Tottenham vs Manchester City: Match preview and prediction
The Pep Guardiola-Jose Mourinho rivalry is one that dates back to the start of the 2010s when both were vying for supremacy in Spain. That was a period that saw some classic El Clasicos and unsavory words thrown back and forth between the pair.
The English leg of this famous rivalry, however, has not been in the same mold. Guardiola had the upper hand over Mourinho when both managers were plying their trade in the same city. Tonight, we’ll see a new chapter emerge with Guardiola’s Manchester City side traveling to London to take on Mourinho’s Tottenham
Despite having a bright start under Mourinho, Tottenham have stumbled in recent weeks. Spurs have only won one of their last five Premier League games and currently sit at eighth on the table. The solitary win was the one over Norwich City on 23rd January.
City are also not performing up to the standards that they have set in the past couple of seasons. The fact that they are 22 points behind Liverpool speaks volumes of both Liverpool’s quality and City’s shortcomings this season.
Coming into this game, Manchester City are undefeated in their last five Premier League games with four of them being wins.
Earlier this season, the two sides played out a 2-2 draw with Gabriel Jesus’ potential game-winner being cancelled out after a VAR check.
Both sides are coming into this game without their full-strength squads.
Harry Kane is the most high-profile absence for the home side. The English national team captain is out with a hamstring issue he sustained in the 0-1 defeat to Southampton on New Year’s Day. Kane’s absence might result in a debut for new signing Steven Bergwijn.
Ben Davies and Mousa Sissoko are also sidelined for this game which should see Japhet Tanganga line up on the right side of defense.
Manchester City’s injury issue in central defense is one of the primary factors affecting their performance this season. This has led to Guardiola experimenting with his backline. Aymeric Laporte availability is again in question for this game, so expect John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi to start. Fernandinho’s status is also not certain.
Davinson Sanchez vs Sergio Aguero
Tottenham have only kept three clean sheets this season – the lowest in the Premier League.
Mauricio Pochettino was let down by his defense and Mourinho is facing the same issue.
Against a striker of Sergio Aguero’s caliber, the Spurs faithful have every right to be worried.
Davinson Sanchez, along with Toby Alderweireld, will have the mammoth task of the keeping the Argentine quiet.
Aguero is in hot form having scored six times in the last three Premier League games. The former Atletico Madrid hitman has scored four times against Spurs in 11 appearances in all competitions. He is primed to increase that tally tonight.
Dele Alli vs Rodri
If there is one Tottenham player who has shown exponential improvement under Mourinho, it is Dele Alli.
The English midfielder was having an indifferent season under Pochettino but Mourinho’s arrival sparked a resurgence. Alli has directly contributed to nine goals (six goals and three assists) in 16 games under the Portuguese manager.
Tonight, however, will not be easy for Alli as Rodri is a formidable opponent in the middle of the park. The Spaniard’s stats elucidate his ability to stifle plays in the middle of the park.
Jan Vertonghen vs Riyad Mahrez
Belgian defender Jan Vertonghen has had to play as a left-back this season considering Tottenham’s dearth of options in the position, especially after Danny Rose’s departure to the north.
While Vertonghen is a solid defender, he could be a weak link when up against Riyad Mahrez.
The Algerian is enjoying his most productive campaign at the Etihad Stadium. His pace and directness make him a terror on the right side and Vertonghen will have his work cut out in containing the 2015-16 PFA Player of the Year.
Tottenham are winless against Manchester City in the pair’s last six Premier League meetings. Spurs’ last league win over City came at White Hart Lane in 2016. Since then, the north London side has drawn two and lost four against the four-time Premier League champions.
While previous Tottenham-Manchester City games have been high scoring affairs, do not expect this to be on the same line, considering that both sides are not at full strength.
I predict Manchester City to take home the three points, winning by a one-goal margin.
Predicted scoreline: Tottenham 1-2 Manchester City