As it stands, Man City sit fourth in the Premier League table while Spurs are second, but the visitors would drop to third by the time kickoff rolls around if Arsenal avoid defeat at leaders Leicester City in the early start.
Man City might only be six points off the top of the table with 13 games of the season left to play, but they could be nine points off the summit by the time that they take to the field against Spurs. A draw between Arsenal and Leicester would perhaps be the most favourable outcome for Man City and indeed for Spurs, but the home side here need to bounce back from their disappointing defeat at home to Leicester last weekend.
It was far from a smash-and-grab win for Leicester, who secured all the points at the Etihad courtesy of a 3-1 victory. That result has left Man City in fourth spot in the table and they are actually only just six points above fifth-placed Manchester United, who would expect to pick up all the points in their league match with Sunderland this weekend.
A 2-1 defeat at Arsenal in the Premier League before Christmas led to more questions on Man City's title credentials, but they put themselves back in the picture with a seven-game unbeaten run, which ended against Leicester last weekend. Despite that defeat, Man City have the best home record in the league this season and have also netted the most goals on home soil (34).
Incredibly, however, Pellegrini's side have not yet beaten any team currently in the top six in the Premier League table this season - drawing three and losing four times during that run. Pep Guardiola will take control of first-team affairs at the end of the campaign, but there is no question that Pellegrini will want to bow out with another league title to his name.
Spurs will enter this match in the better form, but Man City have won eight of their last 10 Premier league meetings with the capital side, including each of the last five at the Etihad. In-form striker Sergio Aguero also loves playing against the Lilywhites, having netted 10 goals in his eight Premier League appearances against the London outfit.
Man City have to keep winning as they bid to stay in touch with the top three, but they also have an FA Cup fifth-round clash away to Chelsea next weekend, before their Champions League campaign resumes with a last-16 tie against Dynamo Kiev. Just how well Pellegrini can utilise his squad in the next few weeks will be vital to his team's chances of success.
Recent form: WDWDWL
Recent form (all competitions): WDWWWL
It had been questioned whether Tottenham had the strength in-depth and indeed character needed to finish in the top four this season, but now Mauricio Pochettino's side are being spoken about as serious title contenders. The capital side have shown consistency where their rivals have not and bringing the Premier League trophy to White Hart Lane this season now seems a serious possibility.
As mentioned, Spurs are currently five points behind league leaders Leicester in the table, but they would drop to third ahead of this match as long as Arsenal avoid defeat at home to Leicester. Four straight wins in the league have moved Spurs into second and they have responded impressively to their 1-0 home loss against Leicester on January 13.
Pochettino's side were far from their best against Watford last weekend, but a 1-0 victory showed their ability to grind out a result. Tottenham have been criticised for being 'too soft' and 'too easy to play against' in the past, but this team has shown mettle throughout the campaign. Only Leicester (2) have lost fewer league games than Spurs this season and they have only been beaten once on their travels - away to Manchester United on the opening weekend of the season.
Hugo Lloris, Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld have formed a defensive unit that has the best record in the league, while Harry Kane and Dele Alli have drawn the plaudits in the final third of the field. Indeed it was in Spurs' 4-1 win over Man City earlier this season that saw Kane finally open his league account for the season and the England international has not looked back since.
Like Man City, Spurs are also still in Europe and indeed the FA Cup. They have a last-32 Europa League first leg against Fiorentina next Thursday, before welcoming Crystal Palace in the fifth round of the cup next weekend. Their next league match is not until February 28, when they will welcome Swansea City.
Pochettino, like Pellegrini, will have to balance his squad over the next few weeks to ensure high performance levels. The Premier League will take priority, however, because Spurs might never have a better chance to win the top prize.
Recent form: DLWWWW
Recent form (all competitions): WWWWWW
Yaya Toure was substituted in the defeat to Leicester last weekend, but the Ivorian is expected to start in a more advanced role, with Fernando and Fernandinho holding the midfield. Raheem Sterling should also keep his place on the left of the attack.
Pochettino, meanwhile, has no fresh injury concerns from their win over Watford last weekend, but Belgian centre-back Vertonghen is still out of action, meaning that Kevin Wimmer will start alongside Alderweireld in the centre of defence.
The Spurs boss has rotated his two full-backs throughout the season, but Ben Davies and Kieran Trippier are expected to keep their spots ahead of Danny Rose and Kyle Walker. Further forward, Alli should return to the XI after starting on the bench last weekend, with Nacer Chadli dropping out.
Man City possible starting lineup:
Hart; Zabaleta, Kompany, Otamendi, Kolarov; Fernandinho, Fernando; Sterling, Toure, Silva; Aguero
Spurs possible starting lineup:
Lloris; Trippier, Wimmer, Alderweireld, Davies; Dembele, Dier; Alli, Eriksen, Lamela; Kane
Head To Head
Goals seem guaranteed in this match-up when taking into account the recent meetings between the two teams. In the last nine Premier League fixtures between Man City and Spurs, there have been 41 goals scored.
It has been a clash dominated by Man City, who have won eight and lost just two of their last 10 Premier League meetings with Spurs, including victories in each of their last five in this stadium.
That said, as mentioned, Spurs recorded a 4-1 victory when the pair met in the reverse match at White Hart Lane in September.
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We say: Man City 2-1 Spurs
This could be a cracking game at the Etihad. In Aguero and Kane, two of the best strikers in the league will be on display and the latter will fancy his chances against what has been a poor Man City defence this season.
The hosts are still formidable going forward, however, and will cause Spurs problems in the final third of the field. Man City are the favourites at the Etihad and we think that the home side will just edge it.