Ahead of tomorrow’s game with Tottenham, Pablo Zabaleta is wary of the threat that the North Londoner’s pose, particularly away from home:
Our 5-1 win at White Hart Lane was probably our best performance of the season last year. We were fantastic from start to finish and the return game was also exciting with Mario’s penalty settling it in injury time. I actually think Spurs are more of a threat when they play away from home because they like to hit you on the counter-attack whereas when they play at home, teams set-up differently and it is difficult to play that way.
Zabaleta believes that if City are to be victorious they need to nullify the threat of Tottenham’s wingers:
They have very good forwards, especially down the wings with Gareth Bale, Aaron Lennon and also Jermain Defoe down the middle. It won’t be easy to win this game, but we have proved when we are on the top of our game, we are confident of beating anyone.
We need to stop the ball getting to the wings. Easier said than done, but if we can limit their supply and remain solid at the back, we will have a good chance of winning. Bale is one of the best left-wingers in the world and is very fast, has great technique and energy and he will be a handful, no doubt. But I’ve played against him before and while it wasn’t easy, I enjoy playing against good players so I will be doing my best to come out on top.
We seem to have had many battles with Spurs in recent years to qualify for the Uefa Champions League but we obviously pulled away a little last season. Now we are back to square one and we need to beat teams like Tottenham who are in or around us. If we get three points, we’ll go eight points clear of them, whereas if they win, the gap between us would be just two points so this is a big game for us. I was surprised they lost at home to Wigan last week, but they have already beaten United away so we know what to expect.