Manchester City-Tottenham Hotspur Match Preview
Updated: Feb 25
Following a midweek capitulation of Sporting FC in the Champions League, Pep Guardiola's men will be aiming to extend their 15 match unbeaten run against Tottenham at the Etihad this Saturday.
Antonio Conte's squad have been a bit uneven in recent weeks. Spurs experienced a strong run of results following the Italian's appointment as manager, but have stumbled since.
Tottenham were dumped out of the League Cup in the semifinals by Chelsea in convincing fashion, losing 3-0 on aggregate. Spurs have also lost their last two Premier League games against Crystal Palace (3-2) and Wolves (2-0).
Conte has also been unable to sort out his backline as of late, as Spurs have conceded 12 goals in their last five matches across all competitions. The Italian manager is known for building teams that are difficult to break down. So far, he has been unable to figure out the right team setup to do that at Tottenham.
While current form would indicate that Manchester City should breeze to yet another victory, Spurs have proven to be a thorn in City's side in recent seasons. In their last five matches against Spurs, City have won once, drawn once, and lost three times.
Tottenham's counter attack, led by Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min, has been difficult for City to contain. Guardiola has also been unable to figure out a blue print to consistently break Spurs down, as City have failed to score in three of their last five matches against their North London rivals.
The match should have a similar flow to the previous matches played between the two clubs. City will dominate possession, while Tottenham will sit deep and look for their opportunity to spring forward on the break.
The two keys to the match for City will be containing Spurs' counter attack and finding a way to break Spurs' down. Denying service into Kane will be crucial in order to stifle Tottenham's ability to threaten Ederson's goal.
As far as the 11 that Guardiola is likely to deploy, it is difficult to imagine that the Catalan manager will make many changes from the team that eviscerated Sporting midweek.
Ruben Dias is undroppable in defense, who will partner him is up for debate. John Stones, Aymeric Laporte, and Joao Cancelo have hardly put a foot wrong in recent weeks. Cancelo will most likely start on the left, while one of Stones or Laporte could make way for Kyle Walker to come back into the team.
In midifield, the trio of Rodri, Bernardo Silva, and Kevin De Bruyne have been magnificent as of late. Starting the three of them once again would seem sensible, but Guardiola could always opt to deploy Ilkay Gundogan as well.
In attack the in form Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez would appear likely to keep their places, while Phil Foden should retain his false nine position. However, with the attack being so fluid this season this is the area where Guardiola is most likely to make a surprise selection.