Man City v Spurs, plus the rest of the weekend's action
Man City v Tottenham
Sunday | Etihad Stadium | Sky Sports 1, 1.30pm
A few days after another dismal Champions League display leaves them staring at another group stage exit, Manchester City turn their attentions to domestic football and it's time to prove their title credentials.
Sunday’s visit of Tottenham comes on the back of disappointing results for both teams last weekend, with City dropping two points at West Ham and Spurs suffering a shock defeat at home to Wigan.
Neither side managed to score a single goal, either, with two disgruntled strikers being pulled off far too early for their liking. Jermain Defoe stormed down the tunnel at White Hart Lane after being swapped for Emmanuel Adebayor with the game 57 minutes old, while Roberto Mancini was on the receiving end of a Mario Balotelli death stare after he hooked the fiery Italian with 20 minutes left at Upton Park.
Of the two decisions, it was that of Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas which was most baffling – the home crowd greeting Defoe’s exit with jeers of frustration, and the Englishman bounced back with a hatrick on Thursday night's European outing. Having blasted City’s best chance to get on the scoresheet over the bar from all of six yards out, however, Balotelli’s early exit was perhaps more easily explained.
City’s goal tally of 18 is some way short of the 36 they’d notched after the first 10 games of last season. In a move to remedy that, Mancini boldly opted for an unfamiliar front three of Balotelli, Edin Dzeko and Carlos Tevez at the Boleyn Ground. Considering the result, it would be no surprise to see him revert to type on Sunday.
Villas-Boas, on the other hand, is unlikely to change his tactics and field former City man Adebayor alongside Defoe. However they line up, both managers will demand more from their forwards. A five-goal thriller – like last year’s 3-2 here – would remedy the drought.
The Rest Of The Weekend's Action (3pm KO unless stated)
Aston Villa v Man United, 5.30pm
Chelsea v Liverpool, 4pm