…literally; now let’s get back on track in the league and do likewise at White Hart Lane.
Sunderland’s ground had, in recent season, been one of those stadiums where no matter what form we were in we often came away with a frustrating, close defeat or, at best, just about managed a draw. Was it, then, that on Tuesday night Sunderland are in SUCH poor form and the team are suffering SO very badly with confidence in a club that just looks in disarray…OR were we back to our brilliant best?
I’m not going to do the ‘fence sitting’ on this occasion and say that it was a ‘bit of both’ – I thought we were very good for our 4-1 win and was just a little surprised that we didn’t add a couple more goals in the second half.
Tottenham’s ground, in contrast, has turned into a fairly good place for us to visit under the last couple of managers…and going back SIX managers ago; a certain 3-4 F.A. Cup win under Kevin Keegan – where were went into the half-time interval 3-0 and a man down – is still well ‘n’ truly lodged in my memory banks.
I don’t know why Spurs has suddenly become a place we look forward to stretching our legs as well as the home side all over the place but long may it continue…crucially continuing today of course!
City of old (I’m talking WELL pre-takeover here) would have thrown us a false, mid-week reading; pulling around two back-to-back home defeats with an impressive away win. It may have even, in the past, caused a few more Spurs away ticket sales; as ever-optimistic City fans would have thought, ‘I’m ‘avin’ a bit of that!’…only for us to-then get trounced by The Lilywhites (long-standing City fans really did used to watch a bunch of inconsistent, ‘Larry Let-downs, didn’t they?).
Hopefully we’ve seen the last of ‘City of old’…
v Tottenham Hotspur
Predicted line-up, subs and result…
Fluid 4-5-1 come 4-2-3-1 come 4-3-3:
After a steady start to the season with regards to the back-line it’s yet another change and another central defensive partnership. Nicolas Otamendi & Vincent Kompany likely to get their first start together; Joe, Aleks and Bacary to continue in their roles around the Argentine / Belgium pair.
Fernandinho to come back in following a mid-week – and well earned – rest to continue his partnership with Yaya Toure.
Injuries / just-returning players gives Jesus Navas ANOTHER opportunity to show his manager that he has a future in this team; the exciting duo of Kevin De Bruyne & Raheem Sterling make up the attacking trio behind lone and ONLY remaining out-an’-out striker Sergio Aguero.
Notable absences: Gael Clichy (injured), Eliaquim Mangala (injured), Pablo Zabaleta (injured), Fabian Delph (injured), David Silva (injured), Wilfried Bony (injured) and Kelechi Iheanacho (injured). You can almost make up a flippin’ good team from that lot!
Result? I heard a stat this morning that said we’d won 8 of our last 9 encounters with Spurs – I knew we’d been having a good run against them but I wasn’t aware it was quite that good.
Last night a spoke to a City fan who was aware that White Hart Lane had been a good place for us to visit of late but, she said, that sort of made her a little nervous (she was DEFINITELY a long-standing City fan with that sort of ‘spider sense’; it’s one I can relate to).
I…ALMOST agree with her in that I was going to suggest a ‘draw at best’ at one point. Aside from their 1-2 home defeat in their derby game against Arsenal in the League Cup in mid-week; after a somewhat ‘icky’ start to the season they’ve since strung together two 1-0 wins away at Sunderland and at home to Crystal Palace as well as a 3-1 victory in the Europa Cup at home to Carrier Bag.
They’re beginning to gain some traction…
But when I look at the hurt from our manager that spread throughout the team following two, 2-1 home defeats to West Ham United and Juventus and, in particular, the next, reactionary performance away at Sunderland in a fine 4-1 victory and display in the League Cup; I saw enough to convince me that this starting 11 has enough in its locker to make it 9 wins from 10 encounters against Tottenham.
We have injuries aplenty – and to key players too – and we have a noticeable lack of striker ‘back up’. But despite all of that…it’s a narrow away win today for me.