With the small matter of the greatest ever Champions League match behind them, Manchester City and Tottenham lock horns again on Saturday (12.30pm) with Premier League points at stake.
City will need to rouse themselves from their last-minute heartbreak and the champions will be looking to leapfrog Liverpool ahead of the Reds’ trip to Cardiff on Sunday. Pep’s boys are already down to 4/5 to win the title, and their European exit can only help them from here on in.
Spurs will hope to cement their place in the top four by successfully navigating their final league fixture against a fellow big six side this season.
The problem for Pochettino is that winning such matches has generally been a problem in 2018/19, even if they did recently beat City at home in Europe. Tottenham currently sit second bottom of the big six mini league for 2018/19, with two wins from their nine league matches so far.
The good news for Spurs is that Harry Kane is out.
That might be stretching the truth a little, but Tottenham have won all five league matches he has missed this season, plus the home game with Dortmund too.
They should play without him more often.
Perhaps a more relevant fact ahead of this one is that Spurs have lost their last four league games away from home, conceding at least twice each time, and – lest we forget – they let in three on Wednesday.
They were unlucky at Liverpool and rarely do well at Stamford Bridge, but defeats at Burnley and Southampton hardly bode well ahead of this one. Revenge is a powerful motivator, so in light of the skinny odds for the home win I’ll take a handicap bet.
Best bet: Manchester City -1 at 8/11.
The smart money also has to be on plenty of entertainment. The last seven league meetings in Manchester have seen a whopping 31 goals in total, with at least three scored every time. Plus the small matter of seven in midweek. Or was it eight, Pep?
And don’t let the early kick-off time put you off either. Lunchtime matches have a reputation for being languid, dull affairs, but that isn’t always the case. The last three seasons have seen 14 matches among big six sides kick off at 12:30, and collectively they’ve averaged 2.6 goals. It probably helps that Mourinho’s United were the away team for only two of them.
Since Pep took charge, City lead the big six mini league for home games where both teams have scored, and also where there has been at least three goals. I don’t see any reason for that not to continue here, and Paddy agrees with me.
Sergio Aguero leads the betting in the goal scorer markets. The Argentine striker has bagged eight goals in league game among the big six this season, which is only three fewer than Spurs have scored. It also one more than Manchester United have mustered too, which should come in handy when they meet next Wednesday.
Aguero scored hat-tricks at home to both Arsenal and Chelsea this season. Will he complete a hat-trick of London hat-tricks here? It’s 9/1 if you think he can. But Sergio isn’t their most in-form forward. That honour falls to Raheem Sterling, who has scored 12 goals in his last 10 matches for club and country.
Aguero can only offer up six in return, the massive fraud.
Sterling seems to like facing Spurs too, as with seven goals against them they’re his favourite big club for netting against. An eighth in midweek would’ve been handy though.
With Kane absent, Son Heung-Min is Spurs’ top available scorer this season. He got the winner when these teams clashed last week, and a brace on Wednesday.
When it comes to league games against other top six sides though, Lucas Moura is their main man (and that includes Kane, if you exclude penalties). However, as Son is banned for their next European game so can give it everything, and will be buzzing from his brace in midweek, I think he’ll strike again here.
Best bet: Son Heung-Min to score at anytime 11/4.
*Prices correct at time of publishing