Preview: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Manchester City – prediction, team news, lineups
Spurs are currently sixth in the Premier League table, six points off fourth-placed Chelsea, while reigning champions City occupy second, some 19 points behind runaway leaders Liverpool.
It has certainly not been plain sailing for Jose Mourinho since the Portuguese replaced Mauricio Pochettino as Tottenham boss in the latter stages of 2019, although the club will feel that they are very much in the argument for fourth position as things stand.
A four-game winless run in the league between December 28 and January 18 saw them lose some ground on the teams around them, but the capital side picked up a huge three points at home to Norwich City on January 22.
As it stands, Spurs are sixth in the Premier League table, level on points with fifth-placed Manchester United and six behind Chelsea, who still sit fourth despite losing eight league matches this term.
Harry Kane‘s absence following hamstring surgery has harmed Tottenham, and at the time of writing, the club has not secured a striker on deadline day despite a host of speculation.
It is a busy period of the season for Mourinho’s side as they face an FA Cup fourth-round replay against Southampton next week before travelling to Aston Villa in the league on February 16. Then comes the first leg of their last-16 Champions League clash against an impressive RB Leipzig side three days later.
A new striker might not have arrived this month, but Spurs announced the signing of Steven Bergwijn from PSV Eindhoven earlier this week. The 22-year-old has managed five goals and 10 assists in 16 Eredivisie appearances this season and will be involved in some capacity against City.
Spurs are actually winless in their last six Premier League meetings with City, though, and have not beaten them on home soil since October 2016, which is an indication of the size of their task this weekend.
What’s more, Tottenham have only claimed one point from a possible 18 this season against teams above them in the table heading into this weekend’s action. They have also kept just two clean sheets in 17 games under Mourinho, which will certainly hand City huge confidence heading into the match.
Mourinho will surely relish the chance to lock horns with Pep Guardiola once again, but the Portuguese will certainly be wary of the type of damage that the champions could inflict in the English capital.
Unless something quite staggering occurs, City will not be retaining the Premier League title. Indeed, they sit 19 points behind leaders Liverpool on the same number of matches, meaning that only a serious collapse from Jurgen Klopp‘s side will prevent them from winning the championship.
City have managed to wrestle second spot away from Leicester City, though, and are three points clear of the Foxes ahead of the next set of matches. The Citizens have lost five Premier League games this season, however, which is an indication of their problems.
The English champions have won their last five Premier League away games in North London, though, overcoming both Arsenal and Tottenham in the process. What’s more, they have triumphed in 11 of their last 12 league fixtures in London.
City will actually enter this match off the back of a defeat, although the 1-0 loss to Manchester United on Wednesday night did not mean too much as they still progressed to the EFL Cup final 3-2 on aggregate.
Guardiola’s side also advanced in the FA Cup with a 4-0 win over Fulham last weekend, while their last Premier League match ended in a 1-0 victory over Sheffield United on January 21.
City have actually won four of their last five Premier League matches on the road, scoring 14 times in the victories over Burnley, Arsenal, Aston Villa and Sheffield United.
There is little doubting that the Citizens will be going for both domestic cups once again, while they will also be desperate to make a serious impression in the Champions League, where Real Madrid are waiting in the last-16.
All City can do in the league is keep winning and hope that Liverpool somehow fall apart, and there is simply no downplaying the importance of this weekend’s eye-catching contest to both clubs.
Tottenham Premier League form: WDLLDW
Tottenham form (all competitions): DLWDWD
Man City Premier League form: LWWWDW
Man City form (all competitions): WWDWWL
Tottenham will again be without the services of Kane, Moussa Sissoko and Ben Davies through injury, but Mourinho otherwise has a fully-fit squad heading into the contest.
Bergwijn is pushing for a start but might have to accept a spot on the bench with Son Heung-min and Lucas Moura both expected to feature in the final third of the field.
Tanguy Ndombele, Davinson Sanchez and Japhet Tanganga are all pushing for spots in the XI, while Dele Alli could operate in a central position having improved on his early-season form.
Mourinho has sprung a tactical surprise on more than one occasion this season, though, and a back five with Serge Aurier and Ryan Sessegnon operating in the wide areas cannot be ruled out.
As for City, Leroy Sane is not yet ready despite making excellent progress in his recovery from a knee injury, but Guardiola said on Friday that Aymeric Laporte, Fernandinho and Benjamin Mendy were all available.
Laporte and Fernandinho are likely to return as the two centre-backs, while Oleksandr Zinchenko could return to the team at left-back with Joao Cancelo expected to drop out.
Ilkay Gundogan could be given the nod over Bernardo Silva in the middle of the park, while Riyad Mahrez is expected to keep his spot alongside Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling in attack.
There will also be a return between the sticks for number one goalkeeper Ederson, who was left out against Man United in the EFL Cup with Claudio Bravo handed the chance to impress.
Tottenham possible starting lineup:
Lloris; Aurier, Alderweireld, Sanchez, Tanganga; Lo Celso, Winks, Ndombele; Alli; Lucas, Son
Man City possible starting lineup:
Ederson; Walker, Fernandinho, Laporte, Zinchenko; Gundogan, Rodri, De Bruyne; Mahrez, Aguero, Sterling
Head To Head
City lead the overall head-to-head 63 wins to Tottenham’s 61, while there have also been 36 draws between the two English rivals throughout history.
The pair played out a 2-2 draw at the Etihad Stadium earlier this season, although City recorded a 1-0 victory when they last travelled to Spurs in the Premier League, with Mahrez scoring the game’s only goal.
Tottenham have only actually won one of the last eight meetings between the two teams in all competitions, but the capital outfit managed to progress in last season’s Champions League at City’s expense