It’s the third competition in less than a week for Manchester City as the Blues travel, or should I say remain, to London for the first leg of the UEFA Champions League Quarter-Final clash with Tottenham Hotspur. A lot is being made in the build-up to this game about the impact the atmosphere at Spurs’ new stadium may have on the Premier League Champions.
We took time out to speak to Jamie from ‘Daily Hotspur‘ on Twitter ahead of this massive clash. Will we see a repeat of last year’s clash of the English sides in the Quarter-Final? Is there a certain Frenchman we should be taking more seriously in this tie?
Thanks for joining us Jamie! Spurs’ performances in the UEFA Champions League following the turn of the year have been nothing short of a breathe of fresh air from the drop in form in the Premier League. How would you assess your route to the Quarter-Final in this season’s Champions League?
In Europe, Tottenham Hotspur have performed a major turnaround. After three games, we looked on the brink of elimination but winning four of our last five games has been very impressive. We learnt a lot from our defeat to Juventus the season prior by maturing a lot and what it takes to succeed in European football. To go to Barcelona and get a result was great, but to then take apart Borussia Dortmund at Wembley and produce such an astute performance in Germany was a sign of how far we have come under Mauricio Pochettino. As much as I fear Manchester City, our Champions League performances this term give me a glimmer of hope going into this tie.
For Manchester City, it’s a repeat of our 2018 Champions League Quarter-Final – English opposition. Do you fancy your chances given City’s experience against Liverpool last season?
I have to question the teams Manchester City have overcome to get to this stage. I’ve rarely been impressed with City under Pep Guardiola in Europe and for as good as you have been in the Premier League, knock-out football requires a different set of skills and I’m not sure you’ve shown you have what it takes just yet.
However, saying that, in terms of quality you have more than enough to embarrass us. Tottenham are in the same boat; we haven’t yet shown enough to suggest we are a team that can succeed in knock-out football. Aforementioned, I have been impressed by our improvement in maturity by bouncing back from being on the brink of elimination in the group stage; going to the Nou Camp and getting a result along with both displays against Borussia Dortmund. This is an interesting tie between two sides with little European pedigree.
A lot has been made by the media recently about the prospect of a rocking atmosphere at Spurs’ new stadium affecting Manchester City. How much of an impact do you feel new surroundings will have on both sides?
This is exactly where I think the first-leg will be won or lost for Spurs. On our day we can go toe to toe with any team in Europe, but at the same time we have a tendency to slip when under pressure. The new stadium will either significantly give us another huge boost or hinder us given the pressure.
The atmosphere against Crystal Palace was mixed; at times it was deafening and sounded like an arena teams will fear of coming to, although when we needed a goal it went a bit flat. I’m hoping that given the magnitude of the fixture, the fans will be right behind the team. A quick start for Manchester City could be key to kill any chance of that happening.
Prior to the victory over Crystal Palace, Spurs were experiencing a rotten run of form. Is third in the Premier League and a Champions League Quarter-Final what Tottenham fans expected to see at this stage of the campaign?
Given we have spent the season at Wembley, had numerous injuries to an already thin squad due to no summer additions and the most late World Cup returnees, Spurs fans are understanding of where we are at. We’re hoping that the new stadium will give the team a boost to keep our spot in the top four and as far in the Champions League as possible. Given the adversities we have been forced to overcome, the fans are content.
Aside from the bigger names in the Tottenham side such as Kane, Eriksen, Son for example, who should Manchester City be looking out for in this fixture and why
Moussa Sissoko. His turnaround has been nothing short of mind blowing and although it has been well documented, he still doesn’t get the credit he deserves like many central midfielders. His style honestly reminds me of Yaya Toure, but treading carefully, not quite to the same effect. His power in the middle has been crucial for us this season and his ability to the carry the ball forward has helped to make us a threat.
Where do you feel the main battle could take place on the pitch?
Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane against Kieran Trippier and Danny Rose/Ben Davies. Spurs’ full-backs have been a real issue this season with not one them stepping up and making that position their own. Whereas Sterling, along with Virgil van Dijk, has been the best player this season and his ability could cause Tottenham huge problems.
I will also add that Sterling is my favourite non-Spurs player and the way he has overcome so much off the pitch and handled it so well is a true testament to him.
Who do you feel will go on to win this season’s Champions League and do you feel the chance of a City quadruple is even realistic?
This current Manchester City side under Guardiola is one of the best assembled teams Europe has seen in recent years. You’ve spent a huge amount of money to get to this position, but so have the likes of United and they’ve got it wrong, so credit to City.
I think what will be crucial for City this year in terms of winning the quadruple is the depth in quality. Being able to swap Aguero out for Jesus or Otamendi out for Stones is a very unique position and that has shown with you reaching both the FA Cup and Carabao Cup finals. FC Barcelona will be the eventual winners, but City are the strongest team in our side of the last 8 and will reach the final, in my opinion.
Spurs Starting XI and score predictions?
Lloris; Trippier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose; Sissoko, Winks; Eriksen, Dele, Son; Kane.
You can follow ‘Daily Hotspur’ on Twitter here: @Daily_Hotspur
You can follow us on twitter for more Manchester City content: @City_Xtra