The Big Man City-Spurs Preview : Could Townsend Be Thrown In?
Spurs haven’t won at the Etihad for a good while now. Only four years in real time, but pitched in the ever-changing canon of Big League Soccerball, it might as well be a lifetime.
The fall of the Macedonian empire; Julius Caesar crossing the English Channel in a big wooden boat. Peter Crouch manoeuvring his pointy body under Younes Kaboul’s ricocheted cross to guarantee Spurs’ place in the Champions League qualifiers. It all seems like ancient history now.
Since that glorious night, way back in May 2010, it’s fair to say the Manchester club have rather kicked on. Not just content with the perpetual slug for 4th/5th/6th every season, City decided their route to full enlightenment was one that involved winning two Premier League titles, an F.A Cup and a League Cup. Each to their own, I suppose.
In financial terms City have drifted off the mainland. Sustained by the kind of innumerable wealth which, forget the bonafide superstars, once allowed them to sign Lescott and Milner for £45m without a flinch. Meanwhile Spurs had their one shot at spending big last summer, after pawning a Golden Egg to Real Madrid, but completely soiled themselves under the pressure of the enormous windfall.
But, hey-ho, it’s all good fun. There’s a generation of City fans who had to watch Jamie Pollock, who’s since seen better days. So it probably all balances out.
And so to the game itself. Man City away. Perhaps not the most appealing fixture you could hope for after an international break, but not the worst either when you factor in the amount of airspace City’s cosmopolitan squad will have traversed in the last week or so in name of patriotic endeavour.
Indeed, according to my sources on the ground, Yaya Touré, Sergio Aguero and Pablo Zabaleta are all possible non-starters today, such is the extent and volume of their glob-trotting. Touré can look pretty relaxed at the best of times so it’s no surprise that, after playing in a hard-fought loss in Abidjan on Wednesday evening, he could be rested with City’s trip to Moscow next week in mind. Nasri and Fernadinho are both still out.
We’re not without our own casualties. Hugo picked up a thigh strain on duty with France and the rather excellent Nacer Chadli has a question mark hanging over his perfectly-styled haircut. It’s the hips with this one. Grim news for us; perhaps better for Andros Townsend, who’ll be the likely benefactor of Chadli’s absence.
Glenn Hoddle said last week that it was the likes of Chadli and Lamela who were stalling young Andros’ potentially sky-bound career. Obviously encouraged by the sight of the young winger pounding in his second international goal against European giants San Marino- ladies and gentlemen, I’ve arrived– Hoddle felt sure that the only thing stopping Townsend’s upward trajectory was lack of opportunities.
Well, Andros. This could well be it.