The first weekend back from the international break sees Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City engage in the latest top of the table clash, with the sides sitting a mere two points apart, despite being 5th and 1st respectively. Both sides navigated tricky away trips in midweek for their Champions League responsibilities.
Spurs vs Manchester City Prediction and Preview
With Spurs having won 4 in a row, and Man City one of only 3 unbeaten sides in the league, the match is set as a crucial six-pointer, providing a key statement win in the title marathon to the side bravest and best placed to take the three points.
Fact of Interest:
- Manchester City’s have won the last 2 matches against Spurs, including last season’s setting of this fixture, being a 3-1 win in April 2018.
- 50% of Tottenham’s goals this season have come in the final 15 minutes of each half (25% each).
- Free scoring Manchester City’s goals are spread fairly evenly in matches, with a slight preference (53%) of their goals this season coming in the second half of matches.
- Spurs haven’t conceded a league goal since Knockaert’s 90’ minute consolation goal for Brighton in September 2018. Since then, Spurs have kept a clean sheet for over 270 minutes of league football.
- Manchester City haven’t conceded a league goal since Yedlin’s 30’ minute equalizer for Newcastle in September 2018. Since then, the Citizens have kept a clean sheet for over 500 minutes of league football.
- Harry Kane has scored 2 goals in 7 appearances against Manchester City, but hasn’t scored against them in his last 3 matches, with his last goal coming as an opening penalty in February 2016’s away 2-1 win.
- Christian Eriksen has scored 5 goals in 11 appearances against Manchester City, scoring in both of the last two encounters against the Citizens.
- Sergio Aguero has scored 10 goals in 12 appearances against Spurs, but hasn’t scored against them in his last 5 matches, with his last goal coming in May 2015’s 1-0 away win.
- Raheem Sterling has scored 5 goals in 10 appearances against Spurs across his Man City and Liverpool career. He has managed to score in both of his last 2 matches against Tottenham.
- Riyad Mahrez has scored 3 goals in 8 appearances against Spurs across his Man City and Leicester career. He has managed to score in both of his last 2 matches against Tottenham.
Match Facts & Summary
|Head to Head||Tottenham||Manchester City|
|Current League Record||Played 9, Won 7, Lost 2||Played 9, Won 7, Drawn 2|
|Current League Top Scorers||Kane (5), Lamela / Moura (3)||Aguero (6), Sterling (4)|
|Last 10 Competitive Matches||Tottenham 3 Wins, 1 Draw, Man City 6 Wins|
|Last 10 Competitive Matches at Wembley / White Hart Lane||Tottenham 5 Wins, 1 Draw, Man City 4 Wins|
|Last Season’s Result||Tottenham 1-3 Man City|
|Odds of Interest (as at 24 Oct)||Tottenham||Manchester City|
|Odds – Result (Draw = 3.06)||3.30||0.75|
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Man City enter London in great spirits following two solid victories back to back, including a comprehensive win over Shakhtar in Ukraine, with four consecutive home games to follow after the game against Spurs. Tottenham have come off two away games (albeit the first in London anyway against West Ham), and follow their hosting of Man City with another short trip to West Ham in the League Cup.
Both teams are sustaining various injury concerns. Spurs remain without Danny Rose, Jan Vertonghen, and Dele Alli. Man City are without Danilo, Ilkay Gundogan, Fabian Delph and Claudio Bravo.
Expected Line-ups and Tactical Considerations:
Pochettino continues to adapt his tactical approaches from match to match; while 4231 is his most commonly applied system thus far, the choice of approach against Man City could vary from using 442 to close up the width typically enjoyed by Man City’s attacking fullbacks, or a 4231 / 4321 variation to try and compress the Citizens’ midfield. The 3-1 defeat in April featured the 4231 system, so the Spaniard may elect to try something different to effect a better result. Tottenham’s results speak volumes of their ability to control matches and be particularly efficient; so while their average possession (57%), shots per game (14) and total goals scored (16) are far less than the league leaders, Spurs have been considerably more efficient, needing far less performance output to generate the 21 league points that remain a mere 2 behind Man City.
The back five of Lloris, Trippier, Sanchez, Alderweireld and Davies should remain fully intact. In midfield, the decisions become more intriguing; Eric Dier seems the safest of the choices to start against Man City, but Pochettino may well risk the inexperience of Harry Winks alongside him rather than the inconsistent performances of the more experience Mousa Dembele. The front quartet, however configured, should feature leading goalscorer Harry Kane supported by Lucas Moura, Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela.
Pep Guardiola’s defending champions have stabilized in their 433 system, with the tactical dynamics involved leading the league in several categories including average possession (65%), shots per game (22), and total goals scored (26). The Citizens also currently employ several of the league’s prominent creative wizards with 19 assists across 8 players, including the league leader Benjamin Mendy with 5.
Guardiola has found a solid framework of rotation in dealing with the various injuries faced, most notably last season’s playmaker king Kevin De Bruyne, who recently returned from the sidelines. The club’s superb bench has largely delivered, supported by excellent showings from veterans like David Silva and emerging stars like Bernardo Silva and Aymeric Laporte. A full strength side is expected against Spurs, with a careful focus on balanced creativity and defensive reliability in midfield in particular. The back five of Ederson, Mendy, Laporte and Otamendi is expected to remain intact with the only debate being if John Stones will keep his slot at right fullback ahead of fellow Englishman Kyle Walker. In midfield, an experienced trio of Fernandinho, De Bruyne and David Silva is anticipated with a fluid trio of Aguero, Sterling and Mahrez expected up front.
The draw against PSV notwithstanding, both sides enter this game in good form, with the defending champions looking both ominous and imposing. The Citizens have managed to find a healthy blend between rotation of fringe and supporting cast alongside first choice players in the side. Guardiola can comfortably rely on superb performances from Sterling, Aguero, David Silva and Mendy, with efficient supporting cast showings from Bernardo Silva, Riyad Mahrez and Leroy Sane. Their defensive form has settled superbly with 5 clean sheets in a row in league competition, so even if this match is away from home, Spurs won’t find this defence easy to crack.
Speaking of which, Tottenham, while improving, haven’t yet fully seemed to settle. Their league performances have been unspectacular alongside their efficacy, and the rotation in the team has seemed as much a result of misfiring combinations and unappealing performances as it does by simple tactical design. Their home form is imposing, having been undefeated in 35 of their last 38 home matches, but one of those defeats was against Man City anyway.
Spurs do have the tactical nuance and industry to cause Man City problems; their strike force is capable of stretching Man City’s defenders out of position and causing a far greater test that the Citizens have had to face of late. However, one can’t help but consider that this matchup may be coming just a little too soon for the home side in terms of creating meaningful form and performance rhythm. To that end, unless a tactical masterclass from Pochettino emerges, it should be a fairly solid, low scoring win for the men from Manchester.
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Please note betting odds quoted are correct at time of publication and are subject to change.