Our writer previews the EPL's biggest matchup of the weekend as Tottenham play host to Manchester City on Sunday afternoon.
The biggest tie in gameweek 7 of the Premier League pits Tottenham against leaders Manchester City in a top of the table clash at White Hart Lane on Sunday. Last season, Spurs won both league meetings against the Sky Blues, winning this fixture 4-1 and edging them 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side will be looking to oust the Sky Blues once again, but they’ll need a near perfect performance to beat Pep Guardiola’s team. City are in a rich vein of form with 10 successive wins in all competitions, scoring 30 goals. It promises to be an enthralling matchup as both sides thrive on attacking football.
Tottenham v Manchester City | Sunday 2 October | White Hart Lane | 15:15
To Win (90 Mins)
Tottenham 47/20 | Draw 49/20 | Manchester City 11/10
Pochettino's side have started the season well. They have not sparkled but they have been consistent. Spurs remain unbeaten in the Premier League with 14 points from their opening six games. They beat Middlesbrough 2-1 at the Riverside Stadium last weekend as Heung-Min Son scored twice in the first half but in the second half they took their foot off the gas and failed to put the game to bed. Without the injured Harry Kane, Spurs created plenty of chances but Vincent Janssen once again failed to find the net.
With Kane out with an ankle injury, Pochettino will hope attacking midfielders like Son, Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli chip in with goals until Kane returns. Son has played his part with four goals in his last three games and the South Korean has now scored six goals and added an assist in his last seven Premier League games. Son not only has ample energy and impressive strength but he seems to have added decisiveness to his finishing in recent weeks.
Janssen will be the main man to carry the goalscoring burden in Kane’s absence but the Dutchman has shown signs of failing to cope with the pace of the Premier League. After playing in Holland and only bursting into the Dutch top-flight last season, it will take Janssen time to adapt but he needs to step up and fill the void while Kane is injured. His performance against Middlesbrough is enough to warrant some optimism he can provide cover.
Tottenham are well equipped to confront Guardiola's flamboyant team, but they’ll need Eric Dier, Mousa Dembele and Moussa Sissoko to recover from injuries if they are going to grind down their opponents and deny Guardiola's frontrunners the ball. Beating City twice last season proved so pivotal in establishing Tottenham’s credentials as Premier League title challengers. Should Spurs beat them again or at least encouragingly compete with them, Pochettino's team can firmly begin looking forward to the potential of the year.
Pep Guardiola has won his first 10 games as Manchester City manager in a flawless start to the season. As well as three victories in the Champions League and a win in the EFL Cup, City have won all six Premier League games to open up a four-point lead at the top of the table. The Premier League leaders are in imperious form and are looking to rewrite history. They have already beaten their best start to a season, which was seven wins, set in 1897, extending it to ten in all competitions. And if they can beat Tottenham away on Sunday, the Blues will have equalled that 119-year-old record, which was composed entirely of league victories.
City are facing the possibility of being without Kevin De Bruyne for the next month after the Belgian was injured towards the end of their 3-1 win at Swansea last weekend. De Bruyne has two goals and five assists already this season and his performances have prompted Guardiola to claim the 25-year-old is among the best players he has ever worked with. While many of the players from City's under-performing squad from last season have significantly improved, De Bruyne remains the most creative force at the Etihad. City are able to cope with the loss of key players better now than at other times in their recent history, but losing their influential playmaker is a painful blow for Guardiola.
Raheem Sterling has impressed under Guardiola this campaign, scoring four goals in six league games. He was also named the Premier League's player of the month for August. Sterling and the rest of the team will need to step up in the absence of De Bruyne.
Sergio Aguero’s pace and predatory instincts will be a huge threat to Pochettino's side. The Argentinian has already scored an incredible 11 goals in just six games this season, and this total would have been swelled even more had he not already had to serve a three-match domestic ban earlier this month.
Verdict: Draw (49/20)
Kevin De Bruyne will miss out with a hamstring injury while Spurs will be missing front man Harry Kane due to an ankle problem. Both players will be sorely missed but City have a much stronger squad and are able to cope much better.
However, City are going to drop points at some point this season and Spurs also remain unbeaten. Pochettino's side beat the Sky Blues twice last season and although City look much better under Guardiola, I’m backing them to earn a point.
Written by Chadley Nagel @Hollywoodbets