The party that greeted Tottenham Hotspurs’ grand opening of the plush new White Hart Lane was accompanied by a typical Spurs victory over Crystal Palace that same night in London, a week ago. However, the narrative will be different tonight as Tottenham’s new stadium hosts one of the biggest nights in European football with Manchester City as menacing guests.
Tonight’s all-English Champions league duel between Spurs and Man City promises to set Europe alight with pure English football drama with all of Europe and indeed the entire globe feasting on the expected thrills of the chamnpions League quatre-final clash in London.
An intense tactical engagement will be spiced up on the touch lines by two of Europe’s most enterprising managers in, Spaniard, Pep Guardiola and Argentine, Maurricio Pochettino for Man City and Spurs respectively.
The two gaffers are from the pro-attacking football tradition having embossed the ideologies of possessive football and flair on their teams. Guardiola’s huge reputation in European football is validated by seven appearances at the semi-final stage of Europe’s biggest club competition with two title triumphs in 2009 and 2011 with Barcelona.
His counterpart may not have had such glitter in the Champions league but has grown in stature as a top thinker and team builder, whose inventive approach to the game has nursed Tottenham’s recent optimism in European competitions. Gone are the days when Spurs struggled to get out the group stages in European club competitions. These days the belief has gone a notch higher with Pochettino at the helm.
Sergio Aguero embraced a much-needed rest over the weekend with Guardiola keen on having his arrowhead fresh for tonight’s duel, highlighting how instrumental the Argentine is to the Man City set-up. Raheem Sterling’s mouthwatering performances this season has established him as an enigmatic piece of the Man City attack with Leroy Sane as a firm partner on the right flank.
David Silva’s creative juices continues to add rich cream to the Mancunian side with the icy touch of the blossoming Bernardo Silva who has fitted sweetly into City’s midfield in the prolonged injury of Kevin De-Bryne.
Tottenham’s brilliant centre-forward, Harry Kane is so highly rated among premier league managers and worthily so. His athletism and eye-for goals make him one of the deadliest frontmen in world football. A troublesome customer he is and has delighted Spurs fans with delectable strikes since he became a known quantity in after 2015.
South Korean Hue-Min Son, is the workaholic upfront who lurks in the dark,making crucial runs behind opposing defenders when Spurs are on the break. Mauricio Pochettino trusts the Asian’s technical abilities and favors playing him in the flanks with license to join Kane in attack when Tottenham want to impose themselves in attack.
Tottenham will seek to channel play through the flair-filled Dane Cristian Erikson and partner in midfield, Dele Alli who have proven to Pochetino’s creative elements in the middle.