Preview: Tottenham need to beat Man City to keep CL [and Arsenal’s] dreams alive

By on May 14, 2024

Bernardo Silva Manchester City

Arguably the most important game of the season takes place in North London as Tottenham take on Manchester City on Tuesday night.

This is usually an exciting game, but it’s importance has been taken to a new level this week as it will not only have a huge say in who finishes fourth, but the outcome could decide who wins the title.

Tottenham fans find themselves in an almost impossible position. They know that if Spurs beat City, it would give Arsenal a golden chance to win the Premier League title. Many Tottenham fans are wanting their own team to lose just to prevent their arch rivals from winning the league. The only problem is, Tottenham desperately need to win to keep alive their hopes of finishing fourth and qualifying for the Champions League.

Ange Postecoglou and many of his players have laughed off the suggestion Tottenham will ‘throw’ the game to deny Arsenal glory. They insist they will be professional and go for the win they need to close the gap on Aston Villa. However, it’s certainly going to be interesting to see the atmosphere inside the stadium if City score, as many Spurs fans claim they will cheer on Pep Guardiola’s men.

The state of play

As things stand, Man City sit second in the table – one point behind Arsenal following their 1-0 win at Manchester United on Sunday – with a game in hand. City can move two points clear with a win heading into the final game of the season, while a draw would leave Arsenal top with a +3 goal difference over the defending champions. Arsenal also have a better head-to-head record over City should the two teams finish level on points and goal difference at the end of the season. Therefore, Man City need a win to keep the title in their hands.

Aston Villa’s 3-3 draw with Liverpool on Monday night has given Spurs renewed hope in the race for fourth. Tottenham now sit five points behind Villa with a game in hand. Victory for Tottenham over City would close the gap to just two points heading into the weekend. Villa have a tough trip to in-form Crystal Palace on the final game of the season, while Spurs travel to relegated Sheffield United.

Villa have a far better goal difference than Spurs so they’d need to lose at Palace and Tottenham win both their remaining games for the North Londoners to snatch fourth spot. Another but a win over Man City, and Spurs will miss out on Champions League football for another year, so they desperately need a win to keep the pressure on Villa.

Fans divided

The situation leaves fans of both Arsenal and Tottenham in an uncomfortable position. Arsenal supporters will have no option but to cheer on their fierce rivals as the Gunners desperately need a favour from Tottenham. They know if City win, their chances of winning the title rest on West Ham getting something at the Etihad Stadium on the last day of the season.

Tottenham fans want the best for their club, and Champions League qualification would be a huge achievement in Postecoglou’s first season. However, not only do they need to beat City and Sheffield United, but Spurs also need Villa to lose at Palace to finish fourth. Given the unlikely scenario, it’s understandable that many would be content with losing against Man City to deny Arsenal the chance of winning the title.

It’s certainly going to be a fascinating game and it should be a thrilling contest in north London on Tuesday night.

How to watch

Given the huge importance of this game at the top end of the table, it’s expected to be a packed house at the New Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Tuesday night. The match will almost certainly be sold out through the official channels, but fans can still get tickets via a ticket maketplace such as Seatsnet.com.

Unsurprisingly, the game is also being broadcast on live TV. The match will be shown on Sky Sports, kicking off at 8pm. Subscribers can follow all the action on their TV via their Sky box, or watch through the Sky Go app.

Team news

Tottenham will be without Richarlison as the Brazilian international has been ruled out for three weeks with a calf injury. Timo Werner is also out for the rest of the season with a hamstring problem while Manor Solomon is out with a knee injury so Postecoglou has limited options to rotate in attack.

Spurs also have issues at left-back as Destiny Udogie remains out with a thigh injury and Ben Davies is out with a calf problem. Ryan Sessegnon is also out so Oliver Skipp may have to be a make-shift left-back. Emerson Royal or Radu Dragusin are alternative options for Postecoglou.

Yves Bissouma is the latest casualty as the midfielder has been ruled out of the last two matches with a knee injury. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg is expected to be recalled to start in midfield while Rodrigo Bentancur is also pushing for a recall.

As for Man City, they have virtually a fully-fit squad to choose from. Nathan Ake is the only concern with the defender a doubt for the game due to an ankle injury.

Pep Guardiola may stick with the same side that thrashed Fulham 4-0 last time out. However, the likes of Kyle Walker, Jeremy Doku, Julian Alvarez and John Stones are all pushing for recalls if the Spaniard opts to make changes.


This is poised to be a nervy and tense game for Tottenham, Man City, Arsenal and Aston Villa fans with the outcome having a huge bearing on how the top four will shape up. On the face of it, Man City are the heavy favourites as they’ve been in formidable form over the past few months so the smart money would be on an away win.

However, away to Tottenham has been something of a bogey fixture for City as they’ve struggled to pick up wins over Spurs in recent years so this certainly isn’t a foregone conclusion. I expect a very tough game and if I had to pick a winner, it would be City. However, I have a funny feeling Tottenham are going to get something from the game.

Unfortunately for them, a draw won’t be any good for their chances of finishing fourth, but it would be a major boost for Arsenal in their hunt for the title. A dramatic night is predicted to end in a draw…. Tottenham 2-2 Man City