Spurs under 23’s versus Manchester City: (match preview)
Our under 23’s return to action on Friday evening when they host Manchester City at Broadhall Way, in the PL2. After Wayne Burnett’s younger then usual development side put in a hugely impressive performance against league two club Crawley Town in the Checkatrade trophy last week, Spurs will be buoyed ahead of Fridays match. Featuring a selection of under 18 players, Burnett’s side showed a different kind of energy and creativity to their game during the 1-1 draw with Crawley, something which could prompt him to field a similar lineup for the visit of the sky blues. Second year scholars Jamie Bowden and Paris Maghoma put in excellent performances in the centre of midfield against Crawley and they were pivotal to us creating chances, it will be interesting to see if Burnett sticks with them for the Man City game. Still searching for their first win of the new PL2 season, Burnett’s side have struggled for goals so far in this campaign. However, Manchester City’s leaky defence could provide them with a couple of opportunities to add to their tally of five goals this season. Whilst the opposition haven’t started the season in the best of form defensively speaking, Paul Harsley’s side have been free scoring and have managed to find the back of the net on 13 occasions already this season. Picking up seven points from their first four PL2 games, Harsley’s side have picked up impressive victories against both Arsenal and West Ham. However, they also suffered a surprising 5-0 defeat to Brighton in their last PL2 outing. Prolific in front of goal, Man City’s potent attack includes inform Spanish centre forward Nabil Touaizi who has six PL2 goals already this season. In addition, Harsley’s speedy wide man Rabbi Matondo has also been in impressive goalscoring form. With Guardiola’s possession based attacking football implemented in the academy set up, Man City’s development side play almost identical football to their first team as you would expect.
Manchester City passed us off the park when these two teams met in this fixture last season, as they recorded a 5-0 win against Spurs at Broadhall Way in the final PL2 fixture of last season. Bolstered by the attacking fire power of Phil Foden, Brahim Diaz and Lukas Nmecha, the sky blues ripped our defence apart in that game. And whilst those players are unlikely to be involved on Friday, the creativity of the likes of Ian Poveda who also played in that game is something that Spurs will have to deal with if they are to stop a repeat of that happening. Another talented player who has been involved in all four of Manchester City’s PL2 games this season is French midfielder Claudio Gomes. A highly rated central midfielder, Gomes was a summer recruit from French side PSG. I think it will be fascinating to see how Burnett will approach this game, whether or not he’ll opt for the same kind of format which saw us impress against Crawley last week is yet to be seen. However, if we play Harsley’s side at their own game then we will force mistakes out of their defence, this will likely result in another high scoring affair. Without the suspended Troy Parrott for Friday evenings game, Spurs’ only other recognised centre forward Shayon Harrison is an injury doubt after limping off against Crawley. Hopefully there’ll be more opportunities for our under 18’s to feature in this important PL2 clash. I will be reporting on Friday evenings game and I shall have my report out by the following day.
My predicted lineup: (4-2-3-1) Austin, Marsh, Eyoma, Tanganga (c), Brown, Bowden, Skipp, Oakley-Boothe, Maghoma, Roles, Harrison.
Subs from: Freeman, Dinzeyi, Duncan, Bennett, Markanday.
Doubtful: Shilow Tracey and Shayon Harrison.
Injured/unavailable: Troy Parrott (suspended), Kazaiah Sterling (injured), Jamie Reynolds (injured), Tariq Hinds (inured), Anthony Georgiou (inured).
Previous meeting: Spurs 0-5.
My score prediction: 2-2.
My one to watch: Manchester City’s ridiculously quick right winger Rabbi Matondo is a player who is capable of causing Spurs serious problems on Friday. The athletic Wales under 21 international has beaten the likes of Leroy Sané in sprint tests, and his exceptional speed, agility and fancy footwork has hit the headlines over the past year. The former Cardiff youngster has started the new PL2 season in fine form, with three goals from the sky blues opening four PL2 matches. Matondo is a really powerful, skilful and direct winger who when in full flow is impossible to defend against. Jaden Brown will have a really tough task to try and stop the threat of Matondo on Friday evening, he is likely to be Manchester City’s biggest threat going forward.