Since Jose Mourinho took charge of Tottenham, they have the fifth best record in the Premier League and have only been six points worse than their next opponents, Manchester City, in that spell.
However, even in the small sample of 12 games, there appears to have been a post-Pochettino bounce followed by a bump down to reality. Mourinho’s Spurs won four of his first five league games, but have only been victorious in two of the seven since then. Of greatest concern with an eye on this fixture is that they have lost all three matches against other big clubs, going down to Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool with only one goal scored to show for their efforts.
Tottenham have also only won two of their nine games without Harry Kane this season. Those triumphs came against Middlesbrough and Norwich too, which isn’t exactly the same challenge as facing the champions.
The final nail in the home side’s coffin would appear to be Mourinho’s record against Pep Guardiola.
He has faced him 22 times – more than any other manager – but only has five wins.
Despite all the negativity piled up above, Tottenham have won three of the last six meetings in north London and picked up a point at the Etihad earlier this season. City have lost to far worse teams than Spurs this season – United twice, for starters – while the nerdy underlying numbers for 2019/20 give Spurs a better chance than Paddy does too.
But there’s looking for value in the market and there’s throwing your money away. With one win in their seven home league games against the top sides since the start of last season, it’s impossible to go for Spurs. Since Pep pitched up at City, his side have the most home wins in the big six mini-league and Tottenham the most home losses. And so it goes.
Whether they’ve been at White Hart Lane, Wembley or the – surely named by the makers of International Superstar Soccer – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Spurs’ home league matches against the big boys have on the whole been devoid of goals.
In their 17 such games since the start of the 2016/17 season, there have only been 40 goals in total, with over 2.5 just six times and both teams scoring in eight. All three of these figures are the lowest seen for any side in the big six. The presence of Mike Dean in the centre will ensure a degree of entertainment, but how about the teams?
City’s record on the road suggests not. Only one of their last seven away league matches against another big club has seen both teams score. The Champions League trip to Spurs last season ended in a 1-0 defeat too.
With Aymeric Laporte back on board and Tottenham only having scored six goals in their last seven league matches – with four of the goals coming against bottom-of-the-table Norwich City – this should be a low scoring encounter. I’d definitely consider City to win to nil at 2/1.
With Kane absent and Spurs light on goals, a lot will rest upon the shoulders of Heung-Min Son. He had only scored one goal in seven league games recently, but then netted against Norwich and followed it up with an FA Cup goal at Southampton.
Son also scored the winner against City in their home Champions League match last season and bagged two more in the return leg. He was one of the scorers the last time Tottenham beat a big six team at home, and while I’m not convinced Spurs will beat Ederson, the South Korean looks to be their best hope.
Tottenham are Sergio Aguero’s third favourite opponent for scoring against. The Argentine has 11 goals against Spurs, with 15 against Chelsea and Newcastle. He’s never a bad shout for a scorer bet and leads the market here at 8/11
For better value, I like the chances of Kevin de Bruyne. The Tintin lookalike is only one shy of matching his best goal return in a Premier League campaign and is actually City’s top scorer in the big six mini-league this season. He assisted both of their goals last time they played Spurs, and I think he might score one here.