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Preview: Manchester City vs. Tottenham Hotspur - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Premier League showdown between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur, which comes just three days after an epic Champions League contest.

Just three days after playing out an all-time classic in the Champions League, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur renew acquaintances again at the Etihad Stadium in the Premier League on Saturday lunchtime.

Man City know that only victory will be enough to see them leapfrog Liverpool at the top of the table, whereas Spurs also need a win to guarantee that they remain in the driving seat during a fiercely-competitive top-four race.


Man City

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola watches on during his side's Premier League clash with Cardiff City on April 3, 2019© Reuters

The quadruple dream is over, and suddenly Manchester City face the prospect of their season changing from historically good to relatively disappointing in the space of just three days.

Wednesday's Champions League exit by no means makes Man City any worse a team overnight, but it does present a rare challenge for the players of how they respond to their first major setback of what looked like being a dream campaign.

Pep Guardiola always warned of the difficulties of chasing on four fronts and - if his assertions were to be believed - he will not be surprised to have fallen short of completing the unprecedented clean sweep of trophies.

That is not to say that Wednesday's Champions League exit would not have hurt; the manner in which it happened - particularly considering the wild fluctuation of emotions surrounding Raheem Sterling's disallowed stoppage-time 'winner' - are bound to have cut deep, and however good City are it will not be easy to pick themselves up for another huge match just three days later.

However, Spurs will also be wary of City looking for revenge. Guardiola's side could well be a wounded animal heading into this match, and at the very least the end of their Champions League hopes will surely only increase their desire to successfully defend the Premier League title.

That trophy remains in their own hands having played a game fewer than leaders Liverpool, but City's season-defining seven-day run sees them take on Manchester United at Old Trafford next Wednesday and anything other than maximum points from that top-six double-header could hand the initiative back to Jurgen Klopp's men.

It just so happens that Man City have won more points against the 'big six' than any other side this season (19), and it should not be forgotten that they did actually beat Spurs in midweek, despite ultimately crashing out on away goals.

Indeed, the first leg of that tie is the only match City have failed to win in their last 17 outings across all competitions, and incredibly they have won all 13 of their matches at the Etihad Stadium since the turn of the year, scoring 53 goals in the process.

In the Premier League alone Man City are on a nine-match winning streak, and should they extend that to 14 then the title will be theirs - not to mention the prospect of an FA Cup final to come and the EFL Cup already secure in their trophy cabinet.

The Champions League exit is not enough on its own to derail what has still been a remarkable season, then, but now it is all about their response and anything other than victory on Saturday could put their campaign on the road to ruin in the final stretch.

Recent Premier League form: WWWWWW
Recent form (all competitions): WWWLWW


Tottenham

Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino watches on during the Premier League clash with Newcastle on February 2, 2019© Reuters

The scenes of jubilation at the final whistle on Wednesday showed what reaching the semi-final of the Champions League for the first time in Tottenham's history meant to the players and manager Mauricio Pochettino.

The size of the achievement should not be underestimated; Spurs did not sign a single player during either transfer window, have had delays regarding their new stadium hanging over them for much of the campaign and completed the job against City without their talisman Harry Kane.

Now the Londoners can realistically dream of going all the way and lifting the biggest European club trophy of all, 11 years after winning their last major piece of silverware.

It would be some way to end their well-publicised drought, although with Ajax and then either Liverpool or Barcelona to beat before that becomes a reality, Spurs must still ensure that securing their place in next season's competition remains a priority.

The elation Wednesday brought them will no doubt increase their determination to secure a top-four finish, and that fate remains in their own hands. However, any slip-ups could prove costly from hereon in with only one point separating Spurs, Arsenal and Chelsea, and Manchester United then two points further back.

Spurs do at least seem to have returned to form just in time, winning their last two games without conceding after a five-game winless run in the top-flight which had seem them slump from title contenders to top-four battlers.

Man City at the Etihad Stadium is an entirely different proposition, though, and Pochettino will be aware that while a 4-3 defeat still did the job in midweek, a repeat result on Saturday would see them leave empty-handed this time around.

This weekend's match is Tottenham's last against another top-six team this season, which will come as a relief considering only Manchester United have won fewer points in the big-six mini-league than Spurs this season.

However, they have saved arguably the toughest for last, and fans will not be encouraged by Tottenham's woeful recent away form having lost seven of their last eight games on the road across all competitions.

That run includes four successive away league defeats, and a second Etihad reverse in the space of three days would see them beaten five times on the bounce on their travels for the first time since 2004.

Wednesday's match certainly did not feel like a defeat, though, and Tottenham's performances against City over both legs will surely give them confidence to believe that the champions can be toppled over 90 minutes this weekend.

Recent Premier League form: LDLLWW
Recent form (all competitions): LLWWWL


Team News

Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane suffers ankle injury in challenge with Manchester City's Fabian Delph in the Champions League on April 9, 2019.© Reuters

Spurs are still without star striker Harry Kane, who suffered a potentially season-ending ankle injury in the first leg of the Champions League tie between these two sides.

Son Heung-min and Lucas Moura have so far stepped up to the plate in his absence, though, and Spurs have won all five of their Premier League games without Kane this season.

Pochettino is likely to keep changes to a minimum considering the size of the game, although Ben Davies could return to the starting XI following the energy-sapping nature of Wednesday.

There is also likely to be an enforced change with Moussa Sissoko having limped off with a groin injury in the first half of the midweek contest, meaning that Harry Winks's expected return to fitness comes in timely fashion.

Man City also find themselves in the position of needing to keep players fresh with one eye perhaps on Manchester United, but also needing a win against top-class opposition.

Guardiola has greater strength in depth to call upon, though, and can welcome the likes of Leroy Sane, Fernandinho, John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi back into his starting lineup this weekend.

The form of Raheem Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva should be enough for them to retain their places in the starting lineup, while Sergio Aguero is again expected to lead the line.

The Argentine has failed to score in his last six league appearances against Spurs - having struck 10 times in his first seven - but needs only one more goal to become just the second player in Premier League history after Thierry Henry to score 20+ goals in five consecutive seasons.

Man City possible starting lineup:
Ederson; Walker, Stones, Otamendi, Mendy; De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Bernardo; Sterling, Aguero, Sane

Tottenham possible starting lineup:
Lloris; Trippier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies; Wanyama, Winks, Alli, Eriksen; Son, Lucas


Head To Head

Man City may have come off second best in the Champions League tie, but they have won the last three Premier League meetings between these two sides and another victory would see them equal the club record for consecutive top-flight wins in this fixture.

The reverse fixture at Wembley in October saw Man City edge to a 1-0 victory courtesy of an early Riyad Mahrez strike, while Tottenham's last league visit to the Etihad ended in a 4-1 defeat last season.

Indeed, Spurs have only won one of their last eight visits to the Etihad, but they could become the first team since Liverpool 10 years ago to win away at both Manchester clubs in the same season.


Sports Mole Logo

We say: Man City 3-1 Tottenham

If this match is half as good as Wednesday's contest then we are in for another treat. Spurs know that they can hurt Man City, but Guardiola's men are the type of team who can respond to such a setback in emphatic fashion. It is a fascinating showdown considering the recent Champions League ties, but we're backing Man City to continue their winning streak at home.


Who will win Saturday's Premier League clash between Man City and Tottenham?

Man City
Draw
Tottenham
Man City
55.8%
Draw
19.2%
Tottenham
25.0%
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Manchester City's Sergio Aguero scores against Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League on April 17, 2019
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CManchester CityMan City38322495237298
2Liverpool38307189226797
3Chelsea38219863392472
4Tottenham HotspurSpurs382321367392871
5Arsenal382171073512270
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd381991065541166
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves38169134746157
8Everton38159145446854
9Leicester CityLeicester38157165148352
10West Ham UnitedWest Ham38157165255-352
11Watford38148165259-750
12Crystal Palace38147175153-249
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle38129174248-645
14Bournemouth38136195670-1445
15Burnley38117204568-2340
16Southampton38912174565-2039
17Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton3899203560-2536
RCardiff CityCardiff38104243469-3534
RFulham3875263481-4726
RHuddersfield TownHuddersfield3837282276-5416

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