just a goal down when the second half starts I would fancy our chances to win or at least get a point. Two goals would obviously, make it difficult …. but United managed it!
I’m certain that MP and all of the squad members think they can win this game …. and so do I. And, of course, if we beat City we can still win the League!