Manchester City will be keen on returning to winning ways when they travel to London to face Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.
Tottenham Hotspur clearly haven’t had the best of starts in the calendar year of 2020. They have secured only one victory in the Premier League so far this year, which came against struggling Norwich City. As a result, the Lilywhites are now dawdling at seventh place.
And their road to recovery could be made even tougher when they play hosts to Manchester City on Sunday. The defending Premier League champions have also endured a disappointing campaign. But, their overall quality makes them quite a challenging opponent for a Spurs side, who are coming on the back of a 1-1 draw with Southampton in the FA Cup.
Having said that, Manchester City lost to cross-town rivals Manchester United in their last game, in the Carabao Cup, although they eventually advanced to the final due to their overall lead in aggregate. Nevertheless, the Citizens will be keen on returning to winning ways, which could give them the much-needed momentum before the UEFA Champions League resumes later this month.
And here, at the Hard Tackle, we will be running the rule over these two sides ahead of their highly-anticipated encounter at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium this weekend.
Tactics & Team News
Jose Mourinho is likely to have new signing Steven Bergwijn available this weekend. However, he is unlikely to receive a start. Same can be said for Gedson Fernandes, who hasn’t had the best of starts to his Premier League career after initially joining from SL Benfica on loan.
It won’t be surprising to see Mourinho opting for a back-three as it could offer the wing-backs more freedom. Japhet Tanganga is a likely starter due to his recent performances while Jan Vertonghen could get the nod ahead of Davinson Sanchez thanks to his experience. These two could partner the irreplaceable Toby Alderweireld, thus forming three-man backline.
Serge Aurier and Ryan Sessegnon are likely to occupy the wing-back roles. It will be interesting to see how the latter performs, having yet to make a mark in north London since joining the club in the summer.
In midfield, Harry Winks is likely to start ahead of Gedson in the number six role while Moussa Sissoko has been ruled out. The Englishman could be partnered by Dele Alli and Giovani Lo Celso, although Tanguy Ndombele is also an option for Mourinho.
Meanwhile, the Tottenham attack is expected to be led by the offensive duo of Lucas Moura and Son Heung-Min. Bergwijn could later be utilised as a super-sub while Erik Lamela is also an option.
Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Lloris; Tanganga, Alderweireld, Vertonghen; Aurier, Lo Celso, Winks, Alli, Sessegnon; Moura, Son
Pep Guardiola could be boosted by the return of Aymeric Laporte this weekend, though the Frenchman still remains a doubt heading into this fixture. Same can be said for Fernandinho while John Stones is certainly going to start, especially if at least one of these two defenders fail to return to full fitness in time.
Meanwhile, Benjamin Mendy is likely to return to the side. He is set to operate at left-back, with Kyle Walker starting on the opposite flank.
Rodri could be an option in central defence should both Laporte and Fernandinho fail to recover in time. But, the Spaniard is essentially expected to start as a holding midfielder, although Ilkay Gundogan is in line to replace him should he feature as a central defender.
In a more advanced midfield role, Bernardo Silva could be rewarded for his recent performances with a start alongside Kevin De Bruyne, ahead of David Silva.
And finally, Guardiola has no choice but to persist with the wide attacking duo of Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling, especially with Leroy Sane still not ready to return to action. Both of these wingers struggled against Manchester United and will be desperate to perform. The Manchester City attack will be led by Sergio Aguero.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Ederson; Walker, Stones, Fernandinho, Mendy; Bernardo Silva, Rodri, de Bruyne; Mahrez, Aguero, Sterling
- Tottenham are winless in six Premier League games against Manchester City since a 2-0 win in October 2016 at White Hart Lane.
- In all competitions, Manchester City have lost three of their last five away matches against Spurs, losing their most recent game in April 2019 in the UEFA Champions League.
- Manchester City have won their last five Premier League away games in north London against Arsenal and Tottenham – as many as they had in their first 40 such games in the competition. No team has ever won six consecutive top-flight away games against the two sides.
- Only versus Everton (26) have Tottenham won more Premier League matches than they have against Manchester City (23).
- Tottenham have lost two of their six home league matches under Jose Mourinho, as many as they lost in their final 15 home games under Mauricio Pochettino.
Player to Watch
Giovani Lo Celso
Lo Celso has well and truly established himself as a first-team regular for Tottenham Hotspur, after a slow start under Mourinho. In fact, his move was made permanent by the club during the recently concluded January transfer window, which means he is now the designated successor of Christian Eriksen.
With that in mind, Lo Celso certainly has a point to prove and a strong performance against Manchester City could be an ideal way to announce himself to the Tottenham supporters. Guardiola’s side should definitely be careful of Lo Celso’s ability to link up play and find key passes in the final third. Therefore, he is the one worth keeping an eye on, in this fixture.
Tottenham Hotspur 0-2 Manchester City
Tottenham Hotspur have looked poor under Mourinho, of late, especially following the injury of Harry Kane. They have appeared wasteful in front of goal and chances of securing a win against a strong Manchester City side look bleak. Hence, we expect a comfortable 2-0 win for the visitors in this one.