An inside view on Saturday's opponents
Ahead of Saturday's clash at The Etihad, Bluemoon caught up with Dan Fitch from the Tottenham Blog to get the lowdown on the opposition...
What are your expectations for this season?
Considering that Spurs have had three different managers within the past 12 months, it would be wrong to expect Mauricio Pochettino to turn things round overnight, after such disruption. I'd be perfectly happy with a top six place again, as long as there are signs that the team is starting to play more attractive football and settling down into a system. As always, a cup run would be nice and is long overdue.
Are you happy with the manager?
Mauricio Pochettino was a decent appointment, but he has to be given time to implement his methods and his judgement backed in the transfer market, if he's to stand any chance of succeeding. I like his philosophy, though there are some initial worries that like Andre Villas-Boas, he's too tied to his ideology and doesn't have a Plan B up his sleeve when things go wrong..
Who are your key players?
Hugo Lloris is by far the best player at the club and one of the better goalkeepers in the world right now. He must often look around at the shambles in front of him - particularly last season - and wonder what he's doing at Tottenham. Elsewhere, we always look a stronger side when Jan Vertonghen is in defence, while Christian Eriksen was our most effective outfield player last season, but has yet to find his feet in Pochettino's side.
Were you happy with the business conducted during the transfer window?
The most important signing was Ben Davies. He might not have forced his way into the first team yet, but after two seasons in which the squad only had one proper left-back, having a reserve represents great progress. Eric Dier looks like a bargain, while the jury is still out on Federico Fazio and Benjamin Stambouli. What we could have done with was a striker with decent pace. That would give the side a different dimension.
Are there any rising stars in the squad that we might not have heard of?
The central midfielder Ryan Mason has just broken into the team and looks a more effective player than expensive purchases such as Mousa Dembele and Paulinho. He's not particularly young at 23, with persistent injuries having stifled his development, but looks a tidy player - strong enough defensively and an incisive passer. Further forward, Harry Kane is beginning to deliver in cup games and on England U-21 duty. With Emmanuel Adebayor and Roberto Soldado both disappointing, Kane's chance can't be far away.
Your Achilles heel?
There's more than one. In defence, our two right-backs are injured and there's not enough pace in the centre-back positions. The centre of midfield doesn't have enough creativity - Mason has improved things but he's no Luka Modric - while playing with two inverted wingers restricts the side's width and ensures that everyone gets in Eriksen's way. Up front Adebayor is beyond lazy - not news to City fans - and Roberto Soldado is not suited to the system. That's a lot of heels and reason enough to expect City to win comfortably.
If you could have any City player in your team who would you choose?
There's obviously plenty of players that would improve Tottenham, so it's difficult to choose. I'm a huge admirer of Yaya Toure, but considering the problems up front it has to be Sergio Aguero. More realistically, Edin would also be a major upgrade on what we've got if you ever decide to sell.
What is your perception of City as a club?
It's hard to begrudge the fans their good fortune considering that they were there in great numbers when the team were crap. It's like a hard-working bloke winning the lottery. The owners seem to be running the club well and are interested in keeping the fans happy, which is more than can be said at Spurs.
Likely starting XI for the game, and score prediction?
Lloris, Dier, Kaboul, Vertonghen, Rose, Capoue, Mason, Lamela, Eriksen, Chadli, Adebayor. We might well prove tough to break down, as we're suited to sitting deep and playing on the break, but I think you'll eventually win 2-0.