Tottenham vs Manchester City | Saturday 26 September | White Hart Lane | 13:45
Manchester City will be desperate to return to winning ways against Tottenham on Saturday with Louis van Gaal’s side breathing down their necks.
The Sky Blues suffered their first defeat of the campaign at home to West Ham, but will be confident of bouncing back strongly given their impressive record against the London club. Mauricio Pochettino’s men will come into this match full of confidence following their 1-0 derby win over rivals Crystal Palace and will fancy their chances of adding further misery to Manuel Pellegrini’s side.
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To Win (80mins)
Manchester City 9/10
Tottenham have won three matches in a row, collected as many clean sheets in as many league games and unearthed a new star in Son Heung-Min. Victory over Crystal Palace saw Son produce a match-winning performance after which he was withdrawn to a standing ovation from the White Hart Lane faithful. Pochettino's vision is unfolding slowly as his players begin to deliver. Throughout Spurs' 1-0 victory last weekend, their attacking players buzzed around Palace's resolute defence in search of a breakthrough. There was patience but a willingness to take risks in possession and they ended up getting the goal they deserved. Son was key. He was confident, skilful and aggressive as he sought a decisive moment. Erik Lamela produced a fine display. In his last three appearances he has continued to improve and was a star against Alan Pardew's side. He won the ball for Son's goal and was deeply involved in most of the best attacking moves. Although Lamela began the counter-attack that saw Spurs score, it was Christian Eriksen who played the final pass. It was the Dane's first touch after being introduced as a substitute and it earned him his second assist of the campaign. He now has as many as he had in 38 Premier League appearances last season.
Pochettino will hope his players can rise to the occasion against Manchester City, but history shows this fixture usually doesn’t end well for them. Spurs have beaten Manchester City just once in their last nine matches – losing eight times. Their last four encounters with City have all ended in defeat having scored just three goals and conceded sixteen times. The fact that Harry Kane still hasn’t scored a goal this season is certainly another worrying factor. If Tottenham are to get anything from this match they’ll need a big performance from the England striker. Kane terrorised defences last season scoring 21 goals to help Spurs qualify for the Europa League. Many believe that had he started as the club’s first-choice striker, Spurs might have even qualified for the Champions League. At the moment, he looks a shadow of his old self and he’ll be desperate to get on the score-sheet and prove his worth. With Vincent Kompany fighting a late fitness test, this could be a good chance for Kane to hurt City’s defence.
De Bruyne showed what a fantastic footballer he is as the Belgian dictated play throughout as City dominated and sought an equaliser, and his ability to pick passes and use spaces for his team-mates saw the home side overrun West Ham at times—only the final ball from his colleagues was lacking. De Bruyne was City's biggest attacking threat with his movement down both channels, his one-touch distribution and, of course, a fantastic strike before half-time. City fans will no doubt be excited by their new signing but they will still hope to see Silva overcome his injury to thread passes to Sergio Aguero. A genius on the ball, with the eye and the skill to pick out even the toughest of passes, matched with the ability to score as well, Silva has truly come to be one of, if not the best, playmaker in the Premier League. Silva has formed a telepathic understanding with Aguero and their chemistry makes City’s attack almost unplayable. Along with De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling in the side, City’s front force will terrify many defences they come up against. Leading the attack, Aguero will be out to terrorise the Spurs defence with quick running, sharp turning, and powerful shooting. His ability on the ball makes him more than a genuine threat and Tottenham’s backline will need to be rock-solid to prevent him from getting on the scoresheet.
VERDICT: Manchester City 9/10
This is one fixture that Manchester City do extremely well. They’ve lost just once to Spurs in their last ten matches with eight wins, including four on the spin. Spurs have won just twice from their opening six games, while City have won five times, scoring twelve goals and conceding just twice. City are tipped to get their season back on track by coming away with maximum points.