One of the most eye-catching fixtures of the weekend will be played in North London as Tottenham host Manchester City. It will see the hostilities resumes between Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho. Although the rivalry won’t be as fierce as it was in La Liga, due to the different levels that they are operating in. It is a game that both teams can’t afford to lose, with neither having positive momentum. The Premier League title is out of their grasp, but both managers will want to finish the campaign strongly and compete in cup competitions.
Tottenham have had a relatively busy week, which has seen players arrive and leave the club. Steven Bergwijn is the major addition and he is expected to be included in the squad on Sunday. There has been frustration regarding their search for a striker and the failure to bring one in will increase the pressure on Son Heung-min and Dele Alli to provide the goals. The aim for Spurs is to put pressure on Chelsea in 4th position. The Blues have a difficult trip to Leicester on Saturday and Spurs will know the result of that by the time their game kicks off. That may give them extra motivation.
Manchester City managed to qualify for the final of the Carabao Cup, as they attempt to retain the trophy. However, on the night, they lost to Manchester United for a second time this season, underlining their inconsistency. It is hoped that the return of Aymeric Laporte will go a long way to improving the ahead of the Champions League this month. That will now be City’s focus. This weekend is a big game, but the result is unlikely to mean much for their Premier League season. That said, they will still be desperate to get three points and start to build their positive momentum again.
Tottenham have managed to keep only two clean sheets from 17 matches across all competitions since Jose Mourinho was appointed.
Kevin de Bruyne averages an assist every 180 minutes in the Premier League. This is the best average for a player with 20 assists or more in the history of the competition.
Last season will feel like a long time ago for Tottenham supporters, but their matches with Manchester City were dominated by Son Heung-min. The South Korean was excellent in both Champions League matches, playing a key role in their eventual victory. He scored three goals across the tie and was a constant threat throughout. City can be vulnerable to quick counter attacks and Son’s direct style makes him a very difficult player to go up against. Jose Mourinho will look to set up and frustrate Manchester City on Sunday, in a similar fashion to how he approached matches against Pep Guardiola in Spain. However, he will understand the importance of offering a threat on the break, especially against a team lacking confidence at the back. The forward hasn’t been explosive under Mourinho, but goals in his last two games suggest he could be coming into form at the right time.
Sergio Aguero lives for the big matches and he will be relishing his opportunity against a poor Tottenham defence. The Argentine has been excellent since his recent return from injury, with eight goals in his last six matches. Although he played in the week, it will be difficult for Guardiola to leave him out of the team on Sunday. Aguero is one of the best strikers in the history of the Premier League. This season, he is now averaging a goal every 69.5 minutes, which is remarkable. He is showing no signs of slowing down and a big reason for that is the way he is managed. If he maintains his recent form and stays fit, he is the favourite to win the golden boot, despite Jamie Vardy’s excellent start to the season. Tottenham will be very afraid of the damage that he could do. That is why he needs to start.
As stated above, Steven Bergwijn is expected to be part of the squad and could make his debut on Sunday. However, Tottenham are still without Moussa Sissoko, Harry Kane and Ben Davies. Lucas Moura will be hoping for a good showing, with his place coming under threat by the new signing.
Aymeric Laporte is being managed carefully following his return from injury. He will be assessed ahead of this weekend. Benjamin Mendy won’t be available. Meanwhile, Leroy Sane gets closer to a return, but this game will come too soon for him.
Manchester City failed to win the reverse fixture, despite a Tottenham’s struggles under Mauricio Pochettino at the beginning of the season. They may be looking to make up for that with a dominant performance on Sunday. It will be an interesting game to watch, as City are vulnerable on the counter attack. A big reason for their inability to compete with Liverpool is their unbalanced defence. It will need to be addressed in the summer, but the return of Laporte will help. Despite their inconsistency, City remain the overwhelming favourites to win this weekend.
Tottenham 1-3 Manchester City