Updated: Thursday, 9th July 2020 @ 8:21am

I'll worry about Gareth Bale, you focus on goals: Pablo Zabaleta issues rallying call to Manchester City for Tottenham tie

I'll worry about Gareth Bale, you focus on goals: Pablo Zabaleta issues rallying call to Manchester City for Tottenham tie

By Dean Wilkins

Despite struggling to rediscover their fluent football and free-scoring ability, Pablo Zabaleta is adamant that Manchester City’s visit to Tottenham will prove fruitful on Sunday.

The Blues are the only Premier League team not to have suffered the bitter taste of defeat this season, but their strike force have so far been unable to find their shooting boots – their forwards have just 16 goals in 16 games.

But after hammering eight past Spurs in their two league clashes last season, the Argentine fullback believes City will be flying high again come Monday.

“Our 5-1 win at White Hart Lane was probably our best performance of the season last year,” Zabaleta told the club’s official website. “We were fantastic from start to finish and the return game was also exciting with Mario’s penalty settling it 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 remained wary of Andre Villas-Boas side’s threat down the flanks and is urging his teammates to cut off the supply line from the wings.

“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.”

And after watching Bale run riot against rivals Manchester United – earning their first Old Trafford win in 23 years – Zabaleta is confident he can come out on top against him.

“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,” he said. “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.”

City sit third in the table, with just two points separating the top three as they begin to pull away from the chasers.

And their visit to White Hart Lane is already being branded as a six-pointer that they cannot afford to lose.

“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,” he said.

“I was surprised they lost at home to Wigan last week, but they have already beaten United away so we know what to expect.”

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