The stakes couldn’t get much higher as defending champions Manchester City face Tottenham for the 3rd time in recent weeks, with this occasion having significant league implications for both teams.
Manchester City vs Spurs Preview and Prediction
Spurs enter the match with a slim 1 point lead over Arsenal and Chelsea, and a further 3 points over Manchester United, but a defeat at the Etihad has the potential to leave them collapsing to 5th from 3rd place if other results oblige accordingly. Man City meanwhile have the gravitas of the league title’s final hurdles to clear, with this match and the subsequent Manchester derby proving to be the most difficult remaining opponents, which if handled successfully, will leave the Citizens in pole position for another Premier League crown.
Fact of Interest:
- This tie famously is lacking in draws between the two sides; nearly 7 years passed between the goalless draw in August 2010 and the 2-2 draw in January 2017, with the other 16 matches within the same period resulting in 5 wins for Spurs and 11 for Man City.
- Manchester City have the more favourable recent form, having won 4 of the last 5 encounters, including the recent 2nd leg in the Champions League against Spurs this past week at the Etihad.
- Staying at the Citizens home ground, Spurs have won only twice in the last 10 matches at the Etihad, with the last win coming in February 2016.
- Manchester City have won 16 of 17 home league games this season, the best home record in the league. Their 55 goals scored at home is the best scoring record of any home side thus far this season.
- Manchester City have won an incredible 13 games in a row at home in all competitions, 7 of which have come in league competition. Only Liverpool have a longer unbeaten home streak, though they have less consecutive recent home wins.
- Man City have conceded just 3 goals in that 7 game collective. Their last home defeat was the shock 3-2 loss to Crystal Palace in December.
- Spurs have the 3rd best away record in the league, with 11 wins from 17 away games. They’re the only side yet to record an away draw.
- Spurs have scored the most goals away from home thus far this season (33). Only Chelsea have prevented them from scoring at least once in an away match in league competition this season.
- Spurs’ recent away league form is poor, having failed to record a win in their last 4 away matches, and having recorded only 1 away win (Dortmund) in their last 7 games in all competitions.
- This season, Manchester City have a fairly even spread of timing of their goals, with just under 49% coming in the first half of matches. The Citizens are most dangerous just after halftime, with nearly a quarter of their goals scored between 45 and 60 minutes.
- Spurs also have a fairly even spread of their goals scored this season with a larger skew overall (55%) to the second half of matches, and a slight bias (20%) to the final 15 minutes.
- Sergio Aguero has scored 11 goals in 15 matches against Spurs.
- Raheem Sterling has scored 7 goals in 13 matches against Spurs, with 5 of them scored while playing for Man City.
- Heung-min Son has scored 4 goals in 8 matches against Man City.
- Dele Alli has scored 2 goals in 9 matches against Man City.
- Christian Eriksen has scored 5 goals in 14 matches against Man City.
Manchester City have no major concerns beyond fringe players Alex Zinchenko, Fabian Delph and Claudio Bravo. Spurs have a more extensive injury list, the most significant of which is captain and leading scorer Harry Kane, and form midfielder Moussa Sissoko, along with midfielders Eric Dier and Harry Winks.
Expected Line-ups and Tactical Considerations:
Guardiola’s 433 system is considerably matured, and the Spaniard was quick to revert to it after his 4231 away to Spurs in the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinal failed ultimately to deliver a positive result. Instead, it’s more likely Guardiola will seek to apply the attacking pressure once again, given the nearly successful use of both David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne in the dramatic 2nd leg goalfest in midweek in Europe. In the backline, Ederson, Walker, Laporte, an improving Kompany and Mendy should retain their slots. Midfield is likely to start with Gundogan against the anchor inbetween Silva and De Bruyne, but no surprises should be drawn if Fernandinho makes an appearance to assist in midfield later in the match. Upfront, Sterling and Sergio Aguero are once again expected to lead the line to continue their imperious form, while the rotation in recent weeks for Bernardo Silva means Leroy Sane or Riyad Mahrez are more likely to get the start.
Pochettino has tended to use a four man defence to try and manage the Man City attacking threat, and this encounter should be little different. Even though the 2nd leg in midweek wasn’t a tremendously convincing story in defence, Spurs aren’t likely to change up the back five. Lloris should be fronted by Trippier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen and Rose though all will be under pressure to be improved in their efforts. The biggest problem the Spaniard has to solve is the absence of Sissoko in midfield, placing added pressure on the resurgent Wanyama and versatile Dele Alli. Depending on the fitness race for Dier and Winks, Spurs may be forced into a change of shape to 442 or 451 depending on what makes best sense to manage the creativity of the Man City attacking midfield in particular. Upfront, given the injury to talisman Harry Kane, the set up of Christian Eriksen behind Lucas Moura and Heung-min Son has in fact proved substantially valuable given the former’s vision to thread dangerous balls into the gaps exploited by the intelligence of the Korean and the holdup play of the Brazilian. Lastly, Pochettino may reprise his move in midweek to use Fernando Llorente as the man leading the line ahead of a midfield adjusted to compensate for the absence of Sissoko.
Match Facts & Summary
|Head to Head||Man City||Spurs|
|Current Season Record||Played 33, Won 27, Lost 4||Played 33, Won 22, Lost 10|
|Current Season Top Scorers||Aguero (19), Sterling (17)||Kane (17), Son (12), Moura (10)|
|Last 10 Competitive Matches||Man City 5 Wins, 1 Draw, Spurs 4 Wins|
|Last 10 Competitive Matches at Etihad||Man City 7 Wins, 1 Draw, Spurs 2 Wins|
|Last Season’s Result||Man City 4-1 Spurs|
|Odds of Interest (as at 17 Apr)||Man City||Spurs|
|Odds – Result (Draw = 4.80)||0.33||8.66|
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The form of Manchester City at home, especially against Spurs, is an intimidating factor. Now that Spurs managed to eliminate the Citizens from European contention, Guardiola’s men won’t lack for motivation to continue their imperious form, for reasons of revenge and focus. Man City still remain on course to finish with a domestic treble, and they’re unlikely to give that up lightly given that the promised land of the European glory was once again denied to them.
Spurs have much at stake as well. Their slender lead in the top 4 race isn’t conclusive, and this fixture is critical for a positive result given the relative ease of schedule for Arsenal, and the massive match upcoming match between Chelsea and Manchester United may either cause Spurs a headache or relinquish pressure. However, beyond the euphoria of reaching the Champions League semifinal may reside an anticlimactic position where given their injuries, Spurs may ultimately feel short of luck to manage the inevitable backlash from the defending champions following the midweek European drama.
To that end, it’s hard to see past Man City taking all three points once again. Their form is excellent, their squad deep of options, and their emphasis on the league further heightened following their disappointing European exit. That Spurs visit just three days after having been responsible for eliminating the Citizens only further increases the expectation that Man City will take nothing for granted in ensuring swift retribution for their league title challenge.
Please note betting odds quoted are correct at time of publication and are subject to change. View the latest EPL Betting Odds