This week sees Manchester City host Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League. It will be a fascinating fixture, as both clubs lost their respective local derbies. For the home side, they are now trailing Arsenal by eight points. They need to win on Thursday. Meanwhile, Spurs are now five points off the top four. Another loss for them will put a major dent into their Champions League hopes. Neither side will have a lot of confidence, which should make for an interesting contest.
Manchester City have been in this position before under Pep Guardiola. They have turned around similar points deficits to lift the league title. If they are to do the same this year, they need to massively improve their performance level. They have become easy to play against and their vulnerability to a counter attack is an issue. In previous seasons, they have lost matches to Tottenham for similar reasons. Guardiola will know exactly how Spurs are going to set up. It is up to his side to ensure they don’t drop points again.
There is a weird atmosphere around Tottenham at the moment. Antonio Conte doesn’t seem happy at the club and rumours about his long term future remain. Unless the club are together, they are unlikely to challenge with the best teams in the league. Injuries haven’t helped them during recent fixtures, but some blame needs to be given to Antonio Conte. They are tactically inflexible and teams know how to defeat them with relative ease. Unless they improve on Thursday, a loss is very likely.
Manchester City have dropped points in two of their four matches since the World Cup ended.
In three of their four Premier League matches since the break, Tottenham have conceded twice. That is unsustainable if they are to finish in the top four.
There are beginning to be some questions asked about Erling Haaland’s place in the team. Some believe that his presence is having a negative impact on Manchester City, due to his weaknesses out of possession. It seems incredible for there to be doubts about a player that has already reached 20 goals for the season, but the standards are so high for players in the Manchester City team. This should be a good opportunity for the Norwegian to remind the world of his ability. Tottenham have been weak at the back in recent weeks. There will be chances for Haaland to add to his goal tally for the season. With 21 goals and three assists, it has been an excellent start to life in England. If this season is to be a successful one for Manchester City, they need their striker to maintain that impressive scoring rate.
If Haaland wasn’t playing in the Premier League this season, a lot more attention would be going in Harry Kane’s direction. He is having an excellent season, despite Tottenham’s recent struggles. The England captain has contributed 15 goals and one assists. Although he trails Haaland, he is playing in a worse team and he has emerged as his team’s chief creator. One assist may not look great, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. Kane is often needed to drop deep to help create openings for Spurs. There is a lack of creativity within the squad, therefore the striker’s goal return is highly impressive. There were concerns about his mentality following his penalty miss against France in Qatar. However, he has bounced back well with some fantastic displays for his club. City will be wary about the threat posed by Kane.
Kevin de Bruyne missed training on Tuesday, so he is a doubt for the match on Thursday. John Stones and Ruben Dias are both back in training. However, their availability for this fixture is unknown.
Rodrigo Bentancur could be back involved for Tottenham, which would be a huge boost. Richarlison and Dejan Kulusevski will be available for the away side.
Manchester City are the overwhelming favourites to win. Despite their own patchy form, Tottenham are in a far worse situation under Conte. It doesn’t look like it is a happy camp and it is difficult to see them being able to substantially improve for the match against Manchester City. Spurs have historically done well in this fixture, but they are probably going to lose on Thursday.
Manchester City 3-1 Tottenham