LESS than three years ago, Manchester City and Tottenham played one of the best games in Champions League history.
No one who witnessed that throbbing quarter-final second leg at Etihad in April 2019 will ever forget it.
Five goals in a dizzying first 21-minute, Fernando Llorente’s controversial winning goal and Raheem Sterling’s final VAR goal.
Spurs ended in the most dramatic way an unforgettable draw on away goals and reached the final before losing to Liverpool in Madrid.
Since then, however, things have gone awry for the north London side, while their opponents have grown stronger and stronger.
Since that day, Pep Guardiola’s men have won five more trophies, establishing themselves as a European force to be reckoned with.
Mauricio Pochettino, meanwhile, was fired just six months after that famous night at the Etihad.
Jose Mourinho, Ryan Mason, Nuno Espiritu Santo and now Antonio Conte have been trying to get the Spurs back on track.
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But the FA Cup is the only option left to avoid another season without trophies in the N17s as long as they remain eighth in the table.
If, as expected, City come out on top in Saturday’s tea game, they’ll be ahead of their rivals by a whopping THIRTY points, albeit playing three more games.
No wonder England skipper Harry Kane tried to plan a move to Etihad over the summer.
It would be interesting to know what he thinks when he leads his team at 17:25 on Saturday.
However, Spurs fans who make the trip to the Northwest will do so with little hope.
Since that Champions League match, the teams have met seven times in all competitions, and City have won only three of them.
And a victory for Conte’s men this weekend will set them up for a famous double over City after their first day win in north London.
Few teams did this in the Guardiola era.
Of course, this will be easier said than done.
In the last 15 matches of the championship, City lost only two points, but firmly strengthened their position in the title race.
Their 5-0 thrashing of Sporting Lisbon in Portugal in the middle of the week showed the team full of confidence and no doubt aiming for even more silver medals in May.
Meanwhile, Tottenham have lost their last three Premier League fixtures, seriously undermining their hopes of finishing in the top four.
Guardiola believes this makes them dangerous opponents, as the top teams haven’t lost four in a row, but it will be a big surprise if the champions go off course.
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