Manchester City, 5-0 conqueror of West Ham last weekend, continue the defence of their Premier League trophy when they host Tottenham Hotspur at the Etihad.
Under the pressure of expectation last Saturday following rivals Liverpool’s 4-1 thrashing of Norwich the evening before, Pep Guardiola’s side stepped up to the mark with a scintillating performance.
England international Raheem Sterling helped himself to a fine hattrick as the Citizens completed a demolition job on the toothless Hammers to instantly place themselves at the top of the table.
A stellar display of clinical, attacking football! ⚡️
— Manchester City (@ManCity) August 10, 2019
Next is a first outing of the season at the Etihad and Champions League finalists Tottenham Hotspur are the visitors.
Spurs were 3-1 winners at home to Aston Villa on the opening weekend but they weren’t quite as convincing as the scoreline suggests.
Truth is, Mauricio Pocchettino’s men trailed that game for over an hour before Tanguy NDombele’s stunning debut equaliser, and a quick fire double from Harry Kane helped them snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
Despite the victory, the Spurs boss should still be worried about some noticeable gaps in his squad. The Lilywhites were terrible versus Aston Villa until Christian Eriksen was introduced. But with the Danish playmaker still pushing for a move to Spain, Spurs’ campaign could be derailed even before the season gains momentum.
Another enemy as daunting as the champions at the Etihad is Tottenham’s terrible away form. The Londoners ended last season losing their final 6 Premier League away games on the bounce, thus it becomes clear that their chances in this particular game don’t exactly look promising either.
Especially when facing a Manchester City side who are playing the best football in the country and have now won an absurd 15 league games on the trot.
Pep Guardiola’s Premier League Record
🏟 115 Matches
✅ 88 Wins
🤝 15 Draws
❌ 12 Defeats
⚽️ 286 Goals Scored
❌ 89 Goals Conceded
📊 77% Win Ratio
🏆 2 Premier League Titles
— EPL Statman (@EPLStatman) August 13, 2019
Man City have won their last 9 home league games and took the 3 points in all but 1 of their home matches last season.
In addition, they have also won 7 of their last 9 Premier League home games against Spurs, losing just once.
13 of Manchester City’s 18 home league wins last season were by more than a single goal margin as well, including 3 of their 5 matches at home to fellow Big 6 teams.
Man to watch
Raheem Sterling claimed an astonishing 17 goals and 12 assists in his 34 league appearances last term and he appears to have picked up from right where he stopped by blasting three goals past West Ham last time.
It would not be wise to bet against a player who has found the net 5 times in his last 6 games against Spurs, with 4 of those coming in his last 3 appearances against them at the Etihad.
What the managers say
Pep believes his team is up against one of Europe’s best teams and a potential title challenger at the Etihad on Saturday.
“We learnt how good they are on many occasions,” said Pep.
“They’re the second-best team in Europe.
“Since i came here to England they’ve been a real contender every season. The first season they finished second… they’ve always been there or thereabouts.
“Of course, it’s an exciting game against one of the best teams in Europe. It’s always exciting to face Manchester City.”
Mauricio Pocchettino knows it won’t be easy when they face the champions but he is relishing the challenge.
“They are so impressive, a solid team, well-organised with a lot of quality. In the last few years they have showed their quality and it’s going to be a massive challenge for us at the Etihad. It’s tough – for both sides – and we’ll give our best and try to get a good result,” the Spurs boss said.
“I always look forward to it (facing Pep), yes, it’s good to face him. That means we are in the race. It’s always a pleasure to face someone who, for me, is the best coach in the world.”