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Balancing act

Merse previews the first game of the campaign

Paul Merson - Paul Merson Posted 13th August 2010 view comments

This is a fantastic way to start the season.

Tottenham are looking to finish in the top four again and Man City are all geared up for Champions League football. They've got a good chance too. The top sides lost a lot of games last season and all the other teams have got a chance now, unlike a few years ago.

Redknapp: can he outwit Mancini?

Redknapp: can he outwit Mancini?

Spurs and City mustn't get carried away though. I think the title will be beyond both of them and they need to focus on the top four. It's going to be a big battle this year because Liverpool are going to improve, Everton will be strong and you just don't know what's going to happen with Aston Villa.

But I must admit I'm not a fan of City's spending this summer. It looks like they've bought a lorryload of players and haven't thought about how they'll fit into a team.

I'm not a fan of City's spending this summer. It looks like they've bought a lorryload of players and haven't thought about how they'll fit into a team.

Paul Merson
Quotes of the week

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Tottenham v Man City

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They're overloaded in midfield and I think they've signed too many players that haven't played in the Premier League before. I just can't see them hitting the ground running, especially away at Spurs on the first day.

Personally, I thought Craig Bellamy was their best player last year - better even than Carlos Tevez - but he might not even get a shirt this year. I don't think Roberto Mancini knows his best team and their poor results in pre-season show that. He needs time... but has he got it?

Harry Redknapp has done very little in the transfer market, but I think he's waiting to see what happens in the Champions League. If they beat Young Boys and get into the group stage, he'll go out and buy big.

They have a big squad, but it will be hard for them to balance a Champions League campaign with a push for the top four again. The Champions League is not easy; you've got a lot of travelling and a lot of tough matches against top sides.

But I expect them to start with a win on Saturday. They have more balance in their team than City and that could be they key to this match.

PAUL'S PREDICTION
HOME WIN - I'm going to say 3-1 to Spurs. I just don't think Man City's signings have been fantastic and I personally think it will take a while for them to click. For that reason, you don't want to be going to Tottenham on the first game of the season.

MERSON'S MAGIC MAN
TOM HUDDLESTONE - This game is going to be won in midfield. City are going to be top-heavy in that part of the pitch so if Huddlestone plays well and gets a grip on the game then it will swing Tottenham's way.

Comments (12)

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Dan Rees (Tottenham Hotspur fan) says...

I think City''s major problem is going to be the same as they had last year. They signed proven premier league performers (Tevez, Adebayor, Bellamy ETC) left out their player of the previous season in Ireland, didnt gel, and it reflected at the end of the season. We''re similar teams in that we are both inconsistent. I love the Spurs team we have now, but we need to move forward and the only way we can improve such a good squad is by signing world class players. Come on Levy, take a risk on Fabiano or Suarez. We need someone who has that cutting edge and is in the same vein as Torres, Drogba or Rooney to make us real contenders. They''ll pay their transfer fee in shirt sales alone. As for defence, people say we are short. But we have Corluka, Dawson, Bassong, and Kaboul, plus Huddlestone when needed for cover at centre half. Mark my words, Kaboul believe it or not is going to be the anchor for the new French national team! Another good seaon but 5th at best without a BIG signing. COYS

Posted 03:56 14th August 2010

James Vickers (Manchester City fan) says...

I do expect us to lose this game, but at least it will be out of the way, it''s not one of my more enjoyable fixtures of the year! I really do hope Mancini gets time because the best manager in the world can''t get things perfect straight away. I think we''ve got a big and good enough squad to finish in the top four as well.

Posted 13:21 13th August 2010

John Simonian (West Bromwich Albion fan) says...

i think Manchester city might edge this clash because of the raw talent mncini has bought in the likes of david silva, yaya toure possible balotelli and milner those would make a recepie for a perfect encounter

Posted 13:17 13th August 2010

Paul Moore (Manchester City fan) says...

I couldnt disagree with you anymore if I tried Mers. We clearly needed to make improvements to the squad. We finished a decent fifth last season and with those players from last year we wouldnt be good enough to get into the top four. Alot of the foreign players that grace our league are not premiership proven but they adapt very well, examples such as Henry, Schmeichel, solskjaer, to name but a few! If our team gels quickly then we have an excellent chance of contesting for the league. If not then we could struggle. I admit our fans in the main our brilliant but can be very bitter, but I cant help but notice how bItter people are towards us as a club having money now. I have been watching the blues now for 18 years now and as our illustrious neighbours so kindly LOVE to remind us we havent won anything now for 34 years, so us if anyone I think deserve a bit of success, no negative thoughts lets give it a go and just see, we may just ruffle some more feathers. It has to be good for the premiership to see the likes of us and spurs competing with the so called big four. The bigger teams are getting worried now and rightly so. Give us a chance, give Mancini a chance and if we dont win anything then we support the club even more just like we always do. CTID.

Posted 12:54 13th August 2010

Zubair Ashraf (Manchester City fan) says...

I dont think pundits are getting it.He says he dont think new sighnings can adopt to premier league.I dont think they were playing in streets before coming to pl.They r profesionals and know how to play big time.As far as harry and mancini are concerns,harry never won pl and mancini have won serie a so he knows what it takes to win a league and he is a good manager.I think it would be 5-1 thumbing for spurs tomorrow mark my words.

Posted 12:02 13th August 2010

James Crossley (Manchester City fan) says...

I think you will be eating your words on that one Paul. City will win 3-1 easy result

Posted 11:00 13th August 2010

R Duffy (Tottenham Hotspur fan) says...

I think it will be closer than that but Spurs should win. I am very surprised with the lack of transfers into White Hart Lane. We are very scarce in central defence. Unless Harry believes that he has enough cover in that area, I have my few doubts that we will do very well this season, I expect Bentley to be missed though. I am very hopeful that we will get to the group stages of the Champions League. I trust Redknapp''s judgement. The best thing that happened this summer was Harry signing a new contract. His commitment adds stability to our club, something that has always been lacking since I started supporting the club 25 years ago. COYS

Posted 10:38 13th August 2010

Mark D (Manchester City fan) says...

Although I do predict a very tough game for city and probably a loss to my own team while we still wait for that extra fire power up front (Balotelli today). This game will not ruin our season and a top four place will come. I don''t think players of the quality we are signing will take long to settle and spurs are lucky in a way they have us this early at their place as they have a weakened City. The real game will be at COMs later in the season. As for top4 this season? No way spurs can do it again. They were lucky Liverpool had a terrible season and they won''t be doing that again and City are moving on up now and once gelled will be with the big boys something Spurs just aren''t yet. I think with a few players though they could be there just Harry likes cheaper players and getting the best out of them rather than your top players and that''s why he will never manage a title winning side.

Posted 10:34 13th August 2010

Colin Ball (Manchester City fan) says...

Well Paul, lets see if you have egg on your face tomorrow. I predict a 6-1 win for us blues which will set us up nicely for a title winning season. Do you really feel that a proven manager like Manchini does not know what he is doing? Redknap himself expects city to be a force this season as does Ferguson and the rest. Did you not realise we were playing kids in the friendlies to see if they merit squad numbers. What was the result of our last friendly against Valencia with our big guns playing? Oh yes 2-0 and it could have been five, watch out spurs, here we come.

Posted 10:20 13th August 2010

Takis Oikonomopoulos (Tottenham Hotspur fan) says...

Agree with most of what Merson is saying. City has fallen into the same trap that most teams with infinite amounts of cash fall into; OVERSPENDING. Chelsea (under Mourinho) were the only team that did not overly go that way due to having a manager who wanted to address the team''s needs rather than demonstrate the team''s purchasing power. Having said that. I just love it when high spending clubs do that as it makes it even more entertaining when they don''t reach their targets. Watching Real Madrid fail year after year is a personal favourite.....Though City may overtake that spot this year.

Posted 09:40 13th August 2010

Dean Jules (Tottenham Hotspur fan) says...

Looking forward to a cracker here. I can really see a Spurs-Man city rivalry developing here that will develop for years to come. I''m going for a Spurs win because Spurs are at home, the lads are a well knit team, and they have as good a set of players as city have and have already achieved much as a unit. That said, it will be a cagey game until one of the two scores 2 clear goals. If that happens its going to be 3-1 or a 3-2. Gareth Bale is my man to watch. I can see Ryan Giggs losing every record he owns as a welshman, in time. Man City haven''t progressed in terms of signings. Some healthy squad additions, which i dont feel they really needed, but no big names too. I think we''ll see the same quality in City this year and every year until they get a manager that knows what his best 11 is.

Posted 09:38 13th August 2010

Ped P (Tottenham Hotspur fan) says...

think your right there mers, transfer activity seems slow this time around & i think the last week or so will be when the movements really begin. got a feeling chelsea & liverpool might struggle a bit & with o''neil leaving the villa, that too will scupper their plans for top four. i have a funny feeling, though that there might be a surprise package in the top six places as well this year with stoke being up there (they''ve been quietly adding some good players to their squad). i think like you, that spurs will find it a bridge too far to take the premiership title & i think harry knows that, besides i think spurs fans would be happy for a decent run in europe & another top 4 finish to boot.

Posted 09:02 13th August 2010

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