Preview: Tottenham vs Manchester City

Tottenham and Manchester City collide in north London on Tuesday with a very strange situation swirling around Spurs’ penultimate game of the season.

If Spurs win they will hand their bitter rivals Arsenal the advantage in the Premier League title race heading into the final day of the season. Ange Postecoglou has said he and his players are focused on winning the game to boost their own European hopes (their 2-1 win at home against Burnley this weekend kept their top four hopes alive) and isn’t focused on the fact that most of Spurs’ fans want their side to lose this game so that Manchester City have a better chance of pipping Arsenal to the title.

Ange Postecoglou: Tottenham will go all-out to win

“There is a pretty simple notion to this: there is a game of football tomorrow night, what do you think is going to happen? What do you think we are going to do as a team, or any team on this planet? Aren’t we just going to try and win?” Postecoglou said. “It is as simple, basic, premise. How that makes people feel, I’m not really fussed. I don’t really care. I hate to think anybody thinks we will go out there tomorrow night with anything other than trying to measure ourselves against a top team and maybe win a game of football that is consequential. How are we ever going to become a team that wins things if we don’t win the big games? If we shy away from it?”

“I understand rivalry, I was part of one of the biggest ones in the world the last couple of years with Celtic and Rangers. I understand rivalry but I’ve will never understand if somebody wants their own team to lose,” Postecoglou added. “That is not what sport is about. That is not what I love about the game. What I love more than anything else is the competitiveness of it. Challenging yourselves to beat someone and be successful. Anything outside of that it has got nothing to do with sport, nothing to do with me. If other people want to treat it that way where they derive pleasure from others misery, that is not how I’ve lived my life. That is not how I perceive my role. My role is to bring success to this football club. I know 100 percent of Spurs fans want us to win and be successful and win trophies. Without a shadow of a doubt. Us winning tomorrow night will help us bring joy to 100 percent of Spurs supporters.”

Pep Guardiola: If we lose Arsenal will win the title

Manchester City brushed aside Fulham 4-0 at the weekend and if they win their final two games at Tottenham and at home against West Ham on the final day, they know they will be top-flight champions for a record fourth-straight season.

But one slip up and Guardiola knows Arsenal are ready to pounce. Fun fact: Man City have won once (in the FA Cup) in six trips to the new Tottenham Hotspur stadium and have never scored a Premier League goal at the stadium.

“We played really good there many times but weren’t able to score or win games,” Guardiola explained. “We are trying to do something special so we have to do that this time.

“This is the time to do it otherwise Arsenal will be champions. The mindset is just what we need to do to win the game. The other situations can’t be in your mind because everyone knows what we are playing for.”

Tottenham focus, team news

Spurs have injury issues at the back and it will be intriguing to see who plays left back with Udogie and Davies both out. Skipp played there at the weekend but Spurs could be forced to play Micky van de Ven there and have Dragusin at center back. Sarr and Bentancur should start in midfield with Son, Maddison, Kulusevski and Johnson in attack.

OUT: Richarlison (calf), Yves Bissouma (knee), Manor Solomon (knee), Fraser Forster (ankle), Destiny Udogie (thigh), Ryan Sessegnon (thigh), Timo Werner (thigh), Ben Davies (calf)

Manchester City focus, team news

Jack Grealish is back from injury which gives Guardiola even more options, while the only concern is Nathan Ake who hobbled off in the first half at the weekend. Gvardiol (the Croatian goal-machine) will likely start at left back with Dias, Akanji and Walker likely to make up the rest of the defense. Stones could come back into midfield alongside Rodri for a bit of extra defensively solidity. Up top, Kevin de Bruyne, Bernardo Silva and Phil Foden supporting Erling Haaland seems about right. But don’t be surprised if Doku starts to make the most of Spurs’ high-line.

QUESTIONABLE: Nathan Ake (ankle)

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