Sports Mole selects its strongest combined XI from the squads of Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur ahead of Wednesday’s clash at the Etihad Stadium.
The second of three matches between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur in the space of 11 days takes place at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday evening as the sides face off for a place in the Champions League semi-finals.
Tottenham won last week’s quarter-final first leg 1-0 in North London and are now within 90 minutes of creating some personal history.
City, who also welcome Spurs to the Etihad Stadium in the Premier League on Saturday, are 18 points better off than their opponents in the Premier League and had won three in a row against the Lilywhites prior to last Tuesday’s meeting.
Ahead of this latest tussle between the Premier League heavyweights, Sports Mole selects its strongest combined XI using the players available for both sides.
Hugo Lloris has become prone to more than the occasional error, most recently gifting Liverpool a goal in Tottenham’s 2-1 loss at Anfield, whereas Ederson has been far more solid between the sticks for City. The keepers’ clean sheet record says it all – 17 shutouts for Ederson this term compared to 10 for Lloris, who has an equally-as-strong defence in front of him.
It was not so long ago that Tottenham were blessed with the best array of full-backs in the Premier League. Kyle Walker and Kieran Trippier were battling it out on the right, Danny Rose and Ben Davies on the left. Walker has since joined this week’s opponents, though, where he has performed consistently in a couple of positions, while Trippier has dropped off massively since the World Cup. Rose still remains a more-than-capable left-back and edges out injury-prone Benjamin Mendy, the ageing Fabian Delph and midfielder-cum-defender Oleksandr Zinchenko.
In the middle, Aymeric Laporte has been a regular for City this term, playing more minutes (2,517) than any other outfielder. Nicolas Otamendi, John Stones and Vincent Kompany have also rotated at the back, but Tottenham have two players arguably of more quality in Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen, with the former getting the nod in this side.
Fernandinho has become pretty much City’s most important player over the last two years and is selected to anchor the midfield in this hybrid side. Alongside him, Christian Eriksen and Kevin De Bruyne bring some midfield creativity, though Dele Alli perhaps would have been selected over one of the pair had he been fully fit for Wednesday’s match.
The absence of Harry Kane means that there is only one real option to lead the line – City’s leading goalscorer Sergio Aguero. The Argentina international has not necessarily been his side’s best player, though, as Raheem Sterling has continued his season-on-season rise by notching a combined 38 goals and assists for club and country this term. There are plenty of options to complete the attack, including Tottenham duo Son Heung-min and Lucas Moura, but Bernardo Silva adds a nice balance to the frontline and has been in superb form all season long.
Combined XI: Tottenham vs. Man City