Who: Manchester City vs Tottenham
When: Saturday, August 17th @ 12:30 pm ET on NBC Sports
Where: The Etihad
Line: Manchester City -286 | Draw +450 | Tottenham +700
Well, the Premier League title defense got off to the perfect start for Manchester City. Pep Guardiola’s side crushed West Ham United 5-0 to kick-off their campaign, which doesn’t really seem surprising if you see they’ve scored 22 goals at the London Stadium in recent years.
Going by their untouchable dominance, there aren’t many to stop their annihilation. However, UEFA Champions League finalists Tottenham Hotspur could have something else in mind Mauricio Pochettino’s side threw the proverbial kitchen sink at Aston Villa, with their relentless attacking nature proving they’re capable of blowing away any side. Tread carefully, Pep Guardiola.
Manchester City Likely XI:
Ederson, Cancelo, Stones, Laporte, Zinchenko, Rodri, De Bruyne, Bernardo, Mahrez, Sterling, Aguero.
It’s probably affirmative towards their unbelievable depth that even without regular starters like Sergio Aguero or Bernardo Silva that City destroyed West Ham. Both players should start at the Etihad Stadium knowing their comfort at home. New signing Joao Cancelo made the bench on Saturday, but should get his debut to weave his magic against Spurs.
Tottenham Hotspur Likely XI:
Lloris, Walker-Peters, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose, Ndombele, Sissoko, Eriksen, Son, Kane, Moura.
Tottenham Hotspur’s newest signing Tanguy Ndombele had a dream debut against Villa. Now, he’ll be expected to prove his mettle against the daunting Man City. Spurs’ other signings Ryan Sessegnon, Giovani Lo Celso are still being phased in, while Dele Alli is still injured. However, Heung-Min Son should draft back in after serving his suspension, as should the influential Christian Eriksen.
Manchester City vs Tottenham Hotspur Match Preview
Going by the attacking intensity both sides displayed in Matchday 1, this should be an end-to-end encounter. Of course, overruling the champions at their own yard is no joke, but Mauricio Pochettino’s sides’ fearlessness could result in a feisty encounter.
However, City love breaking spirits. With RaheemSterling scoring, Mahrez assisting and De Bruyne dominating the midfield, the champions look just as good (if not better) as last season. With Aguero’s as well as Bernardo Silva’s introduction, the lethality meter will spike up.
Considering they netted 57 goals (more than 3 per game) at home last season, City’s impenetrable home rule should continue through this season. However, John Stones’ uneasy moments in defense last week raised questions. Guardiola needs to fix that to neutralize Harry Kane and co.
Tottenham are looking a more menacing unit this season. They attempted 24 shots against Aston Villa in an absolute unrelenting approach. With Tanguy Ndombele’s dynamic presence in midfield, Spurs’ fluidity in possession has been amplified. Harry’s Kane’s scoring early, Christian Eriksen’s assisting while Lucas Moura and Son remain persisting threats.
While both sets of wing-backs are crucial with their contribution on both sides of the field and center-backs vital to contain the onslaught, the real battle will be in midfield. As Spurs’ defensively solid, bullish trio take on City’s possession masters, sparks are bound to blow over.
Whoever dominates the midfield or breaks their opponents’ line should come out victorious. Of course, City also have revenge on their mind after the Champions League elimination earlier this year, so they’ll be out for blood like thirsty hounds.
This should be a thrilling, open encounter between two unflinching teams, producing plenty of goals. However, I don’t see Spurs unsettling City this early at the Etihad and Pep’s side should get another decisive win to retain their top spot.