Saturday night’s meeting between leaders Man City and a faltering Tottenham side is arguably the highlight of this weekend’s Premier League action.
Our betting expert is here with a comprehensive preview.
🗞 Match context
Strangely, Tottenham has actually won three of their last four Premier League matches against Man City, although all of those successes were in London, including on the opening day of this campaign. Pep Guardiola’s team has scored 15 times in their last four matches across all competitions and conceded just once in that run. With confidence low in the Spurs camp after a trio of top-flight defeats, this is pretty much the last fixture they’d want to see on the immediate horizon.
🔥 City on fire
Pep Guardiola’s team is in cruise control. A 5-0 win at Sporting Lisbon in midweek is about as comfortable a first-leg victory you’ll ever see in the Champions League knockout stages, and they really did do it at a canter. 14 wins in 15 Premier League matches and no defeats since a surprise reverse at home to Crystal Palace in October last year is a sequence that points to City winning silverware on more than one front this season.
🪙 Silva is worth his weight in gold
When David Silva left Manchester City in 2020 there were mild concerns that it would be almost impossible to replace the legendary Spanish magician. His namesake Bernardo is in rich goal-scoring form and possesses plenty of the left-footed playmaking charm that is so reminiscent of the artistic authority that El Mago stamped on English football. Right now, it’s difficult to name many Premier League players better than the 27-year-old Portuguese.
👨🚒 Antonio Conte fighting fires
The Spurs dugout is never the easiest place to be, something that Antonio Conte is finding out the hard way. As if three consecutive Premier League defeats wasn’t enough of a strain on the Italian tactician, a recent interview in which he explicitly airs his frustrations at Tottenham’s winter transfer dealings will only crank up the pressure.
🧮 Tactical tweaks for Tottenham?
Conte is world-renowned for his devotion to the 3-4-3 which utilizes the pace and dynamism of his wingbacks. However, that setup might be starting to look a little outdated in the high-pressing environment of the Premier League. Tottenham’s double pivot of Rodrigo Bentancur and Harry Winks looked isolated against Wolves before Dejan Kulusevski was introduced and Conte switched to a 4-2-3-1 with the young Swede operating as a number 10.
Bentancur’s quality and assuredness on the ball are obvious for all to see but he’ll need a few weeks to acclimatize. If Conte switches to four at the back, there might be teething problems, and if he sticks to his tried and trusted, he risks being overrun in the centre of the park. It’s a rock and a hard place situation.
🔵 City team news
Gabriel Jesus and Jack Grealish both missed City’s win at Sporting but the pair will be hoping that they can return to the fold here. Kyle Walker was suspended for City’s Champions League tie and is set to return to the starting XI at the expense of John Stones.
Likely City XI (4-3-3): Ederson; Walker, Dias, Laporte, Cancelo; De Bruyne, Rodri, Silva; Mahrez, Foden, Sterling
⚪️ Spurs team news
Japhet Tanganga is ruled out but Antonio Conte will hope to welcome Eric Dier and Oliver Skipp back into the group. Dier’s potential return could mean that Davinson Sánchez is the man to make way in defence. Rodrigo Bentancur should keep his place in the engine room.
Likely Spurs XI (3-4-3): Lloris; Romero, Dier, Davies; Royal, Højbjerg, Bentancur, Reguilón; Moura, Kane, Son
🔑 Key stats
- Kevin De Bruyne’s next goal will be his 50th in the Premier League, which would make him the fourth Belgian to reach the landmark after Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard and Christian Benteke.
- City has won 14 of their last 15 Premier League games, drawing 1-1 in the other against Southampton on January 22nd.
- City scored five goals with six shots on target at Sporting Lisbon with Bernardo Silva having a hand in three of them.
- Heung-Min Son has directly contributed to eight goals across his 14 H2Hs (G7, A1).
Pep’s men will look to assert territorial advantage and suffocate Spurs in their own half from the first whistle which could lead to defensive errors, an issue that has plagued Conte in recent defeats at Chelsea and at home against Southampton and Wolves.