Match Preview: Manchester City v Spurs (all or nothing!)
13 February at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester; 5.30 pm
After our one win in five games (and that was against lowly WBA) we face City at the top of the Christmas tree. They’ve lost two games this season in the league, and one of them was against us at the Tottenham Stadium. When we won that match we were on a roll (a winning one), I suppose you could say that we are on a roll at the moment, of sorts, but a losing one.
We could win this on a good day, but will Saturday the 13th be on a good day or another bad one for us?
Sergio Aguero, who has missed 11 games for coronavirus-related reasons, could be available. Ruben Dias and Rodrigo are expected to recover from illness and injury, but Fernandinho will miss out with a thigh problem.
Mourinho said a scan for Gareth Bale this week did not reveal any injury, but the forward will decide whether he feels able to play.
None of our other injured players are ready to return. According to our manager, Sergio Regulion and Giovani Lo Celso had “no chance” of facing Everton, so I imagine that they both will miss out on this game. There are also question marks over Serge Aurier after he picked up a knock against West Brom.
Mourinho opted to leave Kane and Carlos Vinicius out of the starting lineup against Everton. Still, Kane will be back to lead the line of attack here and link up with Son once more, and that prolific partnership will be key to any chances of victory this weekend.
Moussa Sissoko and Harry Winks will both look to return to the midfield, but most of the team whose efforts over 120 minutes on Wednesday counted for nought are likely to line up at the Etihad.
Mourinho said about Bale: “The scan did not show an injury, but his feelings were still there. As coaches, medical people, we can never go against the player feelings. So he was not ready for the game [in midweek]. It’s as simple as that. If he’s ready for tomorrow, he’s selected for tomorrow.”
My thoughts and prediction
Our defence did not have a great time of things against Everton on Wednesday, and I have no doubt that this will be another busy evening for them again this time around.
Harry Kane and Son will carry a threat for us, and City have injury or illness doubts over vital defensive players, but that won’t stop them from being a danger; however, if we can get our act together, I think we can win this. My head says the best we can hope for is a draw, but my heart says we shall win this 1-2. So I’ll let my heart rule my head and go for:
My possible starting lineup:
Lloris; Doherty, Alderweireld, Rodon, Davies; Hojbjerg, Sissoko; Lucas Moura, Ndombele, Son; Kane
Manchester City are unbeaten in 22 competitive games since a 2-0 defeat at our ground. In November, that result put us top of the league and left Manchester City in 11th place (how things have changed); we are now in 9th place, while they are at the top of the pile.
Manchester City have won seven of the last 10 league meetings at the Etihad Stadium, only losing on 14 February 2016.
However, we have won both league encounters – at home – with Jose Mourinho as our manager.
City are on a 15-match winning run in all competitions, a record for an English top-flight side, and are unbeaten in 22 since their 2-0 defeat by Tottenham in November.
They have only conceded three goals in their past 14 league games.
Manchester City can equal the club record of seven successive home clean sheets in all competitions, set from December 1946 to March 1947.
Pep Guardiola could lose three consecutive top-flight fixtures against the same team for the first time as a manager.
He and Jose Mourinho have faced each other in 24 games, with Guardiola leading by 10 wins to seven.
Midfielder Ilkay Gundogan is the Premier League’s leading scorer in 2021 with seven goals in eight appearances. His last seven league goals came over a period of 62 games.
We have won just one of our past six top-flight away fixtures (D3, L2). We could lose consecutive away league games for the first time since October 2019.
We are winless in 24 away fixtures against the team starting the day top of the table since beating Blackburn in November 1992 (D3, L21).
We are striving to beat both Manchester clubs away in the same top-flight season for the first time since 1959-60. The last side to do so was Liverpool in 2008-09.
Jose Mourinho could become the first manager to win three away games against a Pep Guardiola side in all competitions, having triumphed with Real Madrid in 2012 and Manchester United in 2018.
Son has scored six goals in his past eight appearances against Manchester City in all competitions.
Harry Kane only averages a Premier League goal every 428 minutes versus Manchester City, his worst record against any of the 30 teams he has faced in the division. Kane has scored twice in 10 appearances in this fixture, but none in the last six.
Manchester City Premier League form: WWWWWW
Manchester City form (all competitions): WWWWWW
Tottenham Hotspur Premier League form: DWLLLW
Tottenham Hotspur form (all competitions): WLLLWL
So, that is my prediction, thoughts, team news and everything else, now it is all in the lap of the Gods!
Best regards, Glenn