MX23RW : Sunday, September 23 16:37:11
Oct 18, 2014 at 12.45pm UK at ​Etihad Stadium
Man CityManchester City
SpursTottenham Hotspur
Aguero (13', 20' pen., 68' pen., 75')
Navas (55')
FT(HT: 2-1)
Eriksen (15')
Mason (33'), Dier (37')
Fazio (67')

Preview: Manchester City vs. Tottenham Hotspur

Sports Mole previews the first fixture of the Premier League weekend as Manchester City host Tottenham Hotspur, whom they beat by an 11-1 aggregate last season.

The Premier League returns with a bang on Saturday lunchtime as the weekend fixture list kicks off with champions Manchester City hosting Tottenham Hotspur.

The Citizens beat Spurs by an aggregate of 11-1 over their two top-flight games last season.

A 6-0 humbling at the Etihad Stadium signalled the beginning of the end for Andre Villas-Boas, and his replacement Tim Sherwood was almost equally humiliated when City won 5-1 at White Hart Lane after the New Year.

So, in a way, new Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino has little to lose when he takes his side to Eastlands, and is even "confident" of getting a positive result on the back of their 1-0 victory over his former club Southampton prior to the international break.

Consecutive wins helped Manuel Pellegrini's side climb to second in the table before his star-studded squad jetted off to all corners of the globe, but three points for Spurs in Manchester will take them level with their hosts.

Yaya Toure was one of City's longest travellers in the week and may not feature on Saturday, having yet to return from the Ivory Coast after playing in their Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against DR Congo.

Fernando is on standby to come into central midfield, while the rest of the front six largely picks itself, with Samir Nasri injured and Jesus Navas, who began last year's rout of Spurs in the first minute, going through a quiet spell.

Pellegrini's selection dilemmas come in defence, where he must chose between Martin Demichelis and Eliaquim Mangala at centre-half and Gael Clichy and Aleksander Kolarov, who was playing in the abandoned game between Serbia and Albania in Belgrade on Tuesday, at left-back.

Injury casualties on an international break are almost inevitable, but Spurs may have had a lucky escape, with both Hugo Lloris and Nacer Chadli expected to play despite pulling out of games for their countries.

France goalkeeper Lloris has been in exceptional form for the Lilywhites this season, while Chadli has netted four times in six Premier League games, so Pochettino will be desperate for them both to start.

Should Chadli remain a fitness concern, though, the visiting boss may opt to reinforce the middle of the park, with either Nabil Bentaleb or Mousa Dembele coming in alongside Ryan Mason and Etienne Capoue.

Eric Dier, along with Harry Kane, was part of the England Under-21s side that qualified for Euro 2015 on Tuesday, and will be recalled at right-back, with both Kyle Naughton and Kyle Walker long-term absentees.

Recent form

Man City: WDWWDL


Possible starting lineups

Man City: Hart; Zabaleta, Mangala, Kompany, Clichy; Milner, Fernandinho, Fernando, Silva; Dzeko, Aguero

Spurs: Lloris; Dier, Kaboul, Vertonghen, Rose; Capoue, Mason, Dembele; Eriksen, Lamela, Adebayor

Sports Mole says: 3-0

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Man City's Joe Hart in action against Viktoria Plzen during their Champions League group match on November 27, 2013
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