Writer: Gavin Cooper
Date:Sunday November 9 2008
City of Manchester Stadium
9th November 2008
After a reasonably comfortable midweek victory in the UEFA cup Mark Hughes' City need to get their league campaign back on track as they have slowly been dragged towards the relegation places.
Hughes talks about the position he finds himself at the club and the pressures that come with it: 'No one is immune from football pressures.
All we are trying to do is build a football club and that is not going to happen overnight.
'The team finished eighth last season and we know we have to do better than that.
'But they don't give me the impression there will be a knee-jerk reaction if results are not going well.
'It's a long-term project. They (Abu Dhabi United Group) understand the team is not going to be challenging immediately for the top four. They are realistic in their aspirations.
'They know we will not be able to get all the players we want in one transfer window. Over a number of windows, yes.
'They are very calm while everyone else is getting a bit hysterical. It's early days for them and for everybody. It's a work in progress.'
Belgian midfielder Vincent Kompany sat out the game with a groin problem and will miss out against Spurs as he serves a one-match ban.
Benjani is pushing for a place in the starting line-up after marking his return from a thigh injury with a goal, while Elano could also come into the side.
Hughes may also decide to make changes to his back four after City conceded two goals in each of their last three matches.
Darius Vassell and Michael Ball also find themselves in contention as well but some of the defence are carrying injuries and yet are still playing because of a lack of strength in depth.
It appears as though Michael Johnson is not recovering from his stomache/groin problems and will be out for some time still to come as the club decide whether to put the young Urmston midfielder under the knife for a third time.
This lad has been a revelation this season and if he had the chance to play alongside a top quality box to box midfielder would shine even more I am sure.
Vedran Corluka and Roman Pavlyuchenko return to the Tottenham squad after being cup-tied for the clash with Dinamo.
Corluka is likely to slot straight back into the defence but Pavlyuchenko may have to settle for a place on the substitutes' bench after Darren Bent's hat-trick, with Redknapp admitting that he can only fit one out-and-out striker into a line-up that includes Luka Modric.
Ledley King is in contention after being rested, but Giovani dos Santos (ankle) is out and Jermaine Jenas (toe) has been struggling.
The young Croatian midfielder is very talented and if City's midfield do not keep close attention to him he could open up gaps and expose our defence very easily.
Tottenham have a very formiddable premiership record against City; but that record has not caught up with the overall record where City regularly got the upper hand over Tottenham.
City scored a maximum at Eastlands last season their first on home soil since that fantastic 5-2 game in October 1994 when Brian Horton was City's manager; and just like City Spurs have gone through more than eight managers since then.
Mike Dean - our first time at having Mike this season; but Tottenham's third where they have lost the other two games. In the three games that Mike referee'd City last season we won one and lost two and the first loss was at Blackburn where I think he harshly sent Richard Dunne off to end his immaculate premiership appearrance record.
A resurgent Tottenham under Old Harry will be a real task for City and Mark Hughes and you can only see lots of goals in this fixture; but I am going for a scoring draw. MCFC 2 - 2 THFC.
Hull City away at the KC Stadium on Sunday 16th November with a 4pm kick off with the game live on Sky's Super Sunday.
Date:Sunday November 9 2008
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|1. Man City||9||6||2||1||+11||20|
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