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City v Spurs - Media view with John Murray of the BBC

Fri 20 January 2017, 14:00|Tottenham Hotspur

One of the most familiar voices on the radio, John Murray has graced the airwaves for over 20 years, commentating on the biggest football matches on the domestic, European and world stage. Who better, therefore, to run the rule over our huge match against Manchester City on Saturday?

john_murrayJohn Murray
Football correspondent, BBC

You've seen plenty of Spurs and City this season John, what are your thoughts on this game?
John: "I’m not sure if it’s a good time or bad time for Tottenham to go to Manchester City. I just expect a reaction from Manchester City at some stage. It’s certainly a good time for Spurs in terms of confidence and we all know how important confidence is in football. Tottenham’s confidence is right up there, Manchester City’s confidence has obviously taken a bit of a hit.

"I think a really big match in Manchester City’s season was losing at home to Chelsea. I was there that day commentating and there really wasn’t much in it, it was fine lines, but because of the way it turned out (Chelsea won 3-1 in December) it was such a huge result both in terms of the confidence it gave Chelsea and the affect on City’s confidence.

Below: Mauricio Pochettino and Pep Guardiola


"I’ve seen plenty of Manchester City this season and at times they’ve played some brilliant stuff - the way they came back at home against Barcelona (3-1 win in November) in the Champions League, some of the football they played in the Nou Camp as well (lost 4-0 in October), they really went toe-to-toe with them. You can never underestimate Pep Guardiola or Manchester City’s forward line for that matter, they are always minutes away from ticking. I love De Bruyne, he's one of the best to watch in the Premier League, Silva as well and if it’s Aguero’s day...that’s a danger as well. I’ve read articles about him being a flat-trick bully, that’s perhaps not what Tottenham want before they go to City, it’s almost a red rag to a bull!

"At the same time, Tottenham have the confidence and I remember after the Chelsea match (2-0 win, January 4) how Mauricio Pochettino said the team had to keep up that same intensity until the end of the season. They were able to do that against West Brom and dominated that game from start to finish. It’s a contrast of confidence, really."

Below: Sergio Aguero


You were commentating for Five Live for our 4-0 win against West Brom last weekend - what did you think of our performance?
John: "You think of the massive effort that the team put in against Chelsea and after a performance like that, you think ‘okay, let’s see what happens in the next game’ and they were able to carry on that intensity against West Brom and I think that’s a great sign. It’s not an easy thing to do, it’s a big ask, but you feel after what happened at the end of last season that we can safely say that any hangover has gone now and the team has recovered the best form we saw last season."

Below: Our players celebrate the opener against West Brom last weekend


What are the key areas for this match at the Etihad? Where might it be won or lost?
John: "You have to say defensively, because there are so many questions at the moment about Manchester City and the way they are conceding goals - and obviously Kane and Alli are coming into the match in fine form. Manchester City will be very wary of Dele Alli, what he can do and where he’s playing at the moment in that more advanced role. Guardiola will definitely be looking at that. There are questions over Manchester City’s defence. Will they look to play three central defenders against Spurs and try to match them? Will it be a back four? Who will be the full-backs? Contrast that with Spurs, you just about know who is going to play, they are settled. I must also mention that we may well see Gabriel Jesus (new signing from Palmeiras) playing for Manchester City and that could bring them something different. I’ve seen a bit of him and he’s clearly going to be a very good player."

Below: John Stones


Finally John, what is it like commentating on these big matches in the Premier League?
John: "Matches like this often just look after themselves. They are very intense and that makes for an intense commentary. You can’t take your eyes off it. Even a match like the first meeting between Liverpool and Manchester United earlier in the season, even though it was a poor match, because it’s two heavyweights, two title contenders, you get caught up in the intensity of it.

"From a commentator’s point of view, it doesn’t matter where you are going, there are only 90 minutes and only so many things you can fit into a commentary, obviously describing the game is the key element. You also have a summariser to work with and want to get the best out of them. You have to get all the elements in and that’s a challenge in itself but what I can say, whatever the game, you always very much feel the same excitement as the fans."

Manchester City's guide for away fans, 2016-17