Neither Tottenham nor Manchester City have much to play for at White Hart Lane, with the hosts still four points behind fourth-placed Manchester United even if they win this game, and the visitors two ahead of their neighbours going into the match.
The 2013/14 champions could be deposed by kick off if Chelsea beat Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge, which they ought too, and whether Manuel Pellegrini survives the summer or not, it’s hard to see the Chilean lasting much longer than the end of next term.
There’s no sign of a long-term project at the Etihad under Pellegrini, but Mauricio Pochettino will be clearing out the deadwood in north London this summer, with recent reports suggesting the Argentine wants to find new homes for nine of his first-team squad.
A couple more have been added since in the forms of Andros Townsend and Erik Lamela, meaning a whole team’s worth could be shipped out of White Hart Lane before the start of September.
Pochettino has stuck with a core of players in recent weeks, when injuries have been kind to Spurs, which includes established stars Hugo Lloris, Jan Vertonghen, Danny Rose and Kyle Walker, relatively-new signings Nacer Chadli, Christian Eriksen, Eric Dier and Federico Fazio, and academy graduates Harry Kane, Ryan Mason and Nabil Bentaleb.
These 11 look safe, although Spurs may have a job hanging on to both Lloris and Vertonghen, but there’s clearly imbalance in midfield, where Pochettino would clearly love Morgan Schneiderlin, who he worked with at Southampton, to fill the gap.
Benjamin Stambouli, despite only being brought in from Montpellier last summer for £4m, was on the list of nine in the Evening Standard’s story a fortnight ago, but the stats suggest he deserves a chance to show Pochettino his worth.
Spurs have won seven and lost just one of the ten Premier League games Stambouli has featured in, four of them starts, so the manager’s recent benching of the former Ligue 1 winner may be somewhat short-sighted.
Another Lilywhites fringe player who should be thrown in from the off is DeAndre Yedlin, the 21-year-old USA international who moved from Seattle Sounders in January.
Yedlin has been kicking his heels on the bench since an 11th-minute debut in the 1-0 home loss to Aston Villa last month, but the speedy American’s presence alone gave the crowd something to enjoy on a dreary afternoon. He could fire up the fans, who have been restless of late, against City.