There is a huge match at the top of the Premier League this weekend as Tottenham will host Manchester City in the late kick-off on Saturday. The home side will be looking to set a marker for next season and show that they can compete with the current league leaders. Meanwhile, the pressure will be on Pep Guardiola’s men to bounce back after three successive defeats. The league title remains a formality, but the recent results will serve as a reminder that the team aren’t the complete package yet. In the earlier match between the two teams this season, City won 4-1, but this was the first time that they had taken the three points in the last five meetings.
As things stand, it looks likely that Tottenham will finish in the top four for the third successive season. Mauricio Pochettino has done a great job since taking over at the club and the next challenge will be to compete for major honours. That isn’t possible this season, but a strong performance in this match will go a long way to showing that this team is capable of doing so in the future. They come into this fixture in good form, having taken five wins from their last five Premier League matches. Momentum is important in football and Spurs will want to carry theirs into next season.
Manchester City have been by far the best team in the Premier League this season, but they have shown weakness in recent weeks with three successive losses. It will be a huge disappointment that they went out of the Champions League at the quarter-final stage and their defeat to Liverpool showed that the team still have a long way from establishing themselves as one of Europe’s elite. Pep Guardiola has shown his quality as a coach this season, but he has now seen his team throw away a half-time lead in his last two matches and he needs to learn from those mistakes quickly. Although another defeat this weekend wouldn’t be costly, it would further damage the confidence of the squad.
Pep Guardiola has lost three consecutive matches in all competitions for the first time since May 2015 when he was the manager of Bayern Munich.
Dele Alli has now contributed ten assists this season, which is the most he has managed in a Premier League campaign.
The Danish international continues to be underrated, despite showing excellent consistency during the last few seasons. He is set to contribute more than ten goals and ten assists this season, which is seen as the landmark that great midfield players look to hit. Eriksen is hitting form at the right time too, as he has four goals and two assists in his last four matches across all competitions. There was some controversy regarding the second Tottenham goal last weekend, but the skill to create it from the midfielder was superb, regardless of whether Harry Kane got a touch or not. This weekend will see the 26-year-old go up against Kevin de Bruyne, who is regarded as the best creative midfielder in the Premier League. Given the form of Eriksen, there is a chance that the Spurs playmaker could outplay his opposite number and deliver another match-winning display. Manchester City have looked uncertain and nervy at the back in recent months. In Eriksen, Tottenham have a player that could exploit that and they will be looking for him to play well on Saturday under the Wembley lights.
It seems ridiculous to suggest that Kevin de Bruyne needs a good performance to get him out of a bad run of form considering he is a leading contender to win the PFA Player of the Year award, but he hasn’t been at his influential best in recent weeks. The poor results of the team are partly due to the slight decline from their star midfield player. During his last nine matches across all competitions, he has contributed only no goals and only one assist. Although his game isn’t focused on attacking contribution, a player of his quality will be disappointed by those returns. There are a number of factors at play for that run of form, but the main one is fatigue. The majority of the City first team look tired and that has made them a lot less effective on the pitch, with De Bruyne being one of the best examples of that. Regardless, a player as good as the 26-year-old won’t be kept down for long and it wouldn’t be a surprise if the occasion on Saturday is enough to get a much-improved performance from him.
Danny Rose is unlikely to feature as he continues to suffer from a calf injury, which means Ben Davies will start for the home team. Kyle Walker-Peters and Harry Winks will also be unavailable for selection.
John Stones is a major doubt for the visitors, while Benjamin Mendy remains on the long-term injury list. Sergio Aguero could make his first start since returning to action.
This is the standout fixture of the weekend and it is being played in the perfect time-slot. It will be interesting to see how Manchester City react as the last couple of weeks have been the first major test of their mental strength. This match means little in the context of the season for both teams, but it will have huge ramifications for the long-term trajectory of each side. On form, Tottenham are the most likely winners and the home advantage could play a part for them. However, it is difficult to see the visitors losing their fourth successive match considering the quality they possess. An entertaining score draw is the most likely result.
TOTTENHAM 2-2 MANCHESTER CITY