After the international break it is Manchester City and Spurs who kick off the Premier League action this weekend with Saturday’s lunchtime game at the Etihad Stadium.
City went into the break on back-to-back victories and second place in the Premier League. Spurs managed to scrape a 1-0 win at home to Southampton to move them up to sixth and only outside of the UEFA Champions League places on goal difference.
The home side have no reason to fear the visitors based on recent history – Manchester City have won six of the last seven meetings between these two and scored 23 of the 31 goals between these two sides during that run.
As a Spurs fan this is probably not the most enticing game, but you may be interested in the ticket prices for Tottenham Hotspur games afterwards.
Samir Nasri’s out, Fernandinho’s a doubt but otherwise Manuel Pellegrini has most of his squad available, depending on any fatigue picked up playing for or travelling to and from international duty.
Mauricio Pochettino is without right-backs Kyle Walker and Kyle Naughton. Eric Dier is available and has played most of the season so far in that position for Spurs. Hugo Lloris and Nacer Chadli are slight doubts and either of them not being fit for Saturday would be a blow for the visitors.
This seems the obvious choice for Manchester City. Eliaquim Mangala hasn’t been a rock to start his career at the club but we think he’ll stay in the lineup as he is the long-term plan. Yaya Touré hasn’t been his best this season but can only be dropped if he hasn’t recovered from international duty. James Milner has been in good form lately so would expect to stay on the right wing, also to help Pablo Zabaleta defend against Erik Lamela and Eric Dier.
Potentially there could be a change in the protection in front of the back four. Tottenham do like to sit back and hit teams on the counter under Pochettino but the defence on paper just doesn’t match up well at all to Manchester City. Going forward, Nacer Chadli has some goals this season and Christian Eriksen is a fine playmaker, but striker Emmanuel Adebayor has been somewhat useless.
Sergio Agüero vs Younès Kaboul
Tottenham’s captain looked woeful in the big matches last season and coming up against Sergio Agüero and co this weekend is not a good match up for the visitors. The Argentine striker should be ready to get his scoring up and running from this weekend after he’s overcome injury problems that hampered the start of his season. They scored six in this fixture last season so Agüero is perfectly capable of finding the net this weekend.
James Milner vs Danny Rose
Tottenham’s left-back certainly has the pace advantage but what Mauricio Pochettino sees in Danny Rose at left-back is yet to be made clear. With Pablo Zabaleta bombing on from right-back expect the right wing to play to Manchester City’s advantage. James Milner has been creating chances and setting up goals of late so don’t be surprised if he gets in on the action again this weekend.
Christian Eriksen vs Fernando
One area where Tottenham will like to win a battle is the attacking midfield. Christian Eriksen has opens either side of him to play in down the wings and Emmanuel Adebayor as the target man up front. Manchester City’s defence hasn’t been all that impressive this season so look for Spurs to see some opportunities on the counter with their Danish star pulling the strings.
Prediction: Manchester City 3-1 Spurs
Manchester City have been convincing winners more than once over the past few seasons. Mauricio Pochettino is one of the better tacticians they’ve had in recent years but defensively they still haven’t looked solid this season. International breaks often throw up a few surprises the following weekend but that’s about all the visitors have in their favour heading into Saturday.
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