In a titanic Premier League matchup on Thursday evening at the Etihad, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur hope to rebound from their respective weekend derby defeats.
Last time out, Pep Guardiola’s team lost to Manchester United 2-1, while the Lilywhites lost 2-0 to rivals Arsenal in North London.
Match Preview Pep Guardiola may have felt let down at Old Trafford, where Man United came back from a goal behind to close the gap on their noisy neighbors. He boldly claimed that he “does not care” about the future of the Premier League title as his team falls further adrift of the Mikel Arteta-led Arsenal.
The champions took the lead with a goal from Jack Grealish, but Bruno Fernandes scored after Marcus Rashford was controversially found not to have been interfering with play from an offside position. Rashford completed the turnaround in the final minute.
Man City remain second in the rankings despite being eight points behind Arsenal in the same number of games, although they will temporarily reduce that gap to five with success on Thursday. They have entered the rare territory of consecutive defeats, losing their prized EFL Cup to Southampton last week.
Man United and Newcastle United, on the other hand, are only one point behind City, who could even fall to third if the Red Devils beat Crystal Palace on Wednesday night. However, the champions who have suffered a humiliating defeat are typically a force to be reckoned with on their turf.
The hosts, on the other hand, have lost to Brentford and Everton in their last two games at the Etihad despite having previously won 11 straight top-flight games there. However, Guardiola has only once gone three home games without winning a league game as manager, and that was in December 2016.
Antonio Conte, the dejected manager of Tottenham who had no complaints after seeing his team lose a completely deserved North London derby defeat to the Gunners on Sunday evening, believes that now only Man City and Arsenal can compete for the title.
Hugo Lloris, who continues to make rods for his own back this season, scored an inexplicable own goal in the first half before Martin Odegaard’s shot finished the job. However, things turned ugly at the final whistle when a spectator made his way onto the advertising boards and managed to kick Aaron Ramsdale, Arsenal’s number one player and number one wind-up merchant.
Tottenham’s bid for Champions League qualification and their efforts to persuade Conte to agree to a new contract is failing as they occupy fifth position in the standings and are currently five points behind Man United having played a game more. Richarlison’s set-up with Ramsdale appears to be also facing a substantial fine.
Conte’s team has only won three of their last nine Premier League games, which is not very good for a team competing for a spot in the top four. However, in a reversal of those results, Conte’s team has scored nine goals in their last three away games in the Premier League, and it is not unusual for Spurs to score one goal over Guardiola.
The Lilywhites beat the champions twice last season, winning spectacularly 3-2 at the Etihad and then winning four of their last five Premier League games against Man City. However, it would take a brave person to bet confidently on the North Londoners to repeat that feat here.
Although Guardiola will be without two of his primary center backs, John Stones and Ruben Dias, for the derby, he has stated that John Stones is getting closer to returning from a thigh injury, but Thursday’s game may still be too soon for him to return to the starting lineup.
Stones, on the other hand, hasn’t recovered from an unidentified problem in time and is doubtful for this one as well. However, Guardiola has the luxury of having Aymeric Laporte on the bench, and the Spain international could now force his way back in as “Pep roulette” comes to the forefront. Stones are also doubtful for this one.
Erling Braut Haaland will attempt to avoid going three games without a goal for only the second time in the top five European leagues at the Etihad, where Ilkay Gundogan, Jack Grealish, and Julian Alvarez should also be in the running for starting positions.
Dejan Kulusevski returned to the first XI in the North London derby and carried the fight to the Gunners in the second half, so Conte has also witnessed Tottenham’s treatment room empty in recent weeks.
Although Lucas Moura (tendon) remains out as he nears the end of his Spurs contract, Rodrigo Bentancur (groin) was not risked on Sunday. However, the Uruguayan should have a strong chance of making his comeback at the Etihad.
Harry Kane, the Tottenham talisman, is one goal away from matching Jimmy Greaves’ long-standing record of 266 for the club. He needs just two more goals to reach 200 in the Premier League, and he has fond memories of the Etihad after scoring twice against the champions last season.
A possible starting lineup for Manchester City:
Ederson; Cancelo, Walker, Akanji, and Laporte; De Bruyne, Rodri, and Gundogan; Possible starting lineup for Tottenham Hotspur: Silva, Haaland, and Grealish
Lloris; Dier, Romero, and Davies; Hojbjerg, Bentancur, Perisic, and Doherty; Kulusevski, Kane, and Son are players to watch. Haaland hasn’t scored in City’s last three games, and he’ll be desperate to break that streak here.
One of the few positives for Tottenham in that derby defeat was Dejan Kulusevski’s return from injury. The Swede is a class act at 11/1 with Unibet for anytime scorer, which makes him appear overpriced.
Prediction of the Match:
Manchester City 3-0 Tottenham Hotspur Conte can boast with pride that he has Guardiola’s number. Although Tottenham has unquestionably enjoyed the better of this fixture in recent times, the Lilywhites’ previous successes should be ignored as they struggle for inspiration across the board.
This should be the ideal game for Guardiola’s refreshed champions, who have had more than a day’s rest, to get back on track. North London-induced shocks have occurred at the Etihad before, but it is too much of an ask to back the visitors after the derby on Sunday.