Manchester City vs. Tottenham Hotspur  2 - 1


Platt: City have nothing to prove

11 November 2012 21:30

Manchester City first team coach David Platt insists his side has nothing to prove after beating Tottenham 2-1 on Sunday.

City were forced to come from behind after going 1-0 down to a Steven Caulker header with Edin Dzeko once again popping up at the death to steal the win.

The win is yet more evidence of City's championship-winning credentials and comes after some sections of the media cast doubts over the club's ability to defend their title.

However Platt says City are not motivated by proving their doubters wrong.

"I don't think we're playing to answer questions to be honest, we're playing to win football matches. That's what our focus is," he said.

"We don't get motivated because people want to say things outside of our camp and things, we just get motivated by the fact there's a football match to win that gets us three points.

And Platt was happy with City's response in the second half, praising his side's ability to stick with their passing game even when they were down.

"I think it shows there's a belief that we don't go under, that we keep playing our football," he said.

"That's the danger I think as well when you're in a game against Tottenham, you're 1-0 down at half-time, you come out in the second half and I thought there was a period after 10 or 15 minutes where we started to get, it's almost as if our play was a little bit desperate.

"We didn't need that, we had sufficient time to play.

"We had to still construct our attacks, get people into advanced positions close together so we could get numerical superiority but it quickly fizzled out. There was a sense, I thought we were going back to front a little bit too quick for about five minutes but then we sorted that out."

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas echoed Platt's comments, saying his side struggled to deal with City's work rate.

Villas-Boas said Spurs had found it difficult coming to grips with their opponents' high defensive line and heavy pressing.

"The plan before the game was to try and hold on to the ball a bit more, to have possession and try to connect up and link the wingers," he told Sky Sports.

"It was difficult because Manchester City's line was very high and they pushed us very well, so it was difficult to make that second pass in the link up play."

Villas-Boas controversially left Jermain Defoe on the bench despite his hat-trick in midweek against Maribor in the Europa League, but defended his decision to select Emmanuel Adebayor in attack for the fixture.

"In the end, he (Adebayor) had a positive impact regarding the structure we put together," said Villas-Boas.

"It's a pity we didn't get a result in the end."


Dzeko lets goals do the talking

11 November 2012 18:46

Manchester City star Edin Dzeko refused to complain about a lack of starting opportunities after he fired his team to another win.

The Bosnian forward has struggled to nail down a place in Roberto Mancini's starting 11 this season.

He netted his sixth goal of the English Premier League season with a sumptuous late volley giving City a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Tottenham on Sunday.

While Dzeko has made no secret of his desire to start more games for the champions, he said he would simply carry on doing what he was doing in order to win Mancini's trust.

"The goals are my message. That is the only thing," he told Sky Sports when asked if he had a message for Mancini following his winner.

City came from behind yet again to close to within a point of league leaders Manchester United, and Dzeko insists his side will have to start games in a better way in order to retain their title.

"It's not the first time (we have come back) but it shows our character that we are strong," he said.

"Even when we are losing to come back, I hope next time we start winning 1-0 and then win the game because like this it is much harder to play."

Dzeko lamented the nature of Spurs' opener, suggesting there is a worry City are becoming weak at defending set-pieces.

"Again from a free-kick we conceded a goal – stupid as it was against Arsenal too," he said. "Two games, we have to improve there for sure."


Premier League: Manchester City 2 Tottenham 1

11 November 2012 16:40

Manchester City moved within two points of Premier League leaders Manchester United after a dramatic late 2-1 victory over Tottenham.

Edin Dzeko enhanced his reputation as the champions' super-sub with a well-taken winner on the 86th minute, adding to Sergio Aguero's equaliser that had pulled the hosts back following Steven Caulker's headed opener.

City started in impressive fashion, with Spurs unable to break out of their own half under a blanket of pressure in the opening quarter of an hour, though sloppy passes from David Silva and Gareth Barry and a fine tackle from Kyle Walker on Aguero left the champions frustrated, unable to capitalise on their early endeavour.

Their profligacy was to be punished shortly after, as the home side's alarming inability to defend set-pieces was aired yet again, with Caulker nodding past Joe Hart after having found himself free in the area to connect with Tom Huddlestone's superb whipped free-kick from the right flank.

Roberto Mancini's side materialised a response of sorts, and should have arguably had a penalty as William Gallas blocked Aguero's turn in the area with his arm, but referee Michael Oliver waved away the Argentine's desperate protests on the 25th minute.

Further controversy was to come for Oliver, as Huddlestone body-checked Pablo Zabaleta's run in the area as the Argentine chased down Silva's neat through-ball. The referee remained unmoved again, and as Carlos Tevez's scuffed effort rolled into the arms of Brad Friedel shortly before half-time, Mancini and his side exuded frustration.

It was to linger into the second half, as an offside flag halted Tevez as he looked to latch on to Gael Clichy's lofted ball over the top of an increasingly shaky Spurs defence, and Aguero fluffed his lines with the goal at his mercy 10 minutes after the restart after some fine football from Yaya Toure.

But as the hour mark passed and City continued to probe, the visitors retreated, allowed the hosts possession and were duly punished, with Caulker knocking the ball into Aguero's path and the Argentine calmly slotted past Friedel for his third Premier League goal this season.

The goal reignited Tottenham, and Gareth Bale's 73rd-minute strike forced Hart into a sublime reaction save to keep the scores level as the play stretched with nether side settling for a point.

It was Mancini's side, however, who looked the more likely as Dzeko replaced Tevez for the final 15 minutes and City pressed for a winner, no doubt aware of the widening gap between themselves and league leaders Manchester United.

Redemption was to come from the likeliest of sources, as Dzeko latched on to Silva's brilliant ball to smash home on the 86th minute and move City within two points of their neighbours, to end a day that had for so long delivered immense frustration, ultimately, with sheer relief.


Zabaleta talks up Bale

11 November 2012 09:59

Manchester City full-back Pablo Zabaleta has labelled Tottenham's Gareth Bale one of the best wingers in the world.

The 27-year-old is set to face the Wales international as Andre Villas-Boas' side travel to the Etihad Stadium for their Premier League clash on Sunday.

City remain the only unbeaten team in the Premier League but are five points off leaders Manchester United, while Zabaleta admits he is relishing the prospect of facing the Tottenham winger.

"Bale is a great player and it is a great motivation for a defender like me when you have to stop a player like him," he told reporters.

"Bale is one of the best wingers around, not just in the Premier League, but in the world. He has great pace and he has a great cross and shot."

Zabaleta, who has made six appearances this season but has seen his campaign hampered by a hamstring injury, insists City should be wary of Tottenham's threat on the break and claims Bale is not the only player who could cause problems for the Premier League champions.

"It won't be just about Gareth Bale. As a defender I know that Tottenham have very good strikers and a very good team," he continued.

"I think they play better away from home because they move really quickly on the counter attack, so it is going to be really hard for us."


Fatigue concern for Villas-Boas

9 November 2012 14:14

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas is wary that his side have less rest than Manchester City ahead of their Premier League meeting.

Roberto Mancini's men fought out a 2-2 Champions League draw with Ajax on Tuesday while Spurs were forced to wait until Thursday to complete a 3-1 Europa League victory over Maribor.

And the Portuguese boss believes that could make all the difference when the sides do battle at the Etihad Stadium this weekend.

Speaking to reporters, Villas-Boas said: "We go four steps up in competition (on Sunday), it's a different scenario.

"It was a good performance, it was important for us to bounce back, to do it in such a good manner was fantastic.

"At the weekend we play the champions of England, a totally different proposition. They will want to bounce back after a run of bad results.

"City have two days extra than us, this is the main difference. The reality is they have that extra freshness.

"But there is enough time to recover. The body takes 48 hours to recover from physical effort and we'll be able to make that recovery."

The north London side enjoyed success in playing two strikers against Maribor, but the 35-year-old was coy when asked if he would repeat the tactic against the Premier League champions.

"It was good to see us in this system, with Adebayor coming short and linking play very, very well," he said.

"We have been playing with two strikers, but one off the other one, and we are still a team that creates lots of opportunities with one off or with two up front.

"It was good to see the link up of Adebayor and Defoe, but we ended with one striker coming short all the time so it was exactly the same.

"I base my decision making on the performance in the game and in training. I have not made a decision at the moment but in the short time of preparation I will decide."


Spurs confident ahead of City clash

9 November 2012 14:08

Tottenham are full of confidence ahead of their trip to face Manchester City on Sunday, according to defender Jan Vertonghen.

Spurs go into the game five points behind Roberto Mancini's men, who enjoy an imperious domestic record at Etihad Stadium.

But the 25-year-old believes the pace of wingers Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon can hurt any side, even the English Premier League champions.

"We are confident," Vertonghen told reporters when quizzed about Sunday's game.

"City are struggling. They're not too confident. And we're strong in away games, so we want to win there, and we're capable of that.

"They are one of the best teams in the league, but with our pace we can hurt anybody. I think we're hopeful to get a good result."

The Belgium international was speaking after a Jermain Defoe hat-trick secured a 3-1 win against Maribor in the Europa League on Thursday.

On the win, he said: "We were missing a lot of players but still we play good football, I think we did well.

"The goal was a pity, the 1-1. But I think we never panicked and just kept playing our game, possession."


Premier League preview: Manchester City v Tottenham

9 November 2012 08:26

Manchester City will be hoping to capitalise on Tottenham's patchy form in the Premier League when they welcome them to Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

After a promising start, Spurs have been lacklustre in their last two domestic fixtures, going down 2-1 to Norwich in the League Cup before losing 1-0 at home to Wigan in their last league match.

But Andre Villas-Boas' men bounced back to form on Thursday with a 3-1 over Maribor in the Europa League, and they will enter the match with a bit of confidence on the back of that win.

Roberto Mancini's City team, meanwhile, have stumbled in recent matches themselves - with their last outing in the league resulting in a 0-0 draw at West Ham before they were forced to come from 2-0 down to salvage a 2-2 draw with Ajax in the Champions League on Tuesday.

City sit in third place in the Premier League table, just two points behind leaders and bitter rivals Manchester United, while Spurs are in sixth spot, five points behind City ahead of Sunday's match.

Mancini has a few fitness concerns, with Joleon Lescott (back) and James Milner (hamstring) the latest to be added to an injury list that already includes David Silva (hamstring), Jack Rodwell (hamstring), Micah Richards (knee) and Maicon (foot).

Silva and Rodwell look the most likely to be able to resume from that group for the Spurs clash.

Tottenham also have injury worries to contend with, as a host of first-choice players battle their way back to full fitness.

Younes Kaboul and Benoit Assou-Ekotto have been out since early on the campaign with knee complaints, while Belgian midfielder Moussa Dembele looks set to miss another week with a hip problem.

Scott Parker is yet to play for Spurs this term after picking up an Achilles tendon injury on his team's pre-season tour of the USA, and Sandro is fighting a calf problem to be fit for the trip to Manchester.

Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 38 +43 89
2 38 +32 78
3 38 +36 75
4 38 +35 73
5 38 +20 72
6 38 +15 63
7 38 +28 61
8 38 -4 49
9 38 -4 46
10 38 -8 46
11 38 -17 44
12 38 -10 43
13 38 -11 42
14 38 -11 41
15 38 -22 41
16 38 -23 41
17 38 -13 39
18 38 -26 36
19 38 -30 28
20 38 -30 25
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