Tottenham vs. Manchester City: Spurs Formation at the Etihad
This Sunday, Spurs finally have their chance to redeem their early season embarrassment to Manchester City. This fixture promises to be an exciting one, with both sides hoping to bring home the Premier League title.
A win for City will keep them top of the table on 54 points, and a win for Spurs (depending on the Manchester United vs. Arsenal game) could put them second on 49 points, just two short of first-place City. A loss for the Citizens will leave them on 51 points and (possibly) joint table toppers with Manchester United. A loss for Spurs will make them stay on 46 points and (possibly) three points clear of Chelsea.
Let's take a look at the formation options for Spurs ahead of this meaty clash. Typically, we've seen a 4-4-1-1 from Spurs this season.
Because of the attacking threat of Manchester City, I wouldn't be surprised if Harry Redknapp went with a slightly different 4-3-3. This lineup prediction will be based on a 4-3-3 partly for something different and partly because I think it is a viable option.
There is only one option for Spurs goalkeeper this season: Brad Friedel. A much stronger position since the Gomes howlers of yesteryear, Friedel has done nothing but improve the squad since arriving in the summer. There is no question about this one. Case closed.
Full-Backs: Assou-Ekotto and Walker
These are both pretty straightforward selections barring any last-minute injuries. Assou-Ekotto has become a staple in the Spurs lineup for the last couple of seasons, and this weekend is no different. A decent defender with a standard amount of pace, the Cameroon International is good going forward and, as we've recently seen, he can hit the odd shot from distance.
Kyle Walker is a fairly new addition to the Tottenham regular XI.
Pace? Oh yes, he's got plenty of it, like most of the Spurs team. Good attacking play? Check—just like everyone else in the lineup. Defending? It could be better, but his pace and strength make up for it.
Center-Backs: King and Dawson
These selections are a bit more difficult than the last three.
Barring injuries, Tottenham can call on Ledley King, Michael Dawson, Younes Kaboul, Seb Bassong and William Gallas. Obviously, injuries are an issue in any season, which adds to the spice of professional sports.
Ledley King will presumably face a late fitness test and, if he's fit, is my first-choice center-back. The team and the defense in particular need the leadership of Ledley King on the pitch. There is no question that Spurs are a better team with him in the squad.
Michael Dawson is my second-choice CB. It's basically level between Dawson and Younes Kaboul, but Dawson gets the nod ahead of the Frenchman. Kaboul is not great when defending against a team that poses an aerial threat. His pace is not bad, but Dawson is a more complete package defender and works well when partnered with King.
Although King and Dawson are my two picks, I feel as though Dawson and Kaboul are the more likely choices to play against City.
Midfielders: Modric, Parker, Van Der Vaart
For the midfield three, Parker will serve his usual role as a roaming, hard-tackling, defense-when-we-need-it central midfielder. Modric and Van der Vaart will add the creativity, with Modric lying deeper and more in the midfield, and Van der Vaart playing just off the center-forward.
These three have proven themselves a dangerous mixture in the center of the pitch for Spurs. If they can manage a good understanding with each other and link up and defend well, Spurs can play with anyone.
Forwards: Bale, Lennon, Defoe
With Manchester City loanee Adebayor ineligible to play in this game, Defoe has to start. Jermain Defoe is the team's leading scorer and will always put out 100 percent effort.
Yes, Pavlyuchenko has height and is a much bigger presence. Like-for-like with Adebayor, he doesn't put in the work on defense and won't give that extra energy that could push him past a defender or get him in for a chance on goal.
With Defoe, at least the team is guaranteed work ethic and heart. Oh, did I mention he's the team's leading scorer?
The wingers are always going to be Bale and Lennon, when fit.
Gareth Bale: Do we need to go over this? He's good—one of the best. Just let him play and work for the team. Lennon: He's done well recently and is coming up on top form.
With these two wingers playing on either flank, defenses will tremble.
This is a tough one. I predict Spurs to win (surprise, surprise) by a margin of 2-1.
These are always tricky ones to predict and it really could go in either direction. City are favorites and Spurs have it all to prove. I can't wait.