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Michael Taylor 13th Aug 2010 - 18:08

City can take advantage of Spurs’s lack of focus

Harry Redknapp says he needs three or four more players to build a title challenger - this weekend we may see exactly what this means in terms of Tottenham's season priorities.

Spurs make their return to the European elite this year after managing to fight off Liverpool, Aston Villa and this Saturday's rivals Manchester City for the all-important fourth spot in the Premier League last year.

That's the intention anyway, but first they need to knock off Young Boys over two legs, the first of which takes place this Tuesday and with all the talk around White Hart Lane of welcoming the likes of Barcelona and Inter Milan you have to think not everybody will be focused on City this Saturday.

Don't expect a weakened team, the big guns will be on the teamsheet, the commitment and drive that highlighted their brilliant 2009/10 season might be the missing ingredient.

The Citizens on the other hand have a lot to prove on opening day.

This is supposed to be their big season and after the pre-season from hell they'll be desperate to set the record straight on the first attempt.

The signings of James Milner wasn't completed in time but manager Roberto Mancini needn't worry with Mario Balotelli, David Silva, Aleksandar Kolarov, Yaya Toure and Jerome Boateng all at his disposal.

Balotelli, Toure and Silva are the star names, ironically though it could be Kolarov and Boateng who will be more pivotal against Spurs.

City's defence at times last year was disorganised, often non-existent with Kolo Toure and Joleon Lescott failing to form any sort of partnership at the back and Wayne Bridge looking out of his depth on the left side.

Kolarov comes from Lazio with a big reputation and a hefty £16m price tag and it'll be essential to City's hopes here that he keeps the door shut on Aaron Lennon who so often keeps Spurs ticking over going forward.

It's a job that'll test his defensive abilities to the max, it's also one that I think he can cope with after watching him several times last season in the Serie A.

In fact I actually fancy the whole back four and Joe Hart excelling with the Man City to keep a clean sheet market looking a real teaser at 12/5.

In terms of the match, I can't see anything other than Mancini setting up his side to be resolute and tough to break down.

David Silva will be the man expected to find the killer ball that was lacking last season while Carlos Tevez will hope to get back to what he did so well, scoring goals, after a poor World Cup.

Harry Redknapp's biggest dilemma comes in the form of risking Ledley King's knees.

King's partnership with Michael Dawson was integral last season as attack after attack was thwarted by the pair, including City's at the tail end of the last season.

If they do line up with each other and play to the same level then City could be in for another day of frustration, I'm just not certain whether this will happen.

With Silva, Adam Johnson, Tevez and Emanuel Adebayor all available this team is simply bursting with attacking talent and should have enough to breach the Spurs defence at least once.

It's likely to be a tight and nervy affair, one that I think the Citizens can just about nick, so I'm taking the 2/1 about an away win while I particularly like 1-0 in City's favour at 17/2.


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