Sunday 14th February – 16:15 – Etihad Stadium
If one top four clash this weekend wasn’t enough, just over two hours after Arsenal vs Leicester has finished, Manchester City host Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday. The Citizens lost 3-1 to the Foxes last weekend, meaning that they are now six points off the top of the table in fourth position. It was a defeat that Tottenham capitalised on, with their 1-0 win over Watford moving them into the second position. Spurs have now won four consecutive league games, the best run in the division as their fans are beginning to dream of a first league title since 1961. A victory at the Etihad Stadium would really prove their credentials whilst at the same effectively ending City’s hopes of the crown. A win for Manuel Pellegrini’s side however could seem them move back to second, in this fascinating Premier League campaign.
- Captain Vincent Kompany is available for the first time since Boxing Day after recovering from a long-standing calf problem.
- David Silva is also fit following an ankle injury but Fabian Delph is out for seven weeks with an Achilles injury and Bacary Sagna has a knee problem.
- Jesus Navas, Samir Nasri (both hamstring), Wilfried Bony (calf), Eliaquim Mangala and Kevin De Bruyne (knee) have all been ruled out.
- Midfielder Dele Alli is expected to be recalled, having featured as a substitute against Watford last weekend. He set up Spurs’ winning goal upon coming on.
- Kevin Wimmer will continue to deputise for the injured Jan Vertonghen (knee) in the centre of defence.
- Clinton N’Jie remains sidelined with a knee injury, but full-backs Danny Rose and Kyle Walker are likely to earn recalls.
The Key Battle: Vincent Kompany vs Harry Kane
It was a huge boost for Manchester City when Manuel Pellegrini revealed that Vincent Kompany would be fit for this game, after the skipper’s season has been dotted with calf injuries, meaning he has featured just nine times in the league, most recently at the start of November.
The Belgian will be hoping to be a permanent fixture in the City side in the title run in for the rest of the season, as he has proved his importance in the past. At the beginning of the campaign, Kompany scored twice and helped his side keep five clean sheets in the opening five games as they topped the league in September.
However he was injured when City visited Tottenham later that month and lost 4-1 without his presence in the centre of defence. Harry Kane scored his first goal of the season that day, and has gone on to hit the back of the net 15 times in the league.
This includes 14 strikes in his last 16 games, making him one of the most inform strikers in the division. The 22 year old is proving that he is not a one season wonder, and is proving crucial to Spurs’ surprise title challenge along with compatriot Dele Alli.
The pair will be key to England’s hopes at the European Championships in the summer, so it’s vital that they both stay fit from now until then.
Manchester City wins = 582 / Tottenham Hotspur wins = 58 / Draws = 34
*According to http://www.11v11.com
Last Meeting: Tottenham Hotspur 4-1 Manchester City (26th September 2015)
Manchester City lost a second league game in a row, with Harry Kane scoring his first club goal this season as Tottenham came from 1-0 down to win. Kevin de Bruyne angled in an effort to put leaders City in front before Eric Dier equalised with a 25-yard shot. Toby Alderweireld then nodded Spurs in front from an Erik Lamela free-kick. Kane side-footed in when team-mate Christian Eriksen’s free-kick came back off the woodwork before Lamela slid home as the visitors chased the game. [BBC]
Manuel Pellegrini: “Like I said last week, it’s not a decisive game but a very important game – afterwards we play for another 36 points. For our team, it’s important to try to return to the top of the table. Two or three teams are in front of us in this moment so we must try to reclaim the points.”
Mauricio Pochettino: “To arrive at the end in the position we are and to improve our position you need to win games. But it’s not decisive. It’s very important but it’s not the last game. They know, and we know, we are in a position where there are 13 games ahead, but after the next game it is 12 and we are going into the more important period in the league.”
The Referee – Mark Clattenburg
- Last Premier League game: Southampton 1-0 West Ham United (6th February 2016) – 3 yellow cards, 1 red card
- Last Manchester City game: Manchester United 0-0 Manchester City (25th October 2015) – 4 yellow cards, 0 red cards
- Last Tottenham Hotspur game: Tottenham Hotspur 4-1 Manchester City (26th September 2015) – 6 yellow cards, 0 red cards
2015-16 Record: Games = 31 / Yellow cards = 100 / Red cards = 5 / Penalties = 5
Infographic (courtesy of Sporticos)
All stats from Premier League only and correct up until 13/02/2016
Stat of the Match
The last nine league meetings between these two sides have produced 41 goals – an average of 4.5 goals per game.
Where Can I Watch It?
This clash is the third and final game of Sky Sports 1’s Super Sunday, with coverage beginning at 4pm and kick-off 15 minutes later. Highlights will then be on BBC Two’s Match of the Day 2 on Sunday evening 10pm.
My Prediction: Manchester City 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur
I’m actually going to go against recent history with my prediction, as I’m going for a relatively low-scoring game despite the number of goals scored in this fixture in the past. I think it will be a 1-1 draw at the Etihad Stadium, with goals from Sergio Aguero and Christian Eriksen. It’s a result that neither team wants but should keep both in the title race.