Saturday 21st January. 5:30PM. BT Sport 1
As the Premier League season begins to hit top gear, the Saturday evening fixture sees Manchester City and Tottenham renew what has been one of the most exciting rivalries in recent years.
For once, however, it’s Spurs who are fighting for the title while the hosts are more concerned with securing the driving seat in the race for Champions League football. It’s a massive encounter that could have huge implications on their respective seasons.
Frankly, it has all the makings of a classic. Let’s just hope it delivers.
Can Jesus Save City?
After suffering his worst league defeat as a manager, Pep Guardiola will be fully focused on seeing his men bounce back against Tottenham – not least because his side are currently fifth in the Premier League table.
Despite their terrible performance at Goodison Park, the Citizens remain one of the division’s strongest home sides and have lost just one of 10 matches so far, scoring 19 times in the process. Meanwhile, the hosts are nearly at full strength with key men David Silva, Sergio Aguero, and Kevin De Bruyne all ready to prove their worth whilst Vincent Kompany could return to action also.
City’s weaknesses have been shown at various stages this season, not least at White Hart Lane where they were outclassed in a 2-0 defeat. Nevertheless, if they perform to their full potential, they’ll be a very difficult team to beat on home soil. Meanwhile, new signing Jesus Gabriel is in contention to provide a boost of momentum so the hosts will be sure to attack the game in a positive manner.
With a crucial few weeks ahead, it could be the catalyst to get them back on track. If they can’t get themselves up for this one, there’s something truly wrong.
Can Spurs Go Marching On?
They might have suffered a few difficulties earlier in the season, but Mauricio Pochettino’s men are now right back in the mix thanks to a run of six straight victories. And it’s no coincidence that Harry Kane and Dele Alli have been at the heart of that great form.
Spurs enter the weekend sitting second, albeit seven points off the leaders Chelsea. However, a win in Manchester would work wonders for their title push while firing a warning shot to their rivals in the process.
The visitors have every reason to be optimistic, especially given City’s current issues. They will have to do it without the duo of Erik Lamela and Jan Vertonghen, though, which will make the trip a little more difficult.
Nonetheless, Spurs have shown their quality in recent weeks as well as the last three head-to-head victories. If they can pick up another victory here, they could be set to launch a serious bid for the trophy.
Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur Betting
With this clash being played at the Etihad, Manchester City have been established as the pre-game favourites at 11/10 with Ladbrokes. However, at odds of 13/5, Tottenham fans may well be tempted to back their men too. The draw, meanwhile, is available at 12/5.
The Citizens are usually an attacking force at home while they’ll be determined to avoid another blank following last week’s disappointment. With Vertonghen missing for Spurs, Guardiola’s men should find the target.
Having said that, the visitors are just as likely to find the target at some stage. Can at least one of them grab two or more? We’d certainly like to think so.
It could be easily argued that City need a hero more than ever and they have three or four candidates who could emerge to steal the headlines. Perhaps the most dangerous of them all, however, is De Bruyne.
The attacking midfielder is capable of producing magic when it matters most, and we’re backing him to do so here. Whether it’ll be enough to help the hosts win is another question altogether. Quite frankly, though, we couldn’t care less as long as he finds the net at some stage.