Tony Cascarino's match points: Tottenham v Manchester City

If Manchester City shape up as they did against Leicester City last weekend, they will surely lose this game as well. The openness that we saw last week would be exploited by Tottenham Hotspur, who are a similar, hard-running team.

City need two ball-winners in central midfield, with Yaya Toure pushed forward into an attacking role, just off Sergio Aguero, where his defensive weakness is not exposed.

It looks like David Silva will be fit, so I would move him to the right and have Raheem Sterling on the left.

KEY CLASHES

Nicolas Otamendi v Harry Kane

Kane will be champing at the bit because of City's central defensive problems. Otamendi and Martin Demichelis have been so poor that manager Manuel Pellegrini has recalled captain Vincent Kompany, even though he may not be fully match fit.

Toby Alderweireld v Sergio Aguero

Alderweireld has become Mr Reliable in the centre of the Tottenham defence. He is very good on the ball, decent in the air and effective at set pieces. Aguero can win you a game in an instant, stealing half a metre and smashing the ball home. But, if you stop the service to him, you nullify City.

Fernandinho v Dele Alli

Fernandinho is the most mobile player in City's midfield and probably the only one who might be able to stop Alli, who is capable of bursting forward from midfield and scoring important goals. City cannot afford to leave Alli unmarked as he runs forward. The Brazilian must stay with him.

KILLER STATS

4 Tottenham can become only the second team to secure the title despite failing to win any of their opening four league games. Sunderland, in 1912-13, are the only previous example.

1 Sergio Aguero scored one goal in his first seven league games for City this season, but has added 13 in his next 11.

1 Harry Kane scored one goal in his first nine league appearances for Tottenham this season, but has added 14 in his subsequent 16.

2 Tottenham have not been in the top two in the table after 25 matches or later since 1984-85.

VERDICT

A Tottenham win. City are not an athletic team, in contrast to their well-drilled opponents.

THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 14, 2016, with the headline 'Tony Cascarino's match points: Tottenham v Manchester City'. Print Edition | Subscribe