Can Spurs overcome Aguero and travel-sick Manchester City this time?
Tottenham correspondent Ben Pearce runs the rule over Manuel Pellegrini’s Manchester City ahead of their visit to White Hart Lane in tomorrow’s Premier League clash.
Manchester City are technically still the reigning Premier League champions, and the trophy is still in their cabinet – but not for long.
Their defence ended long ago, just like their Capital One Cup and FA Cup challenges, which were ended by early 2-0 home defeats to Newcastle and Championship outfit Middlesbrough respectively.
Add the Champions League exit to Barcelona in the last 32 – the Catalans triumped 3-1 on aggregate – and it is easy to see why the future of manager Manuel Pellegrini is in doubt.
City’s wealthy owners justifiably expect more for their money – both on these shores and on the continent – and they will be displeased to see their expensively-assembled squad languishing so far behind the elite sides, domestically and abroad.
They will certainly be anxious to finish higher than fourth place and ensure automatic qualification for next season’s Champions League, avoiding what could be a tricky play-off tie in August.
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However, a dreadful run of form recently – six defeats from eight games – has left City in a tight three-way battle for the second and third spots.
That sequence included the Champions League ties against the fearsome Barcelona, but it also involved losses away at Burnley and Crystal Palace, plus Liverpool and Manchester United.
City have bounced back to beat West Ham and Aston Villa at home, but the Hammers are badly out of form themselves and it took an 89th-minute winner from Fernandinho to narrowly overcome Tim Sherwood’s Villans 3-2 on Saturday evening.
Meanwhile, Pellegrini’s side have still lost their last four away games in the Premier League as they prepare to visit White Hart Lane tomorrow – their worst run on the road since 2006, when Stuart Pearce was in charge.
One to watch:
Sergio Aguero went six games without a goal through March and into the start of April.
But, unfortunately for Spurs, the Argentine forward has struck four times in his last three games, taking his tally to 27 for the season in all competitions.
His latest strike against Villa was his 21st in the Premier League, putting him one ahead of Harry Kane in the race for the golden boot.
Four of those goals came against Tottenham when the sides last met in October at the Etihad.Indeed, Aguero has scored nine goals in his seven games against Spurs since arriving in England in 2011, with seven of them in the last three meetings.
Kane will be hoping his team-mates finally get to grips with their nemesis this weekend as he eyes another prize to complete his glorious campaign.
Tottenham came from behind to win 3-1 at the Lane in April 2013, with Clint Dempsey, Gareth Bale and Jermain Defoe all scoring in a stunning seven-minute spell.
However, since then City have piled on the misery, winning the last three clashes and scoring 15 goals in the process.
Jesus Navas scored after 13 seconds at the Etihad in November 2013 and City went on to win 6-0 against Andre Villas-Boas’ side. Sherwood was in charge for the reverse fixture in January 2014 but Danny Rose’s dismissal helped the Citizans to triumph 5-1 in north London.
Pellegrini’s team went on to win 4-1 in Manchester in October, with Aguero netting all four of the home side’s goals, while Federico Fazio was sent off for Spurs.
Aguero will score, that’s a given. But the thrashings are history and City aren’t at their best – we’ll go for another 2-2 draw.