Tottenham will be looking to show that they are ready to compete with the very best on Saturday, as they host Manchester City. Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho will be continuing their long standing rivalry, albeit not in the same way as they did previously, with some of the competitiveness being lost. That said, Mourinho managed to get one over on the Spaniard last season, with Spurs running out 2-0 winners in this fixture. On that day, Steven Bergwijn and Son Heung-min scored the goals.
It has been an excellent start to the season for Tottenham, with the team currently in 2nd position in the early Premier League table. Mourinho will be pleased, but he will also be ruing the points dropped to Newcastle United and West Ham United. On both occasions, Spurs threw it away in the final stages of the game. They will need to be more ruthless if they want to maintain their position at the top of the division. Saturday’s match will be a good test of how far along they are in the journey. Although they won this fixture last season, it was seen as a smash and grab, rather than a display of dominance. Supporters will expect a more complete performance this time.
Manchester City will be looking ahead to a brighter future, following the news that Pep Guardiola has extended his current contract. It was set to expire at the end of the season, but he has signed on for an additional two years. This should have a calming impact on the squad as it was beginning to become a distraction. 12 points from seven matches isn’t great, but it keeps them in touching distance of top spot. They are currently six points behind Leicester City with a game in hand. Due to Liverpool’s injury record, City have once emerged as many people’s favourites to win the title. This will be a huge test against one of the best attacking teams of the season so far.
Son Heung-Min has scored four goals in his last four matches against Manchester City.
Manchester City have drawn three of their last five matches in the Premier League. This is as many as they had in their previous 70 matches in the competition.
The South Korean will be even more important this weekend, due to the style of the opposition. Manchester City will look to dominate the ball, but they can be caught on the counter attack. One of the common occurrences of the early part of the season was Harry Kane dropping into midfield and launching over the top through balls to Son. This could be a pattern of play that can have some real success against Pep Guardiola’s men. This season is shaping up to be his best in the Premier League with eight goals and two assists in the Premier League already. Jose Mourinho has been seen as a defensive coach throughout his career, but he is building an excellent attacking team in North London. Only Chelsea have scored more in the league this season and Son has been central to that. His recent record against Manchester City will give him confidence.
Kevin de Bruyne will be arriving back in England with a point to prove after his missed penalty against Liverpool. That moment could prove costly come the end of the season, but it will serve as motivation in the short term and Tottenham could be on the receiving end. It has been a slow start to the season for the Belgian international due to injury and fatigue, but he has still managed to contribute a goal and three assists in the Premier League. In the eyes of many, he is the best player in the division and he will be looking to show that again in a big game. Despite the missed penalty against Liverpool, he was the most effective player on the pitch in a City shirt. Every team will know that he is the player to stop, but that doesn’t make it any easier to do.
Matt Doherty has tested positive for COVID-19, which means that Serge Aurier will play against Manchester City. Erik Lamela will be missing, but Tanguy Ndombele and Steven Bergwijn.
Sergio Aguero and Fernandinho are both set to miss out for the visitors. Raheem Sterling didn’t feature for England, but it is hoped that he will be back to start this weekend.
This will see the renewal of the Mourinho vs Guardiola rivalry. It is rare for Mourinho to go into a fixture between the two as the favourite, but Tottenham have been the better team so far this season. They need to prove themselves against the very best, but the signs are very promising for Tottenham. This weekend should see a very entertaining contest. I’d expect goals, with Manchester City the likely winners, despite the improvement of Spurs.
Manchester City 2-3 Tottenham