Preview: Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur

Forget Everton and the Cup Final, a win tonight puts City in the Champions League. That should be the focus for everyone at Eastlands, in front of what looks like being a sell-out crowd.

There would be no better send-off for Wembley than having a top four place secured. For that reason Mancini is likely to go with his strongest line-up.

Ideally, that would include Carlos Tevez and Micah Richards, but as they’re just returning from hamstring injuries it’s to be hoped both make it on from the bench. We could do with them on Saturday.

Roberto Mancini:

“Carlos can probably be on the bench.

“Zaba doesn’t have a big problem, Gareth should play against Tottenham and we will recover Micah.”

With Tottenham needing to win to keep alive their Champions League hopes, Redknapp is likely to attack. As a result there could be space on the break which suits the pace of Balotelli better than Dzeko.

Mario will also be fresher after his brief appearance at the weekend. Whoever starts up front will know that Tevez is set to appear in the final quarter and it’s to be hoped they make the most of the time given to them.

Tottenham could be without a host of injured players and, in the absence of Bale, Redknapp is even more likely to start with Lennon. There is obvious concern at how Kolarov will fare against his pace and Mancini will need to ensure others assist the Serb.

Despite their injuries, the Spurs squad is strong enough to see them put out a decent side. They were unlucky to lose in their last away match at Chelsea and their recent run of one win in twelve matches shouldn’t lull City into taking anything for granted.

If Modric misses out, then a Spurs midfield of Sandro and Jenas will be more attritional than usual. Our creative players may need to stand up to some rough treatment better than they did in the second half at Everton.

We’ll need to be at our best for the full 90 minutes. If we fade in the second half, as we have too often recently, then Spurs have the quality to punish us.

Having slipped up against Everton, Mancini is likely to have the players focussed tonight. Under the Italian, City rarely go on a run of bad results and it’s to be hoped we’re back on track for what could be one of the greatest nights in the clubs recent history.

Blue Days line-up (4-2-3-1):
Zabaleta – Kompany – Lescott – Kolarov
de Jong – Milner
A Johnson – Y Toure – Silva

Prediction: 2-0 to City.

Verdict: Everton 2 Manchester City 1
Player ratings: Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur

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