Preview: Man City v. Tottenham

1 Comment
  • Man City go top with a win
  • Spurs sit in third
  • VAR drama in UCL quarterfinal second leg

“More of the same please, lads.”

That will be the message from neutrals everywhere as Manchester City host Tottenham on Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com), less than 72 hours after Spurs got past City at the Etihad Stadium in one of the most dramatic games in UEFA Champions League history.

VAR drama on both Fernando Llorente’s goal which sent Spurs through to the Champions League semifinals and a late strike for Raheem Sterling which seemed to have rescued City caused chaos, but we won’t have VAR this weekend. Next season is a difference case.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE HERE

Pep Guardiola‘s Man City must pick themselves up and now focus on winning their final five games of the season to win the Premier League title, while Spurs and Mauricio Pochettino need to win to keep their hopes of finishing in the top four alive. That said, Spurs may rest several first team players with their injury-hit squad creaking and the north London side focused on being ready for their UCL semifinals against Ajax coming up.

In team news City could have Fernandinho back, while Zinchenko will be assessed. Spurs are without Harry Kane, Harry Winks and Serge Aurier and youngsters Juan Foyth, Oliver Skipp and Kyle Walker-Peters could all play with injuries hitting Pochettino’s side hard.

What they’re saying…

Guardiola philosophical on late winner denied by VAR v. Tottenham: “VAR appeared to help try and cut out mistakes. The referees can take time, seconds, minutes to see the images and different angles. If we make a lot of mistakes with VAR then I wouldn’t agree with it. We have to take one minute, two minutes, five minutes, until the right decision is made. But I support it, from the first time and well before. If the goal from Raheem in the last minute, which was offside, ends up being a goal and Tottenham go out because of one offside, is not right. It’s so tough on them and I don’t like that.”

Pochettino on Spurs making the UCL semifinals: “This is a massive example for us – how important it is never to give up, to always have faith and believe in yourself, your teammates, the club, the fans. All our decisions we take are to help the club and this amazing history we are writing today will be a massive example for us in the future.”

Prediction

City will be determined to put Wednesday right, and even though their dreams of a quadruple are over, they can still win the domestic treble. Spurs will be emotionally exhausted after the 4-3 defeat at City which sealed their path through to the Champions League semifinals on away goals, and City have a bigger squad which they can rotate. 3-1 win to Man City.

Pochettino tabs Champions League game vs. Man City as biggest of his life

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Mauricio Pochettino has taken charge of 22 Champions League matches in his career against the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Juventus, and Inter Milan.

According to the man himself, none stack up to this week’s meeting with fellow Premier League giants Manchester City in the quarterfinals.

When asked if Tuesday’s game should be billed as the biggest of his life, Pochettino responded affirmatively. “Yes, as a coach. Yes. This is going to be one of the most important games.”

Pochettino then looked to try and downplay the significance of the match, saying Spurs had already reached their goals for the Champions League this season, claiming the rest is icing on the cake. “For us, it is a bonus to play in the quarter-finals. We are going to try to beat them. The [current] objective is to be in the semi-finals but it is going to be tough because Manchester City are a very good team and we respect them.”

The Argentinian hoped that the game brings out the best of the new stadium, and that while the full debut of the venue has passed, the honeymoon phase continues in full force. “We want to start tomorrow being very aggressive and try to dominate,” Pochettino said. “We have had time to prepare for the game. It is our second game in our new stadium and the first in the Champions League so we hope the atmosphere is amazing and tough for our opponent.”

Pochettino conceded that Manchester City has the deeper and more talented squad, especially given City’s return to health with Sergio Aguero, Benjamin Mendy, and Kyle Walker all expected to be fit for the match. “We must match their desire. The thing we cannot match is when we talk about talent but it going to be 11 versus 11 and I hope my team is going to be better than them.”

Amid City’s squad strengthening, Spurs is still missing a number of key players. Eric Dier, forward Erik Lamela, and Serge Aurier are all expected to miss the match through various injuries.

Burnley stun Tottenham on Kane’s return (video)

Leave a comment
  • Burnley 8 games unbeaten
  • Kane scores on his return form injury
  • Controversy over two goals
  • Barnes scores late winner for Burnley
  • Burnley’s longest top-flight unbeaten run since 1966

Tottenham Hotspur lost 2-1 to Burnley at Turf Moor on Saturday, as Harry Kane scored on his return from injury but it wasn’t enough to salvage anything for Spurs.

[ VIDEO: Pochettino goes wild at referees ]

The first two goals arrived in controversial fashion in the second half as Chris Wood headed home from a corner which shouldn’t have been awarded, then Kane latched onto a long throw from Danny Rose which was taken from the wrong position.

Then Serge Aurier failed to clear and that led to Ashley Barnes scoring the winner, with Spurs’ faint title hopes taking a huge hit after four wins on the spin put them back in contention.

With the win — one of their best-ever in the Premier League — Burnley move on to 30 for the season and are now six clear of the relegation zone, while Spurs remain in third as Mauricio Pochettino‘s missed the chance to reduce the deficit to the top of the table to just two points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Burnley put plenty of pressure on Spurs early on but the first big chance of the game came for Spurs and Kane. The returning forward danced past several Burnley players but then dragged his shot wide.

Tottenham pushed their way into the game and came close from set piece situations before half time.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Christian Eriksen forced Tom Heaton into a comfortable save down low as the game got going, with Ashley Barnes whipping a wonderful effort just over the bar at the other end.

Heung-Min Son went close for Spurs but Burnley’s defense blocked well as there was little between the teams at the interval.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ] 

At the start of the second half Heaton made a wonderful stop to deny Kane who rifled an effort towards the top corner from 25 yards out.

Just as Tottenham were on top, Burnley took the lead. A corner from the left (which Jan Vertonghen debated) was met by Wood and via a combination of his head and shoulder the ball went in after hitting the crossbar. Despite Pochettino’s complaints, the goal stood.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

But Spurs weren’t behind for long as their talisman marked his return from injury with a crucial goal. A quick throw-in from Danny Rose (taken from 10 yards ahead of where it should have been) caught out Burnley’s defense and Kane controlled, held off defenders and finished superbly to make it 1-1.

Jeff Hendrick flashed an effort wide and Dwight McNeil forced Hugo Lloris into a smart stop, as both teams went for the win late on. And it was Burnley who found the hammer blow as Barnes tapped in at the back post after Aurier dallied on the ball and Johann Berg Gudmundsson delivered the assist.

After all of their hard work to get back in the title race without Kane and Dele Alli, this was so Spursy.

Tottenham holds advantage over Dortmund after first leg (video)

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Tottenham showed on Wednesday that against the top sides in Europe, they’re more than a two-trick pony.

Even without Harry Kane and Dele Alli, Tottenham surged to a confidence-boosting 3-0 win over Borussia Dortmund in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League tie. The match at Wembley Stadium on Wednesday began in a similar manner to Manchester United v. Paris Saint-Germain the night before, until a lapse of concentration led to Tottenham’s opener and game opened up from there.

[MORE: Champions League standings ]

Heung-Min Son, Jan Vertonghen and Fernando Llorente all scored for Spurs, who take a decisive three-goal advantage into the second leg in Germany on March 6. Meanwhile, it was the third-straight match for Dortmund where they had conceded three goals, and is another huge blow to the club that leads the Bundesliga by five points, with the margin slipping.

[READ: Declan Rice submits request to play for England]

After a back and forth first half, which featured Christian Pulisic taking a strike on goal from a narrow angle it only took 65 seconds or so for Tottenham to take the lead. Son found space behind the Dortmund defense and Vertonghen found him with a lofted cross, before Son scored with a right-footed volley.

Dortmund had to take a few risks to try and tie the match, though they also sat back at times, hoping to limit the damage. However, a mistake by Achraf Hakimi let Vertonghen burst into the box, and Serge Aurier found him with a beautiful cross to put Spurs up, 2-0 in the 83rd minute.

Three minutes later, substitute Llorente got his head on a corner kick that found the side netting, putting Tottenham in control of the tie.

Tottenham has to feel very confident of progressing to the quarterfinals at this stage, with a 3-0 lead. Dele Alli and Harry Kane could both return for the second leg, which could help Tottenham get a crucial away goal in Dortmund next month.

Vertonghen doubles the lead for Spurs (video)

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Jan Vertonghen was eyeing the goal the entire time. He noticed Achraf Hakimi had his back turned, and he took advantage.

Vertonghen latched onto a long ball from Serge Aurier into the box and, similar to Heung-Min Son, sent home a side-footed finish to put Tottenham up 2-0, to fully control the tie on Wednesday evening at Wembley Stadium. It’s just Vertonghen’s second goal of the season.

[WATCH: Son fires Tottenham into the lead]