Manchester City’s Premier League title defence continues on Sunday as out-of-sorts Tottenham Hotspur touch down at the Etihad Stadium.
You can never write the Cityzens off. Despite falling two goals behind at half-time of their Champions League clash against RB Leipzig on Tuesday, Pep Guardiola’s side ran out 3-2 winners.
An astonishing second-half comeback protected City’s 100% record in Group G, helping them erase the memory of a gut-wrenching 1-1 home league draw against Liverpool last weekend.
Erling Braut Haaland, who opened the scoring in that fixture, was on the scoresheet against Leipzig, maintaining his formidable run of scoring form to four straight matches.
Last season’s Premier League Golden Boot winner will hug the spotlight again. The Norwegian played a pivotal role as Man City overhauled a 2-0 deficit to beat Tottenham 4-2 in this corresponding fixture in 2022/23.
Taking the lead has been a virtual certainty for Spurs this term as they’ve opened the scoring in a league-high ten games, including the last seven on the trot.
However, breaking the deadlock wouldn’t conclusively inspire Ange Postecoglou’s side to an unlikely win at the Etihad, where they’ve only been victorious once on their last seven top-flight visits (D2, L4).
Spurs have developed a nasty habit of squandering early leads, having lost their last three Premier League outings despite going 1-0 up inside the opening 25 minutes on each occasion.
Before Trent Alexander-Arnold’s late equaliser denied them a historic achievement, Man City had won 23 consecutive home matches across all competitions.
Guardiola’s side spurned a unique opportunity to complete the longest-ever winning streak by an English top-flight club but still made it five straight league games without losing (W3, D2).
Man City must return to winning ways to stay within striking distance of the table’s summit. That’s a realistic prospect, considering they last went winless in three consecutive league games in April 2017.
Tottenham’s recent fall from grace can only inspire more confidence around the home camp, with injury-hit Spurs running out of steam after a promising start.
After becoming the first manager in Premier League history to win 26 points in his first ten games in charge, Postecoglou has overseen three league defeats on the bounce.
Last Sunday’s 2-1 home loss to Aston Villa saw Tottenham become only the fourth club in the Premier League era to lose three successive matches after drawing first blood.
In their defence, Lady Luck smiled at Unai Emery’s team in that enthralling contest in north London as Son Heung-min scored a hat-trick, only for VAR to rule him out each time.
Kevin De Bruyne remains the only definite absentee in the home squad, with Matheus Nunes and Mateo Kovacic facing a race against time to make themselves available for selection.
James Maddison, Richarlison, Micky van de Ven, Ivan Perisic, Ryan Sessegnon and Manor Solomon have got company in the infirmary as Rodrigo Bentancur renewed his niggling injury against Villa.
On the upside, Postecoglou will welcome Cristian Romero and Yves Bissouma back from suspension.
Manchester City potential starting line-up:
(4-2-3-1): Ederson; Kyle Walker, Ruben Dias, Manuel Akanji, Josko Gvardiol; Rodri, John Stones; Bernardo Silva, Julian Alvarez, Jack Grealish; Erling Haaland.
Tottenham Hotspur potential starting line-up:
(4-2-3-1): Guglielmo Vicario; Pedro Porro, Cristian Romero, Eric Dier, Emerson Royal; Yves Bissouma, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg; Dejan Kulusevski, Giovani Lo Celso, Brennan Johson; Son Heung-min.
We Say: Manchester City 3-1 Tottenham Hotspur
The writing is on the wall as Tottenham take this ominous-looking trip amid a rough patch, not to mention without numerous first-team stars.
Given Man City’s propensity for conceding cheap goals and Spurs’ attacking-minded football under Postecoglou, it’s hard to put it past the visitors to find the net.
But it should still be insufficient to save them at the Etihad.
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