The biggest fixture of the weekend sees two of the traditional top six facing off in Manchester, as City welcome Tottenham to town. In the earlier meeting this season, Spurs managed to pick up three points, but it is extremely difficult to see a similar result on Saturday. The home side are in excellent form and look to be in the middle of one of their incredible winning runs. Meanwhile, Spurs have lost three successive Premier League matches, with their top four hopes in tatters.
Although the title hasn’t yet been clinched, City will feel like they are in a great position to retain the Premier League. Their recent form has been excellent and they look capable of winning multiple trophies again this season. During the week, they didn’t play at their best, but they still managed to win 5-0 away from home in the Champions League. Their rivals will be worried that they could be reaching their free-flowing best. After their defeat in North London earlier in the season, they will be hoping to inflict revenge.
Three defeats a row have dented Tottenham’s Champions League hopes, but they remain in the race. They have games in hand over Wolves, West Ham and Manchester United. At the time of writing, they are seven points behind Manchester United. As a result, they can’t approach this weekend as a free hit. They need to go to the Etihad Stadium and try to win the game. Their defensive concerns will make that difficult, as it seems impossible to see them managing to keep a clean sheet like they did on the opening day. Conte will have to conjure up a tactical masterclass if his team are to cause a surprise result.
Manchester City have scored first in 19 Premier League games. They have won all of these matches.
Tottenham have lost three successive Premier League matches on two occasions this season. It is the first time this has happened since the 2004-5 season.
The Belgian international has managed to stay fit and he is now starting to look the fittest he has in a long time. De Bruyne is one of the first names on the team-sheet and will start the majority of matches for the rest of the campaign, as long as he is fit. There will be an occasional rest, but he should be in the team this weekend. Despite being one of the most creative players in the league, it has been his goal-scoring that has caught the eye. He has contributed seven goals and just two assists in the league, with a goal involvement every 131.9 minutes. In the last nine matches across all competitions, he has got three goals and six assists, showing that he is at his best. He only failed to register a goal contribution in one match during this run. Tottenham have had their struggles defensively in recent weeks. De Bruyne will cause them a lot of problems if he does start this weekend.
There is only one player that Manchester City will be seriously worried about and that is Son Heung-min. The South Korean has an excellent record against Pep Guardiola’s side, with his pace and direct running in behind causing them a lot of issues down the years. Despite their excellent defensive record, City can still be vulnerable to counter attacks and Son has the quality to inflict damage when he gets into space in the final third. He has scored seven times against City over the years, but a lot of those strikes have come in recent times. Son has scored three times in the last four Premier League matches against the current champions. In the earlier meeting this season, he scored the winner. In the last few weeks, Son has looked like he is still rebuilding his match fitness after injury, but he will be the one that City fear.
Gabriel Jesus is approaching a return to action. Jack Grealish and Cole Palmer remain on the sidelines. There could be some rotation following their Champions League win.
It is hoped that Oliver Skipp and Eric Dier will both be back for Tottenham. After recent performances, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see both brought into the starting eleven. Japhet Tanganga won’t be available.
It has been a frustrating period for Antonio Conte at Tottenham, as he has grown to be unhappy by the situation he has walked into. There are already doubts about his future at the club, but a win over Manchester City would go a long way to papering over the cracks. Unfortunately, the home side are in amazing form and it is difficult to see them dropping points at the Etihad Stadium. City will have too much for Spurs and a fourth successive defeat seems inevitable for Tottenham.
Manchester City 2-0 Tottenham