Reigning champions Manchester City will face their first big test of the 2019-20 Premier League campaign, as they take on Tottenham Hotspur this weekend.
Manchester City will be aiming to make it two wins in two matches, when they go head to head against fellow Premier League title challengers Tottenham Hotspur at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday evening.
Manchester City made a triumphant start to the new campaign, beating Liverpool in the FA Community Shield. The Cityzens then kicked off the defence of their Premier League title in style, thrashing a strong West Ham United side 5-0 with comfort.
And in what will be a huge test against a fellow ‘Big Six’ team on Saturday, Pep Guardiola will be hoping that his team stay on course and continue with their impressive start to the new season.
Tottenham, on the other hand, rallied late to register a comeback 3-1 win against newly-promoted Aston Villa in their opening fixture, having fallen behind early in the game. Ahead of such a crucial clash so early in the season, manager Mauricio Pochettino will want his players to be at their best and not give an inch to their opponents.
Spurs have tasted defeats in their previous two visits to the Etihad Stadium, which came in a period of three days in April earlier this year. They will be aiming to set that straight when they take the field against the Premier League champions this weekend.
Team News & Tactics
Manchester City will continue to be without the services of German speedster Leroy Sane, who is set to undergo a surgery after suffering an ACL injury. Left-back Benjamin Mendy also remains sidelined as he continues his rehabilitation after a lengthy spell on the sidelines. Fernandinho though, is fit and should be available for selection on Saturday.
Guardiola is unlikely to make many alterations to the side that dispatched West Ham with ease last weekend. Ederson Moraes is a guaranteed presence between the sticks, while Kyle Walker’s impressive display in the last game should seal his place at right-back ahead of summer signing Joao Cancelo.
Oleksandr Zinchenko should continue to keep new arrival Angelino out of the lineup at left-back while the star centre-back duo of John Stones and Aymeric Laporte will be tasked with keeping the dangerous Harry Kane under wraps on Saturday.
Despite Fernandinho’s return to full fitness, club record signing Rodri is expected to continue in the holding midfield role. Kevin De Bruyne has begun the new campaign on a strong note and should start again. Captain David Silva though could make way for Bernardo Silva, owing to the latter’s work-rate which would come in handy against an energetic Spurs midfield.
Riyad Mahrez impressed heavily in the game against West Ham and should be rewarded with another start on the right wing. Raheem Sterling will be stationed on the left flank, after bagging a hat-trick last week, while Sergio Aguero could be recalled into the starting lineup in place of Gabriel Jesus, owing to his exceptional track record against Tottenham.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Ederson; Walker, Stones, Laporte, Zinchenko; De Bruyne, Rodri, Bernardo Silva; Mahrez, Aguero, Sterling
Tottenham have a number of injury and suspension concerns to contend with heading into the big game against the champions. Midfielder Dele Alli is out with an injury, as is defender Juan Foyth and summer signing Ryan Sessegnon. Son Heung-min will serve out the last of his three-match suspension, while Ben Davies is closing in on a return, but is unlikely to be involved this weekend.
Deadline day loan signing Giovani Lo Celso has trained with the team and could make his Premier League debut, albeit from the bench. Seasoned defender Jan Vertonghen is in contention for selection after being surprisingly omitted from the opening day fixture against Aston Villa.
Hugo Lloris is a certainty to feature between the sticks for Tottenham, while the defence is unlikely to be tinkered with either, meaning Kyle Walker-Peters, Toby Alderweireld, Davinson Sanchez and Danny Rose all holding on to their spots on Saturday.
Pochettino is likely to field a midfield diamond against Manchester City with Harry Winks at the base, flanked on either side by the energetic Moussa Sissoko and new signing Tanguy Ndombele, who made a goal-scoring debut against Villa. At the tip of the diamond will be star playmaker Christian Eriksen, whose introduction turned the tie in Spurs’ favour last weekend.
Harry Kane bagged a brace against Villa and will want to add more to his tally at the Etihad. He will be partnered by Brazilian attacker Lucas Moura in Tottenham’s attack on Saturday.
Probable Lineup (4-1-2-1-2): Lloris; Walker-Peters, Alderweireld, Sanchez, Rose; Winks; Sissoko, Ndombele; Eriksen; Moura, Kane
1. Both Teams to Score – YES @ 1.80
2. Tottenham Asian Handicap +1.5 @ 1.900
1. Full Time Result – Draw @ 5.25
- Manchester City have won their last four Premier League matches against Tottenham Hotspur – they have never won five league games in a row against the North Londoners.
- Tottenham have managed to collect just four points from their last nine Premier League visits to the Etihad Stadium against Manchester City (W1 D1 L7).
- Manchester City are unbeaten in their previous 24 home league matches in a top-flight season. The last time they tasted an opening day defeat on their own backyard was against Southampton in 1989-90.
- Spurs lost their last six away Premier League matches of the 2018-19 season – they haven’t lost seven in a row since December 2000 under George Graham.
- Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero has scored 96 Premier League goals at the Etihad Stadium. One more will see him go joint-third with Alan Shearer and St James’ Park for most Premier League goals scored at a specific stadium.
Player to Watch
After a sensational 2018-19 campaign, the England international has made a blazing start to the new season. Sterling bagged a goal in the FA Community Shield clash against his former club Liverpool earlier this month and was the star of the show as Manchester City routed West Ham United in their Premier League opener last weekend, bagging a terrific hat-trick.
Sterling relishes playing against Tottenham – the winger has been directly involved in six goals in his last six games for City against their weekend’s opponents in all competitions. He has scored four times in his last three appearances against the Lilywhites at the Etihad Stadium. Judging by his early-season form and his record against Spurs, Sterling will be the man to watch out on Saturday.
Manchester City 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur
Manchester City made a strong start to their title defence with a resounding win against West Ham. Their recent record against Tottenham is extremely impressive. Spurs recovered strongly after an early stutter to pick up three points against Aston Villa. However, their recent away record doesn’t make for a good reading as they have lost all of their last six games on the road.
Moreover, Guardiola and his squad will have the extra motivation of exacting revenge for their Champions League semi-final exit at the hands of Pochettino’s side last season. It promises to be a tightly-contested match at the Etihad on Saturday, but we at The Hard Tackle are tipping Manchester City to come out on top and take all three points.