This match contains two of the sides that will be battling in the top six as the season progresses, however, their season aims will differ slightly. Manchester City will still fancy themselves as potential title challengers, while Tottenham will only be looking at a Champions League place, despite being above Sunday’s opponents at the moment. It will be crucial for both teams to get a positive result after defeats before the international break. It should be an entertaining match as both sides like to get the ball down and play good football. The season is moving into a crucial period over the next two months and both teams will want to start accelerating before the new year.
Manchester City have had an inconsistent start to the season. Their home form has been outstanding, but they are struggling on the road. They have won all of their home league games to date, meanwhile they have only taken four points from six fixtures away from the City of Manchester Stadium. If they want to be serious title challengers this season, then they will have to start winning matches away from home soon, as they won’t be challenging on home form alone. They also need to have a settled core of six or seven players to grow consistency. At the moment, there aren’t many players who automatically get on Manuel Pellegrini’s team sheet, and this needs to change. The absence of Vincent Kompany for large patches of the season so far has also really hit City hard.
Tottenham have, like City, had an indifferent start to the season. They have been consistent both home and away taking ten points at White Hart Lane and also ten on their travels. Their main problem has been scoring goals, managing only 9 all season, with 3 coming from the penalty spot. After spending £100m+ in the summer, they still haven’t managed to fill the hole left by Gareth Bale when it comes to scoring goals and creating opportunities for other players. They have got the second best defence in the league though, conceding only six goals, which is only one more than Southampton. Their players will be starting to get used to each other and their form in the coming weeks should reflect that.
In last season’s match, the hosts ran out 2-1 winners with Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko inspiring a second half comeback after falling behind to Steven Caulker’s goal in the first half. Meanwhile, in the 2011/12 season, City also won but the scoreline was 3-2. Samir Nasri, Joleon Lescott and Mario Balotelli netted for the home side while Jermain Defoe and Gareth Bale scored for Spurs. The last two matches between these sides in Manchester produced goals and we could see the same this weekend. Surely Spurs have to start scoring soon, and Manchester City will always score a few at home. In their last match, they put 7 past Norwich. They won’t score that many this time, but it shows their danger at home.
Manchester City are now in their lowest position (8th) in the Premier League since August 2010, also after a 1-0 loss to Sunderland. Interestingly, City have lost to Sunderland 1-0 on their last four visits to the Stadium of Light.
Tottenham have only scored 9 goals this season. Only two Premier League teams have scored less. Their opponents on Sunday are the highest scoring team in the league. Manchester City have scored 19 more goals than Spurs so far.
Yaya Toure will pose huge problems for Spurs on Sunday. He has played every minute of Premier League football for Manchester City so far this season, which highlights his importance to the team. He has also made the most passes in the league (909) which is over a hundred more than Aaron Ramsey who has made the second most amount of passes. Toure has a passing accuracy of 91.75% which is highly impressive. You could argue that the Ivorian has been the most important player in the City team over the last two or three seasons as he offers leadership, heart, goals and assists. His dangerous runs from midfield will trouble any defence in the league and they will no doubt cause Spurs problems on Sunday. In the absence of David Silva, he now has more responsibility going forward, as many will look to him to create and take chances. He has scored five goals already this campaign and he will be keen to add to that on Sunday.
Paulinho has been one of the better Spurs signings so far, but there is still plenty of room for improvement over the coming weeks. He is an attacking central midfielder who hasn’t been taking the chances that have been coming his way, which is part of the reason that Tottenham have only scored 9 goals to date. Paulinho has scored one of those. The Brazilian has taken a shot once every 35 minutes, while striker Roberto Soldado has only taken a shot once every 40 minutes. He needs to start scoring on a more regular basis to justify a place in the team; he has missed an incredible six clear cut chances without scoring one. However, he does offer Andre Villas-Boas a useful outlet from midfield as he will always cause problems with his movement in the final third. He has an incredible ability to find space and he will need to be on form if Spurs are to take anything from Sunday’s match.
Both Stevan Jovetic (calf) and Fernandinho (knock) are doubts for the match on Sunday. David Silva (calf) and Vincent Kompany (thigh) are both expected to miss out but they are close to returning to action. Pellegrini has backed Joe Hart this week after his display for England against Germany but he is still expected to be on the bench with Costel Pantilimon continuing in goal. Majija Nastasic will be available for selection after injury.
Christian Eriksen has been ruled out for around a month with an ankle injury which he picked up over the international break. Spurs could be boosted by the return of Danny Rose this weekend as he edges closer to fitness. Hugo Lloris will be back in goal after sitting out of the loss to Newcastle with concussion. The Frenchman played both World Cup qualifiers for his country over the break. Nacer Chadli is also nearing a return to first team action after his hamstring problems.
I think Manchester City will win this one, but it won’t be comfortable. Spurs are struggling to score goals but I think they will score on Sunday. Eventually one team will be on the end of a hammering from Tottenham but I don’t expect it to be City. Pellegrini’s side are just too strong at home and Spurs won’t be able to deal with their pace in attack, especially with the high line that they play. The home side will miss David Silva but they should still have enough to take three points on Sunday.
2-1 Manchester City win