Daunting task for Tottenham


(From right) Foden and Alvarez will be hoping for further celebrations when they come up against Tottenham in tomorrow’s big match at the Etihad. — AFP

They will face Man City which are bouncing back after gutsy win in Europe

FOR all the talk of a team in decline, Manchester City laid down the law midweek with a Champions League victory that will have made many of their rivals sitting up and taking notice.

Pep Guardiola’s side came back from two goals down to beat RB Leipzig 3-2 at the Etihad and secure top-spot qualification for the last 16.

In tomorrow’s late kick-off in the English Premier League, their rival Tottenham will attempt to restrict City to a third straight game without victory in the league.

A Spurs win will be a bit of a surprise but not impossible. However, a City win is more likely.

The Citizens have not been at their best recently – definitely not at the level that earned them their historic treble last season.

But there are signs that they are returning to that form and Tottenham might be fearing the worst.

Tottenham themselves have stumbled after a brilliant start to the season with Australian Ange Postecoglou as manager.

Such has been their slide from the top of the Premiership standings that they find themselves in fifth place, four points off the lead.

Much of that was precipitated by three league defeats in a row. And to stave off a fourth defeat on the trot looks like a daunting task in Manchester.

City came within a game of matching Sunderland’s record of 24 consecutive home wins when they were held to a draw by Liverpool last weekend.

That mark was set in the 19th century, and tomorrow, they will embark on another bid to equal it.

City’s form at the Etihad has been superlative, and Tottenham may yet find that out first-hand.

But if there is a glimmer of hope that Spurs can latch onto, then it must be that Man City have conceded a lot more goals than we are accustomed to seeing.

Even with the victory over RB Leipzig, City have let in seven goals in their last three matches in the Champions League and Premier League.

Ortega Moreno was the goalkeeper in midweek, and at the time of writing, it was still unclear if their regular goalkeeper Edersen would be cleared to play against Tottenham.

If there is one player in the City line-up who is expected to start ahead of most, it would be Phil Foden.

The England international showed his class midweek.

An attacking midfielder growing in stature, Foden had a hand in two of City’s goals against the German opposition.

He scored the equaliser and assisted Erling Haaland’s opener.

Julian Alvarez got the winner against RB Leipzig, and he should start again, alongside Foden and Haarling in a potent three-pronged strike force.

Spanish midfield general Rodri will be expected to play another influential role as City try to get back to winning ways in the domestic competition.

For Spurs, a draw would be a decent result, given their tough run.

Spurs will have to do without central midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur.

Following a serious knee injury in February, the Uruguayan returned to action against Aston Villa last weekend, only to sustain ankle ligament damage.

Postecoglou’s biggest worry, though, might be self-confidence. His team have loads of talent but might be lacking the mental strength to turn things around.

If Spurs can score early, that may help their cause, but against the English and European champions, winning will be a tough task.

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