Tottenham v Manchester City, Premier League, December 16, 2009
For much of the opening weeks of the Premier League campaign both these sides have been heavily trumpeted as the two likeliest to break up the â€œBig Fourâ€ cartel. Recent results have suggested that both Spurs and City will fall short and this match is crucial for both to keep in touch with the teams at the top of the table.
After producing one of the results of the season, with a 9-1 hammering of Wigan, Tottenham have hit a blip which culminated in Wolves pinching all three points at White Hart Lane on Saturday. After scoring nine against the Latics, Harry Redknappâ€™s side failed to take all three points in two games they dominated (at Aston Villa and Everton) and were also knocked out the Carling Cup by Manchester United, the same team that beat them in the final last season.
So, despite playing well at times, the north London side dropped seven points from a possible nine in the league and after defeats to the likes of Stoke and Wolves at home, this game should hold no fear for Manchester Cityâ€™s expensively assembled side.
Robbie Keane (6/1 to score first, 7/4 to score anytime) missed the 9-1 win over Wigan as he was rested after Irelandâ€™s play-off defeat to â€œLe Hand of Henryâ€ and he was once again disappointing on Saturday against Wolves. Keane was hauled off after 58 minutes and he is distinctly looking like the third choice striker at the club. Harry Redknapp will surely plump for Jermain Defoe and Peter Crouch from the start (11/5 for either Defoe or Crouch to score first) and the England strikers will be confident of testing the brittle City defence.
The only other change to the Spurs team could see the return of Luka Modric (15/2 to score & Spurs win) to a starting position after the diminutive Croatian playmaker returned to first team action in the defeat to Wolves. Mexican trickster Giovani Dos Santos also made a late substitute appearance and Redknapp has an embarrassment of attacking riches to eke out an important victory.
Mark Hughesâ€™ team looked to have turned the corner with a cracking win over Chelsea last weekend but their momentum was then hauled back with a 3-3 draw at Bolton which means they have now drawn their last four matches away from home. There are still plenty of positives for City at the moment and despites much of the media gloom surrounding the club the fans seem to be revelling in watching their expensive stars attempt to create a new history for the blue half of Manchester.
Carlos Tevez (12/1 to score & City win) is in a rich vein of form and will test the likes of Dawson and Bassong in the Spurs defence. The Argentine has claimed four in his last three matches and is making a mockery of those who claim Tevez isnâ€™t a goal scorer. Emmanuel Adebayor ( 11/2 to score first, 6/4 to score anytime) will also receive his share of abuse at the Lane not least because the Spurs fans will remember that he had a great record against them when wearing the shirt of their north London rivals.
City will likely be without Shaun Wright-Phillips who played just 20 minutes at the Reebok before succumbing to injury and the suspended Craig Bellamy. This should mean that both Robinho ( 15/4 to score & City win) and Stephen Ireland (4/1 to score) will begin the match which should add yet more attacking players to the mix.
Goals in this match appear to be almost a certainty. (13/20 to be over 2.5 goals) Quite simply the attacking players appear to have the edge against the defenders all over the park. A good example of this is Aaron Lennon (4/1 to score) against Sylvinho down the Spurs right.
In 31 games played by Spurs and City this season, there have been 64 goals. These two teams have not played out a goalless draw in their last 15 matches. A win for either side would give them a major boost in their hunt for a Champions League place.
101gg predicts: Tottenham 2 â€“ Manchester City 3 (25/1)
Full match odds here.