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Tottenham must settle for a point in latest all-or-nothing Man City clash

Tottenham Hotspur’s clashes with Man City have a habit of becoming season-defining fixtures for the Lilywhites, with the last four seasonal second legs all having an immediate or lasting effect on their Champions League aspirations. Spurs have lost just once at home in their last 16 games and despite injury problems they can still secure a draw against City – for which they can be backed at 12/5 – to ratchet up the pressure on Arsenal.

The nature of Spurs attacking threat is in some doubt ahead of the fixture, with first-line Gareth Bale, Aaron Lennon and Jermain Defoe all far from certain to play a part. Vincent Kompany and whichever central-defensive ally Roberto Mancini picks for him this week will be most satisfied to see auxiliaries Gylfi Siggurdsson, Clint Dempsey, Lewis Holtby and Emmanuel Adebayor line up instead.

Spurs first choice offensive three have provided 31 goals this term between them, 21 more than the four that will try and replace them should their recoveries from injury not arrive soon enough. However, in the defence of the second-line, they combined to notch twice against an Everton side that proved just how stubborn they can be when shutting out Arsenal on Tuesday.

Whichever offensive configuration turn up Andre Villas-Boas’ must hope that they fire, because Spurs haven’t kept a clean sheet in seven games.

When Tottenham clash with the division’s better sides, keeping it tight doesn’t seem to be an option, with 10 of their 11 matches against the division’s top seven so far this term tipping the scales at over 2.5 goals. Over 2.5 goals can be backed in the fixture at 10/11 with the sides’ last three meetings all yielding goal-hauls that would make winners of overs bettors.

The Lilywhites both scored and conceded in all 11 of those matches against top seven foes, making both teams to score an attractive bet at 8/13, and their goal-threat against the top sides can’t be denied.

City may be in irrepressible form just now, having won eight of their last nine matches, but the psychological toll of chasing league leaders who are within reach, yet could move out of reach at any moment, seemed to be catching up with them in Wednesday’s anaemic win over Wigan. Freed of the Europa League’s bothersome drain on resources and with the 10 days since their last match soothing their tired legs Tottenham can take a point at 12/5 with Coral.