Saturday 18th October – 12:45 – Etihad Stadium
Manchester City welcome Tottenham to the Etihad Stadium aiming to keep up the pressure on Premier League leaders Chelsea. City go into the lunchtime kick-off five points behind Chelsea and they will be determined not to lose any ground on the leaders. Manuel Pellegrini’s men have surprisingly struggled at home this term, having dropped as many points at the Etihad this season as they did during the entire campaign last term. Spurs picked up four points in their last two games prior to the international break and they are level on points with fourth-placed Manchester United. They suffered two heavy defeats against the eventual champions last season, so Mauricio Pochettino’s aim will be to avoid such disasters this time around. However going by the stats, there seems only one inevitable outcome to tomorrow lunchtime’s game – The Citizens have won six of their last seven league meetings with Tottenham. Both sides have European commitments coming up, as City travel to Russia to face CSKA Moscow in an empty stadium in the Champions League on Tuesday night, whilst Spurs host Greek side Asteras Tripolis in the Europa League 48 hours later.
The Key Battle: Fernando vs Christian Eriksen
These two are almost at opposite ends of the scale as far as midfielders go. Elegant central attacking midfielder Christian Eriksen will likely be up against brute central defensive midfielder Fernandinho.
The Dane was slaughtered by his international manager in the week, who said he hadn’t improved and should have been the difference in Denmark’s match with Portugal but wasn’t.
He will have to improve tomorrow but he won’t have an easy time against Fernando, who will be all over him like a rash. The Brazilian often gives away fouls but certainly lets the opposition know he is there. The former Porto man’s spot in defensive midfield also gives Yaya Toure to play further forward.
Eriksen often can’t deal with these sort of hard midfielders and struggles to impose himself on games so he will need to be on the top of his game to give his side any chance of picking up a positive result at a ground where they were hammered last season.
- Manuel Pellegrini could rest Yaya Toure against Tottenham as the Ivory Coast midfielder got back from international duty today (Friday).
- If Toure misses out, on-loan Frank Lampard is likely to start in midfield. The 36 year old has four goals in six games for City.
- Pellegrini’s selection dilemmas come in defence, where he must choose between Martin Demichelis and Eliaquim Mangala to partner Vincent Kompany at centre-back and Gael Clichy or Aleksander Kolarov at left-back.
- Hugo Lloris and Nacer Chadli after both returned from international duty with injuries so are doubts for the visitors. If the former is unavailable, then Michel Vorm will be in line for his first league game for the club after signing from Swansea in the summer.
- The fitness of Emmanuel Adebayor and Nabil Bentaleb needs to be assessed so the pair could start the game on the bench.
- Eric Dier, along with Harry Kane, was part of the England Under-21s side that qualified for Euro 2015 on Tuesday, and will be recalled at right-back, with both Kyle Naughton and Kyle Walker long-term absentees.
Manchester wins = 52 / Tottenham Hotspur wins = 52 / Draws = 32
Last Meeting: Tottenham Hotspur 1-5 Manchester City (29th January 2014)
Manchester City moved to the top of the Premier League with an ominous show of authority against Tottenham at White Hart Lane. Manuel Pellegrini’s side required a win over Spurs to move a point clear of Arsenal, and the outcome never looked in doubt when Sergio Aguero scored in an eighth successive game to give them an early lead. Yaya Toure doubled their advantage five minutes into the second half from a hotly-contested penalty after Spurs defender Danny Rose was sent off despite appearing to get a touch on the ball before being penalised for fouling Edin Dzeko. Dzeko added a third and even though Etienne Capoue pulled one back for Spurs, there was still time for City substitute Stevan Jovetic to score his first league goal since his £22 million switch from Fiorentina the previous summer. And as the visitors inflicted further heavy punishment on Spurs following their 6-0 win in Manchester in November, captain Vincent Kompany rounded things off with a simple finish.
Stat of the Match
Manchester City are winless in their last two home games in the league; they last went three without a victory back in November 2010.
Where can I watch it?
The 12:45pm kick-off will be shown live on BT Sport, and their coverage begins at Midday. Alternatively, the highlights of the game will as usual be on Match of the Day tomorrow evening, which is at 10:30pm on BBC One.
My Prediction: Manchester City 2-0 Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham won’t be looking forward to the game after two terrible results against City last time. They’ll be cautious going forward, meaning they may draw a blank in front of goal. As far as their defence is concerned, it’s not incredibly strong and I can see Aguero & co. breaking it a couple of times, especially if Hugo Lloris absent between the sticks. The Argentine will score once, with Edin Dzeko grabbing the hosts’ other.