Tottenham are an excellent team. They have one of the best managers in the world, reached the Champions League final last season, and splashed out £80m on new players this summer. With pedigree like that, how on earth are they priced at 7/1 to win any game of football?
Ah, of course. They’re away to Manchester City this weekend.
That’s where the Premier League has got to, folks. Even one of it’s very best teams only has about a one in nine shot of leaving the Etihad with three points. And bear in mind, Spurs beat City on aggregate last season to knock them out of the Champions League, but still aren’t fancied to emerge victorious on Saturday evening.
It’s easy to see why not though. Since the half way point of 2018/19, the champions have won 19 of their 20 league matches, including the last 15 in a row. With a record that strong, is it any wonder they’re priced at just 3/10 to win here?
It’s not as if Tottenham were great in the big league matches last season either. With two wins from 10, Spurs finished second bottom of the top six mini league. Their only away win came against Mourinho’s United, which barely counts. The Lilywhites have also only taken four points from their last nine league visits to the blue half of Manchester.
And whisper it quietly, as nobody seems to have noticed, but Pochettino’s side lost their last six league games on the road at the end of last season. Even Huddersfield picked up an away point in that spell.
Tottenham will have to stop clowning around away from home before I’ll back them in a big game. City all the way in this one.
With odds for a home win that skinny, we need to find a way to turn them in our favour. You could look at a handicap bet, but the last four meetings of these teams have all been settled by a single goal. Instead, take a look at the half time/full time market. City won all five of their home league games against the rest of the top six in 2018/19, and they were ahead at the break every time.
That was also true of their 4-3 win over Spurs in the Champions League, even if that result saw them go out.
Pep Guardiola’s side should get ahead early, and stay there on Saturday.
On the face of it, City vs. Spurs is often a low-scoring match. Three of the last four meetings have seen one of the teams win 1-0. But in Manchester, there’s usually bags of goals. Yes, it was a 1-0 home win last time out, but the five previous clashes all paid out on over 2.5 goals, and averaged 4.4 per match. And prior to that 1-0, City’s last five league games against other top sides at the Etihad also featured at least three goals. That 1-0 was an anomaly – expect goals here.
It’s unfortunate for Tottenham that Son Heung-Min is suspended. The South Korean forward scored three goals against City last season, which is more than Harry Kane has managed against them in his entire career. Kane has also failed to do much at the Etihad either – aside from a penalty in 2016, he’s had just four shots from his three previous visits.
For better value, and assuming he hasn’t moved to Madrid to live with Kieran Trippier, I think Christian Eriksen might get on the score sheet. He’s done so in two of Spurs’ last three league visits to City, and looks poised to start after a fine cameo against Villa.
Raheem Sterling has begun 2019/20 in sizzling form. The champions’ number seven scored his first ever goal against Liverpool, then bagged a hat-trick at West Ham’s baseball athletics stadium. He’d have had an assist there too if he hadn’t foolishly breathed into an offside position.
With five goals in his last six matches against Spurs, Sterling looks like the betting pick of the weekend. Plus you get your money back as a free bet if he scores.