Manchester City travel to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday which is a venue that haunts the blue side of Manchester, playing four times at the ground and losing all four. Spurs haven’t only just won the last four home games against City; they haven’t conceded a single goal either.
The two sides faced just fourteen days ago at the Etihad Stadium, where the hosts produced a four-goal second-half comeback to overturn their two-goal half-time deficit. On Sunday, Spurs will be looking for redemption and City will be hoping to end their run of poor results at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Spurs will be without their boss Antonio Conte for this weekend’s game, as he underwent surgery back in Italy this week. The Italian’s assistant, Cristian Stellini will take charge from the touchline which could potentially impact Spurs’ performance. There is hope that Conte will be able to attend the game and communicate via the directors' box. However, If he is unable to travel then the boss will have to communicate from Italy.
Last time out in the Premier League, Spurs beat Fulham 1-0 at Craven Cottage with a first-half trademark Harry Kane goal securing the victory. The majority of the game saw Spurs under immense pressure from Fulham, but the hosts were unable to create any clear-cut chances and take advantage of their possessional dominance. Spurs defended well and looked dangerous on the counter-attack, yet it wasn’t exactly a convincing performance from Conte’s men. The game was quite scrappy but the Spurs showed glimpses of real togetherness which they have lacked at times this season.
Similar patterns of play will occur on Sunday with Manchester City dominating possession and Spurs adopting a counter-attacking approach. Harry Kane will have an enormous role to play if Spurs are to get anything out of the tie, but that has been the case in almost every game this season. The England captain will look to add to his 16 goals already this season and Manchester City will have to find a way to nullify his influence on the game like they did in the second half of their last meeting.
Manchester City will come into this tie full of confidence and ready to begin their title charge. A 1-0 victory over Arsenal in the FA Cup, could just see the momentum swing in City’s favour and their recent 4-2 victory over Spurs may be the game which solidifies that champions mindset across the squad.
There is no doubt that City have the edge over Spurs and the 4-2 comeback win will definitely give them a psychological advantage. Spurs have only kept a clean sheet in 20% of their home games this season and City will look to target their unreliable defensive structure. With City’s attacking firepower and an endless supply of creativity, it seems guaranteed that they will put the ball in the back of the net.
City’s most recent Premier League outing saw Erling Haaland grab his fourth hattrick of the season in a 3-0 victory over Wolves. The Norwegian has now scored 25 goals in the league so far, a higher tally than Chelsea, and he doesn’t look like slowing down anytime soon. It was a completely dominant performance and back-to-back clean sheets will be a huge boost for Pep Guardiola and his squad. Pep Guardiola often talks about how mood and squad morale is so important to success, and the departure of Joao Cancelo indicates that Pep is willing to sacrifice individuals and be ruthless with his players.
Manchester City are a dangerous side to play at any point of the season, but a City side almost with a point to prove is simply scary. Spurs will be looking to build on their 1-0 victory over Fulham, but their lack of goals other than from Kane will be a huge concern.
I believe that City will be too strong for Spurs and they should win this tie. The first goal will be key and if it goes the way of City then there is the potential that Spurs are just picked apart on the counter-attack. The only way that Spurs can get a result in my opinion is if they score the first goal and sit into a low block, but even then, we all saw what happened two weeks ago when they had a two-goal lead at Half time …
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