Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City: FA Cup Blockbuster
Written By: Natasha Turkington
Natasha Turkington was born and bred in Manchester and is considered one of the most prolific and knowledgeable fans of soccer. Follow her on Twitter at @natashaturk.
We love the magic of the FA Cup and what more could soccer fans ask for than two English Premier League giants going head-to-head, which means one of them is going to crash out. In turn, that is good news for my beloved (and beleaguered) Manchester United who travel to League 2 side Newport County next Monday night. Spoken like the true, selfish soccer fan I am proud to be.
Tottenham and Man City face off on Friday night in the FA Cup fourth round. Both teams have had almost two weeks off thanks to the winter break and restart an intriguing rivalry with a place in the fifth round up for grabs.
View the latest soccer odds at Bovada
City, the FA Cup holders, returned from a warm-weather break in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, with defender John Stones and EPL top goal scorer Erling Haaland both seen in training following mid-season injuries.
Haaland has not played since December 6 and is being steadily eased back into competitive action, while Stones is recuperating from an injury he sustained in last month’s win at Everton. Neither are expected to start at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium however it is reported they will likely feature from the bench.
Manchester City fans have been delighted by the return of Kevin De Bruyne over the last two games (how can they not, he is phenomenal) and, with several weeks of training under his belt, might be handed a first start on Friday.
Here is a mind-blowing stat for you, Pep Guardiola has remarkably lost on all five occasions he has visited Spurs’ new mega stadium and will hope to end that run on Friday in the fourth-round encounter.
Under the management of Ange Postecoglou, Tottenham are experiencing a revival in the current season. Despite facing numerous challenges such as injuries and suspensions, they sit in fifth position eight points behind league leaders Liverpool.
The big decision for Postecoglou is likely to rest on how fit James Maddison is after returning to training following his ankle injury. If Maddison is fit enough to give Spurs an hour or so against Manchester City then it would provide a major boost to the team, not least with his creativity given the absence of captain Heung-min Son who is away on international duty at AFCON.
January transfer signing, Timo Werner grabbed an assist on his debut but his match fitness is slightly behind his team mates and Postecoglou will need his wingers to do their defensive duties against the abundance of talent Pep Guardiola has at his disposal.
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One To Watch
My player to watch for this fixture is Man City’s Phil Foden. I feel like I am cheating on United when I say this but I just love Phil Foden, he is a joy to watch. In a parallel universe he signs for United and we all live happily ever after.
Foden is poised to play another pivotal role against Spurs. Alongside Bernardo Silva, I expect him to form the right-side of City’s explosive attack. Having showcased outstanding form throughout the season, Foden has accumulated an impressive 11 goals and 8 assists in 31 appearances across all competitions. Given Kevin De Bruyne’s potential limited involvement, Foden is more than capable of taking on the responsibility of being Manchester City’s primary creative force once more.
Here’s how the soccer odds line up at Bovada:
Tottenham Hotspur: +300
Manchester City: -135
*Odds subject to change
At the full-time whistle who comes out on top? The home side who continues to treat fans to their best season of soccer in years? Or, will the colossus of Manchester City refuse to take their hands off their trophy?