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The only Man City and Spurs game ever worth watching was that one where Jon Macken scores the winner after an epic comeback for Kevin Keegan’s boys back in 2004. Realistically that Spurs team, even in their current state, would give Pep Guardiola a better run for his money than this current crop.
And while we’re not sure City will need to be coming back from three goals down to win here, there’s a real sense that this is going to be a defining game for Spurs in particular. I can hear the arguments about how Spurs are primed to beat City because the styles clash so much that playing on the break is easier against this system in Eastlands.
Saturday 5.30pm: Manchester City v Tottenham
Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Premier League
Guardiola tweaked this after that defeat and they’ve won all but two of their games since, including each of their last ten – outscoring teams 33-3 in the process. Oh, and of the goals they’ve conceded, only one of them was against an opposition player from open play: a 93rd-minute consolation from Callum Hudson-Odoi in a 3-1 win over Chelsea.
Spurs? Well, they’re five points ahead bottom-half Arsenal. This could be messy. But it could also be profitable. Here’s your Bet Builder for Guardiola versus Mourinho.
There’s more hope of Sam Allardyce sitting down to watch Notting Hill than there is of Spurs coming to the Etihad and getting something. Although with Sean Dyche on about rom-coms in a press conference last week, I’m not even fully sure the world is a safe place anymore to make those kinds of wagers.
Spurs’ only two clean sheets since their North London derby victory back in early December have come against Leeds (about as consistent as your mother-in-law’s roast dinners) and West Brom, who, for want of a better analogy, look like a Sam Allardyce team usually does in February. The Man City Win is open and shut from this angle, but it is slightly more interesting than many would have you believe, and I’ll tell you why.
While City have evidently improved from a defensive standpoint, they are still somewhat vulnerable down the flanks when they overload – and the reason for this isn’t systematic – it’s merely to do with personnel. More often than not, City have tinkered with the back four and while Joao Cancelo, Kyle Walker and Oleksandr Zinchenko are all capable in their own right – they’re not consistently featuring time and time again.
It makes it even more commendable that Pep’s crew have been as good at the back given the inconsistencies, but Son Heung-min down the left needs to be addressed and I can see a path to a goal for Spurs and therefore Both Teams to Score.
I think Spurs will Have Four or More Shots on Target and I wouldn’t be surprised if every single one of them came down the left-hand side with Son cutting in and Harry Kane’s movement pulling the runner out of his shooting lanes.
They’re going to need to be very, very good in order to combat the one-two punch in the final third and it’s so hard to close down both when they’re clearly capable of shooting from every angle.
Raheem Sterling is looking back to his best now and his recent run of form does make him a must-start for Guardiola. Not out of necessity of course, but more out of the fact that he’s playing the right passes at the right moments again, whereas before, when he was in the box, he’d be thinking too much.
Are we seeing a revitalised player? Possibly – he just needs goals to flow now and Guardiola may consider playing him more centrally going forward. Expect him to chance his arm and for Raheem Sterling to Have Two or More Shots on Target.
Tips for Man City v Spurs
These four selections in an acca-insured Bet Builder will give you odds of around 13/1 with Paddy Power.
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* All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widget, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.
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