20th April 2013
There will be a lot riding on this game with Tottenham locked in the battle for the final Champions League berth and Manchester City determined to keep their title hopes alive. As things stand now, Andre Villas-Boas should have all his key men available for this crunch tie, while Roberto Martinez has doubts over the fitness of David Silva and Sergio Aguero.
The 2-1 derby victory over Arsenal made Tottenham hot favourites for a top 4 finish, but things surprisingly started taking the wrong turn from that moment. Back to back defeats to Liverpool and Fulham seriously damaged team’s Champions League hopes, while, after suffering a real scare against Inter, Spurs were eventually eliminated from Europe at the hands of Basel. With Gareth Bale, Aaron Lennon and Jermain Defoe all picking up injuries in the process, the ten-day break has done the team a world of good, with all three players proving their fitness ahead of the Manchester City tie. Given that Arsenal are slowly getting away and that Spurs face some difficult matches during the season finale, they have no choice but to go for a win against City, with the return of the key trio likely to prove a much needed boost. Having scored a total of eight goals in last four matches in all competitions, Tottenham look a good bet to extend their scoring run in this high-profile game. Gareth Bale and Jermain Defoe look set to start after overcoming their respective ailments, while Aaron Lennon could also play in spite of the knee problem.
It was the eight-point advantage that proved insufficient for Manchester United last term as Manchester City secured the league title with the last kick of the season, and the Citizens are hoping for a repeat of the scenario. Roberto Mancini’s side are now 13 points adrift of their arch rivals, but have a game in hand, so they plan to keep their part of the bargain and win all the remaining games. Having won last three league fixtures, beating United at Old Trafford in the process, and won the FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea, the Citizens appear to be slight favourites to win at White Hart Lane. A lot will depend on whether David Silva and Sergio Aguero recover in time for the Tottenham clash, although it’s not as if other players are not capable of creating something out of nothing in North London. Magnificent Yaya Toure could prove to be the key in this match, as his surging forward runs could make things a lot easier for the visitors. The good news is that Micah Richards has finally returned into action following the lengthy spell on the sidelines, while recent reports suggest that both Jack Rodwell and Douglas Maicon are back in contention as well.
Even if there will be a lot at stake when the two sides meet at White Hart Lane, I do expect to see an open match between two teams that appear to be firing on all cylinders at the moment. The hosts will be buoyed by the return of key men, whereas City can be trusted to continue the rich vein of form at White Hart Lane.
Verdict: Both teams to score
Best Odds: 8/11