Rolling back into form immediately following a derby defeat is never easy. Usually, it takes a few games to get it out of your system and for the squad and fan harmony to reach a desired equilibrium again.
But heck, if Arsenal can start unbelievable runs once we gave them a kick up the backside, why can’t we?
Wednesday night’s 1-2 loss was a bit of a culture shock for us all – we had home advantage, arguably a stronger team (despite its weaknesses) and enough chances to seal out a win.
Unfortunately, I don’t think anyone foresaw Mathieu Flamini being the Arsenal hero.
We return to league form against Premier League leaders Manchester City, who have been notoriously successful in their duels with Tottenham Hotspur in recent times.
City have claimed victory in eight of our last nine meetings, after coming off the back of eleven defeats from a possible twelve. A sign of the times, the difference in expenditure, and perhaps most importantly, the gap between ourselves and the title challengers.
So far in the Premier League, Manuel Pellegrini’s men have taken five wins from six, with last week’s defeat at home to West Ham being the only anomaly on an otherwise flawless domestic campaign thus far. Every team the Citizens have faced besides the Hammers have been rocked to the core by their refreshed attacking line up, partly down to new signings Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne.
Whilst City’s strengthening combined with their recent record vs Tottenham should worry us, it’s worth noting that we too have improved. Defensive errors are fading, pressing is now combined with pace and quick thinking, and there are a number of players who will pop up to score vital goals.
So, let us now (begrudgingly) look at our recent meetings with Manchester City (spoiler: it’s not pretty).
Tottenham Hotspur 0-1 Manchester City (03/05/2015, Premier League)
Unlike some of our recent meetings with the oil-rich Mancunians, this was a close affair and not down to an over-the-top defensive error (I’m stressing the “over-the-top” part). Sergio Aguero’s near post finish following a first half counter attack settled the scoring that day.
Spurs had chances through Harry Kane and Erik Lamela, but we came up against an in-form Joe Hart (so nothing new there then).
Manchester City 4-1 Tottenham Hotspur (18/10/2015, Premier League)
False hope is a real pain, eh? After City opened the scoring through Aguero, Christian Eriksen grabbed an unlikely equaliser for Spurs. With the team starting to work their way back into the match, it looked like we may escape the Etihad with at least a point.
Obviously, Sergio Aguero would score three times more, debutant Federico Fazio got sent off, and Roberto Soldado missed a penalty.
We go again, lads.
Tottenham Hotspur 1-5 Manchester City (29/01/2014, Premier League)
Blimey, this article is depressing.
This winter encounter, which was fuelled by the media following our 6-0 loss to City earlier that season, was pretty much only going one way, especially when Sergio Aguero gave City an early lead (if you haven’t already noticed, it’s worth noting that placing a bet on Aguero to score is likely to make you richer).
Things went from car-crash bad to twenty-car-pile-up worse when Danny Rose, in the season where he was a liability, completed an incredible tackle on Edin Dzeko – referee Andre Marriner didn’t see it that way though, and duly sent Rose off. Yaya Toure scored he resulting penalty.
Two minutes later, Dzeko himself bagged a goal for the Champions-in-waiting, but somehow Etienne Capoue of all people clawed one back for Spurs.
Late goals from Stevan Jovetic (his first in the Premier League) and Vincent Kompany sealed City’s second 5-1 win at White Hart Lane in three years.
A depressing history doesn’t necessarily equal a depressing future though. If we can exploit Pellegrini’s side the way West Ham did last week, whilst building on our home performance against them last season, then we might have a chance.
In terms of injuries, our midfield woes go on, with Nabil Bentaleb, Ryan Mason, Mousa Dembele and Alex Pritchard all ruled out.
For City, David Silva, Kelechi Iheanacho, Wilfried Bony, Eliaquim Mangala, Fabian Delph and Gael Clichy are definitely ruled out, but their could be returns for Samir Nasri, Vincent Kompany, and Pablo Zabaleta.
A win here could make up for Wednesday’s shortcomings and could kick our season into an unprecedented gear – but just remember that Sergio Aguero will play.
Predicted XI: Lloris; Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose; Dier, Alli; Lamela, Eriksen, Son; Kane