Predicted Tottenham Hotspur XI to play Manchester City - Holtby in or out?

Lewis Holtby

Match to be played on Sunday 24th November 2013 at 13:30. Venue: Etihad Stadium, Manchester.

Tottenham face Manchester City on Sunday in a tough encounter at the Etihad, where they have been beaten narrowly in successive seasons. 

Heading into the weekend Tottenham sit one point above City, with it seventh against eighth, although both sides could drop lower if Newcastle win against Norwich on Saturday. City come into the game with a phenomenal home record and have won their last five at the Etihad.

The international break has been and gone, with Tottenham the biggest Premier League casualty, thanks to Christian Eriksen suffering an injury which is to keep him out for around four weeks.

Here is how we expect Andre Villas-Boas to line his side up and accommodate for the Dane's absence: 

                      Lloris

Walker Dawson Chiriches Vertonghen

              Paulinho Sandro

Lamela           Holtby          Townsend

                    Soldado

Hugo Lloris has fully recovered from his concussion, as evidence by his performances for France in the last week, so there should be no controversy over the Frenchman's selection in goal.

Vlad Chiriches played despite a fractured nose for Romania, thanks to a protective mask, and is unlikely to want to miss this crucial game for Tottenham, which will allow Jan Vertonghen to play at left-back.

Danny Rose could be on the bench, but we expect Villas-Boas to go with the more defensive minded approach and select Vertonghen, which could pay dividends against tricky winger Jesus Navas.

In midfield Spurs are likely to line up with a Brazilian pairing of Paulinho and Sandro, with Dembele and Capoue both missing out.

We can see Erik Lamela getting a recall for this big game, and Lewis Holtby will fill in for Eriksen in the centre and aim to seize his big opportunity to stake a claim for a regular first team spot. 

Roberto Soldado admitted he has been below par in recent weeks, but he looks like Tottenham's best option from the start in this one, with Defoe likely to see action off the bench in the second half.

image: © xtranews

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