Two debuts, Son replaced, Arsenal blow - Tottenham get Man City Premier League dilemma verdict

Tottenham captain Son Heung-Min

Arsenal fans love to sing about the time they won the league at White Hart Lane (or words to that effect). They cannot be crowned champions at the home of their rivals this time round, but Mikel Arteta's men could do with a big favour.

The trip to Tottenham has been circled on the calendar for Manchester City for weeks. When it was rescheduled into the last mid-week of the season it set up a blockbuster.

The narrative is overflowing, the stakes are as big as can be. The sense of dread from Spurs fans is palpable. Win (or even draw) and leave the title for Arsenal to sweep up, or lose and have what vague hopes of finishing in the top four there were left extinguished.

It's a moral dilemma of the highest order, but not one Ange Postecoglou is keen to be drawn into. "I think I have been really consistent and I think really strong in my beliefs that it is important for this football club to get to where they want to," he said. "To A) not look for some silver bullet that is going to get us to where we want.

"It is hard work, it is perseverance, it is resilience, it is quality that will get us where we want. Not to fall for any sort of false dawns or short-term result reactions. Stick to the course. Thirdly, know what real success looks like.

"Real success looks like trophies. Anything else in between, bragging rights, whatever it is, it is absolutely meaningless to me, to anyone involved with me. We have a game tomorrow we want to win."

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Some fans online certainly don't feel the same way, and with the top four all but gone after Aston Villa's draw to Liverpool, handing Arsenal a chance to be crowned league winners would be even worse than missing out on the Champions League being confirmed. Is it that straight forward though?

Here, writers give their view on how all three teams with a horse in this race will be looking at the match.

Tom Coley

What a situation we have here. Just a few weeks ago it looked like Arsenal really might be poised to take advantage of this match. They have done their bit, granted, but Tottenham's recent collapse and inevitable form of Manchester City has given genuine credence to the argument that some supporters might want to lose.

How to play it off? Spurs have injury troubles and are in bad form. Can Postecoglou hand debuts to some young players across the squad? How much would Alfie Dorrington benefit from a first-ever appearance in the senior side, and would that be greater in the long run than trying (and let's be honest, probably failing) to get into the top four still?

The same with Dane Scarlett. He played 15 minutes off the bench against Burnley, a first league start and full debut isn't ridiculous if it gets Son Heung-Min into his preferred winger spot. This wouldn't be waving a white flag, rather showing ambition and fight in a different way.

Remember, just weeks ago Chelsea with three academy graduates (albeit more experienced) beat Spurs at home. Tottenham can't give up in this game but will the motivation really be there? It's not to question the integrity of the group, Postecoglou certainly wouldn't allow that, but from a fan perspective, it's clear to see why the bigger picture and Arsenal come into play.

The best way around it is to ignore the game entirely! Find a film to watch, go for an evening stroll, read a book. It's too complex to spend that long thinking about because any outcome for Tottenham will be far from ideal in some ways.

Isaac Seelochan

Tottenham can't afford to take it easy against Man City, even if it ends up handing their north London rivals the title. Whilst it remains a tall order for Spurs to get into the top four, Aston Villa's form has collapsed meaning there is a good chance of them losing away at in-form Crystal Palace on the final day.

If Spurs beat City and Villa lose at Selhurst Park then Ange Postecoglou's team will have an excellent opportunity to leap above them in the table when they travel to relegated Sheffield United. The Blades have conceded a Premier League record 101 goals this season, meaning Villa's superior goal difference could soon slip away if Spurs were to win big at Brammal Lane.

The reality is that Tottenham may not get a better chance to secure Champions League football with both Manchester United and Chelsea enduring such wretched seasons. There is also the threat of Newcastle bouncing back under Eddie Howe next term to compete for a top-four finish.

There is always the risk that Spurs win their next two games and still miss out on a place in Europe's elite competition on goal difference, whilst seeing their rivals being crowned champions. However, Postecoglou's side need to have the belief that they will get into the top four and have no regrets when the season finishes.

Jack Flintham

While it will be difficult for Tottenham fans to see Arsenal potentially win the Premier League thanks to a helping hand from their team, there is something incredibly unambitious about rolling over to stop your rivals from gaining success. Ange Postecoglou was right that all the talk about benefitting or hindering the Gunners tonight is meaningless, Spurs should only be caring about one thing - themselves.

Let's not forget that their season is not over yet. A win tonight will move them to within two points of Aston Villa meaning there is still a realistic chance that Champions League football could be secured for next season.

I do wonder what message it would send about Tottenham if they allowed themselves to be easily beaten by Manchester City when there is still something on the line. It certainly wouldn't show to potential summer acquisitions that they are a team with the ambition of battling out with the elite clubs in Europe.

Forget about Arsenal's title hopes, this game is solely about doing what is right for Spurs.

Jake Stokes

They should just roll over. While Tottenham will almost certainly remain professional and put up a fight against Manchester City, bagging Champions League qualification just isn't worth the years of torment from Arsenal supporters.

When we're all old and grey, no Spurs fan will tell their grandchildren about the time they finished in the top four after a two-year hiatus. It's nothing necessarily special – even for the Lilywhites.

It's harsh, but it's true. Don't get me wrong, what Ange Postecoglou has done so far is special. He's building something exciting, and he'll probably get his hands on some silverware soon to properly mark his tenure.

But, Champions League qualification is nothing compared to the bragging rights that Arsenal fans will have over their north London rivals if they win the title – especially to arguably one of the league's greatest teams.

Surely Spurs supporters would rather Manchester City win the title? It's that simple. Just roll over Tottenham, it’s not worth the pain. From a very worried Chelsea fan…

Tom Canton

Full clarity, as an Arsenal fan of course I am going to want Tottenham to play a full-strength side to try and win. However, shouldn't they anyway?

Your love of your club should never be outweighed by your bitterness toward a rival, that’s the staple requirement of supporting a team – your club over anything else. Tottenham can indeed still reach the Champions League places and equally they could still drop out of the top six meaning there is plenty of incentive to try and get a result.

It would completely suck to see Arsenal win the league from a Spurs perspective, I understand that as it would be the other way around, but let’s tear ourselves away from the thirty-second clips of controversial fan opinions and be sensible for a second, you should want your team to win if there is rewards to be earned from it. I might have sympathy if there was nothing on the line, but the fact remains there is.

Altogether now then… “Come on you…” No, can’t do it, won’t do it. “Come on you Man City. Draw or loss please.” That’s better.

Josh Holland

Anyone that is under the impression that Tottenham will simply ‘roll over’ against Man City tonight is living under a rock. Professional, international footballers will not take a defeat just to stop their rivals from winning the league.

Postecoglou’s response to the question in his press conference spoke volumes and that attitude is expected to be reflected on to the players. And after Aston Villa failed to beat Liverpool, Champions League football is still a possibility.

Spurs have the chance to make a huge statement at the top of the Premier League and for themselves going forward. Defeating one of the best teams the league has ever seen would be huge I fully expect Tottenham to give City a tough game and whatever will happen, will happen.

If Spurs win, Arsenal won’t be champions because of their north London rivals, it’ll be because of their unbelievable season.