Tottenham will host Manchester City in the 4th Round of the FA Cup on Friday night, a game that promises to live up to the expectations of football fans around the world, having witnessed a six-goal thriller in the Premier League fixture played earlier this season. With that game ending as a draw, there seems to be much build-up and anticipation towards this one.
Ange Postecoglou’s side were in impressive form when the season began, but it has been cut short by injuries and that has seen them struggle to some extent because of the absence of key players, especially James Maddison.
Meanwhile, Manchester City have not been the team to use the word ‘consistent’ for. Although they sit second in the Premier League, this season has seen them drop points against Tottenham, Arsenal, Chelsea, and Liverpool, as well as get eliminated from the EFL Cup by Newcastle United.
Coming into this game, Tottenham have won three of their last five matches, including an unconvincing 1-0 win against Burnley to proceed to this round of the FA Cup, and a 2-2 draw to Manchester United in the Premier League, where they had to equalize twice to salvage a draw.
Meanwhile, Manchester City have won five of their last five fixtures, including a 5-0 thrashing of Huddersfield to proceed to this round, but the major talking point is that City have seen a major boost with the return of Kevin de Bruyne, who singlehandedly influenced the result of their last game with a goal and assist as they executed a late 3-2 Remontada to stun Newcastle.
Tottenham Hotspur without several key players
Tottenham will be without the services of Son Heung-Min, Pape Matar Sarr and Yves Bissouma, who are on international duty.
Meanwhile, Maddison has returned from injury but it is anyone’s guess whether he will feature against City. Manor Solomon could also be in action as he is targeting a return to the team.
The January transfer window signings could be a huge boost for Tottenham with Timo Werner, who made his debut, and Radu Dragusin, who got few minutes against Manchester United.
As reported by Sam Lee, Pep Guardiola confirmed that Erling Haaland will be out of action for the game: “Tomorrow he is still not ready but he is close.”
Manchester City could also miss the expertise of Ederson, who was forced out after a collision with Sean Longstaff in their 3-2 win against Newcastle. De Bruyne may start after coming on from the bench to win the same game for City.
John Stones and Manuel Akanji remain doubts for this fixture, but Guardiola stated earlier this month that they could make the match squad tomorrow.
Head-to-Head and Prediction
The head-to-head results of their last five meetings have seen Tottenham get three wins against City, with the latter getting just one win and the other fixtures ending as a draw.
Manchester City have been winless in their last five visits to Spurs’, and surprisingly, did not draw or score a goal in any of those visits.
The FA Cup remains the Lilywhites’ best hope of securing Silverware this season, and with their home dominance over City, they should be confident of a win but with key players unavailable for the game, City could take advantage of the situation. City are also out of the EFL Cup and will be looking to remain in one domestic competition.
The return of De Bruyne could be the major difference as he proved the difference in City’s last match, and they look the better side on paper, but it will be naive to underestimate Postecoglou’s outfit, as they have looked brilliant in many games this season. A draw could see them have a replay match at the Etihad, where City will have the advantage.
Get Football | Gideon Oluwaseun