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Stuart Dalgleish 9th May 2011 - 22:10

Tired Tottenham look set for a Manchester mauling

Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur preview - 19:45 live on Sky Sports 1

Tottenham (3/1) will take away plenty of great memories from this season, but injuries and poor form could well see them miss out on a European place next year, let alone another crack at the Champions League.

Harry Redknapp's team have won just one of their last nine matches and have seen Man City (19/20, draw 23/10) take a firm grip on the final CL place, while their Sunday opponents Liverpool can't stop winning and they're now in pole position for the final Europa League spot, although 'Arry has said he's not really fussed about that competition anyway.

It's a real shame for the White Hart Lane faithful because European nights there are always memorable affairs, but once you've had a taste of the Champions League then the Europa really doesn't compare, City fans will find that out next year.

The one saving grace for Spurs could be that City have one eye on Saturday, when they get the chance to end their 34 year trophy drought if they can beat Stoke in the FA Cup final, Roberto Mancini though will surely want to kill Spurs off as their financial outlay cannot be counted value for money if they miss out on the main European competition.

Of course there's an extra incentive for the Italian manager, as it was around this time last season when Peter Crouch (8/1 first goal) headed in a winner at Eastlands to deny City a top four finish, even a repeat of that scoreline (0-1 Spurs is 10/1) though might not be enough.

Spurs certainly aren't helped for this crunch clash with the news that PFA Player of the Year Gareth Bale is now out for the season with a ruptured ankle ligament injury, Crouch and midfield ace Luka Modric (14/1) are touch and go too.

City's injury fortunes have taken a turn for the better and they can welcome back their inspirational captain Carlos Tevez (5/1) to the fold, although it's likely they will save the Argentine for Wembley unless there's a real emergency.

Gareth Barry (20/1) and Micah Richards (25/1) are returning to action too to bolster their defensive options, they have looked shaky at the back and the English pair will give extra security in front of Joe Hart.

Going forward is still a problem for the Citizens though, they really should've hammered West Ham the other week but they're not as prolific without Tevez; Mario Balotelli (5/1) and Edin Dzeko (11/2) haven't made the impact that was expected and you can be sure Mancini will be dipping into the transfer market again next season to strengthen that particular area.

Balotelli has gone 11 matches without scoring, while Dzeko has just one Premier League strike to his name, that sort of ratio is just not good enough when you consider the transfer fees paid out.

Despite these proficiencies in front of goal, I'm still expecting City to get stuck into the makeshift Spurs defence, the visitors have an abundance of talent in their squad but they're never all fit at the same time and it's even worse at the back - Assou Ekotto, Bale, Hutton, King and (of course) Woodgate are all absent, when you consider the lack of confidence in Heurelho Gomes at the minute it should mean goals galore.

One man who's popped up with some vital goals this season is Yaya Toure (8/1), the Ivorian powerhouse has nine strikes to his name in all competitions and is a huge favourite with the City fans, scoring the winner against United will always help though!

This is the most important week in Man City's history, two wins and they've achieved both targets laid out to them at the start of the season, then the 'noisy neighbours' will really have something to shout about.



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