New Delhi: London giants Tottenham Hotspur face a daunting task when they take on Premier League champions Manchester City, at the Etihad stadium in an enthralling lunch-time clash on Saturday. Spurs have had a mixed start to the season and know the vitality of the encounter against City in terms of points and largely, prestige.
Last season, Tottenham lost to City twice, badly. A 6-0 loss in Manchester in November was followed up with a 5-1 home defeat two months later. The English champions were all over the London outfit and now, Spurs' new manager Mauricio Pochettino has a major task in his hands to avoid a similar fate.
Last season, both losses came under two different managers and it offered aplenty to chew upon.
Six-nil hammering at the Etihad was the first nail in the coffin for Andre Villas-Boas' tenure as Spurs manager. The next game too felt beyond analysis. Under Tim Sherwood, Spurs had lacked a clear game-plan when they were mauled 5-1 at home. The two games have a combined scoreline of 11-1 and that for Spurs is a worrisome figure.
Now what lies next is the ominous prospect of a trip to the Etihad. The champions sit only three points ahead of Spurs but will start the game as favourites once again.
Spurs have suffered against top quality sides that include Liverpool too. Against the Reds, Pochettino's team suffered a 3-0 loss this season after suffering a 5-0 and 4-0 loss at home and away respectively last season. The first two defeats had come under AVB and Sherwood.
However, the players that were bought last season have started paying dividends for Tottenham. They have won three matches in this season so far and have collected 11 points. Nacer Chadli, Christian Eriksen, Eric Lamela and Jan Vertonghen have looked much more settled this term. The defence looks better with new skipper Younes Kaboul leading the line. Spurs will draw a lot of inspiration from the 1-1 draw against Arsenal in the London derby on September 2014.
Pochettino will want to get his tactics spot-on and become the second team after Stoke City to win at the Etihad stadium this season.