Football expert Ben Levene (@BenLevene96) shares his best bets as Tottenham Hotspur welcome Man City to Wembley on Saturday evening..
Tottenham v Man City| Saturday 14th April 2018, 19:45 | Sky Sports
Following the midweek madness, Manchester City travel to Wembley on Saturday. The last fortnight has not been ideal for Pep Guardiola’s team. They’ve lost three on the bounce.
It’s been an intense period and as a result, performance levels have dropped. It remains to be seen if that will be the case again on Saturday evening. In fact, it could be argued that performance levels have dropped over the last couple of months more generally.
Fernandinho’s absence could be especially significant. There’s a reason the Brazillian is one of the first names on Guardiola’s teamsheet week-in-week-out. As we know, City look to play out from the back, and Fernandinho is at the heart of it.
He drops in to receive the ball on the half-turn from the centre-back’s and then feed the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva ahead of him. Only Nicolas Otamendi averages more passes per game in the Premier League this season and that reflects how integral the Brazilian is to City’s style.
I’m not sure Ilkay Gundogan is the ideal replacement, and nor am I sure Vincent Kompany is totally comfortable on the ball. Spurs will press-high and may get some joy if City aren’t in full-flow.
It’s also worth mentioning that Spurs ended City’s 11 game unbeaten run with a 2-0 win at White Hart Lane last season.
Spurs have been firing of late. They are unbeaten in the league since losing at the Etihad in December. Mauricio Pochettino has more depth available now Danny Rose, Victor Wanyama and Erik Lamela are back involved, January signing Lucas Moura has strengthened the squad too.
In the first part of the season we cannot underestimate the fact that Moussa Sissoko and Harry Winks were regulars within an injury-stricken Spurs squad. Even then performance levels were of high-quality but with a stronger squad post-Xmas, standards have been raised even higher.
Their record versus the top-six has been criticised heavily over the last 18-months, so it’s only right to credit the way they’ve turned that around. In their most recent away games of elite calibre they’ve gone to Liverpool, Juventus and Chelsea and avoided defeat on each occasion. This is even more impressive when you consider they went behind in each.
Since August’s defeat against Chelsea in which they can consider themselves unlucky, Tottenham have beaten Liverpool, Arsenal and Man Utd at Wembley, cumulatively scoring seven and conceding just once. They’ve also beaten Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid at their temporary home.
City lost away at both Shahktar and Basel when incentive wasn’t at it’s maximum and with the league all but won at half-time last Saturday, maybe that took its toll in the second-half.
Once we factor in the possibility of fatigue, then maybe there is a touch of value in Spurs Draw no Bet at evens.
Bookings worth considering
Given Jon Moss has shown at least two-cards in 20 of the last 21 games he’s officiated, a delve into the card markets won’t go amiss.
Fabian Delph may get a run out here and has attempted more tackles and interceptions than any City player to start at least ten league games this season. With Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli and Heung-Min so floating about, the 9/2 about him in the anytime card market is eye-catching.