Premier League heavyweights Manchester City and Tottenham face off tonight in what is expected to be an exciting affair. Both sides were impressive last season, with City completing the domestic treble, while Spurs fought their way to the Champions League final, only to be beaten by Liverpool. City and Spurs registered wins in the first gameweek of the Premier League season, and will look to inflict their opponent’s first defeat of the season.
Pep Guardiola’s side were dominant, brushing aside West Ham United with a 5-0 win, and are the favourites this weekend.
Absence of Dele Alli and Son Heung-min
For a majority of the game against Aston Villa on the opening weekend, Spurs struggled to score against the Premier League new boys. This could be attributed to the absence of two important players for Spurs – Dele Alli and Son Heung-min, both of whom were absent from the game, and will not feature against City on Saturday. Alli has still not recovered from his injury, while Son is serving a suspension following a red card last season.
Pochettino will sorely miss both players as they have the energy and work-rate, as well as the ability to create opportunities from nothing. While new signings Tanguy Ndombele and Giovani Lo Celso could add creativity to the side in the absence of Alli and Son, it would be asking a lot of new signings to make an instant impact, that too against a phenomenal team like City.
Guardiola’s record against Spurs
Guardiola enjoys a good record against Tottenham as Manchester City manager, losing just once in the league against Spurs. Incidentally, the only Premier League loss that the Spanish manager has suffered against Spurs as City manager was also his first defeat as the manager of Manchester City, back in 2016.
Guardiola has won four, drawn one and lost one in the league against Manchester City. The odds will certainly be stacked against Spurs when facing a team like Manchester City, even more so when the opposition manager has a great record against them.
Contrasting opening day performances
As previously mentioned, City steamrolled West Ham away from home, but the same can’t be said of Tottenham’s performance. Spurs didn’t look like they would break the stubborn Aston Villa defence until the introduction of Christian Eriksen in the second half and a goal from new signing Ndombele, which opened the floodgates for Spurs, resulting in their 3-1 win.
City had almost the same team as last season against the Hammers except for the addition of Rodri to the side, and the Premier League champions seem to have picked up from where they left off last season.
Guardiola’s men will be confident after their performance in the first game.