The ninth, 17th and 20th April 2019 – Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City have all to play for with three huge ties in just 11 days. Tottenham face Pep Guardiola’s side in the Champions League quarter-finals at the new White Hart Lane and at the Etihad stadium that could define the 2018/19 season for both clubs. Manchester City are going for the Premier League title and FA Cup double, yet winning the Champions League will surely cement Pep Guardiola’s team as a ‘great’ team. For Tottenham, the Champions League is their last shot at glory this season. The league tie will also have permutations for both.
Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City Have All to Play For in 11 Days
Round One – Champions League Quarter-Final First Leg – Venue: The New White Hart Lane
Tottenham dropped out of the Premier League title race after a poor run of form – their worst of the season. Damaging defeats to Burnley, Chelsea and Southampton ended any remaining dreams that existed of title glory. Around tha,t they managed to knock Borussia Dortmund out of the Champions League with a superb second-half showing at Wembley and a professional showing in Germany, resulting in a 4-0 aggregate score.
Going ‘home’ has only heightened that excitement and despite the poor performances in recent weeks in the league, there is a real sense that this could be Tottenham’s year at last. The ‘new’ home advantage will fire up the fans and the players even more but it will need to be a great performance and a good margin of victory if the North London club are to progress over two legs.
Round Two – Champions League Quarter-Final Second Leg – Venue: The Etihad Stadium
With Liverpool top of the league at Christmas, Manchester City were second favourites to land another title. A few wobbles from the Merseysiders have let City back in and they are just a point behind with a game in hand. Pep Guardiola knows that a Premier League title won’t be what proves his team as a success though:
“They said in Munich I would be judged for not getting to finals. My standards are high, but the players, the club, the fans, if we are consistent, and humble doing what we do. I have to accept we won a lot in the past and people believe it’s normal, it’s not normal.
The Champions League is the Holy Grail for Manchester City and now Tottenham Hotspur stand in their way.
Round Three – Premier League – Will There Still Be All to Play For?
If Manchester City have progressed through to the semi-finals of Europe’s elite club competition, they will be facing a Tottenham team with only the top four to play for. For City, they will be fighting to beat Liverpool to get their hands on the Premier League for the second season on a row. They have certainly faced a sterner test than they did in last season’s stroll to the title.
For Mauricio Pochettino, he has the tougher task in deciding how he approaches this match. If it is his team that has progressed to the semi-finals of the Champions League, does he rest players for this match? It is unlikely as he will know Tottenham have to finish in the top four at least for the season to have been a success. Winning the Champions League would be an extraordinary achievement on top of that.
Winner Takes All
Looking at the three ties, they are a mouthwatering prospect; all of them. Whilst it is all to play for for both teams, Tottenham Hotspur have the most to lose. With no signings and the delays to the new stadium, they have looked to be running out of steam in the last few weeks. Missing out on the top four is now a real prospect, so they cannot afford to take their eyes off the ball for one second.
For Pep Guardiola, missing out on the title would hurt but winning the Champions League would, without doubt, sweeten that blow.
Tottenham going back home may just what they need and their fans will be ready to make it a partisan night back at White Hart Lane.
Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City will soon be well acquainted and there really is all to play for.