Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino is confident stand-in defender Kevin Wimmer can shackle Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero on Sunday.
Aguero has struggled with injuries this season but is now fit and in hot form, having scored seven goals in his last five matches.
The Argentinian also relishes playing against Spurs. He has found the net 10 times in eight appearances against this weekend’s opponents and scored all four in City’s 4-1 win over Tottenham in 2014.
It means Aguero will be the man to stop again at the Etihad Stadium and the challenge could fall on Wimmer, the Austrian defender who has stepped in for the injured Jan Vertonghen.
Wimmer has looked assured in recent victories over Watford and Norwich but City, and Aguero, will provide an altogether sterner test.
“After playing against Crystal Palace, Colchester, Norwich and Watford, I think he has showed good maturity,” Pochettino said.
“And good communication with Toby Alderweireld and with Eric Dier when we played with Dier at Colchester. He is a very clever player, and has enough quality to play for us.
“Yes it is a big test, but not only for Kevin, but for the team, for the squad. Every time that you challenge one of the best players or teams, it is always a big challenge.
“But it is a collective challenge. They need to feel it is a collective challenge, not an individual one.
“But I understand that is maybe his position, he needs to challenge one of the best strikers in the world.”
Victory over City would see Spurs move four points clear of Manuel Pellegrini’s side on a weekend that could prove pivotal, with Arsenal hosting surprise leaders Leicester earlier on Sunday.
Tottenham can take confidence too from their 4-1 win over the Sky Blues at White Hart Lane in September but Pochettino insists current form is more important than past results.
“The past is not important, the important thing is the level we are at now,” Pochettino said.
“The team believes they can win. This is the most important thing. Now we just need to show we can win.
“We have confidence and trust in ourselves. Football though is football. It is important to show we are better than them but we expect a very tough game because Manchester City have very good players.”