- Adam Howarth
Everything you need to know, Predicted XI – Manchester City vs Tottenham Hotspur Preview
Having suffered back-to-back defeats for the first time this season against Southampton and in the Manchester derby, Manchester City welcome Tottenham Hotspur to the Etihad on Thursday, 19 January, hoping to finally return to winning ways.
The match will kick off at 8 pm (GMT) and will be televised on Sky Sports in the United Kingdom.
After fielding rather unfamiliar team selections against both Chelsea and Southampton, Pep Guardiola reverted to basics at Old Trafford on Sunday against Manchester United.
Despite the result, City’s performance could be seen as positive, and the Catalan could be expected to pick a similar eleven against Tottenham.
Ederson is highly likely to keep his place in goal. Meanwhile, Kyle Walker and Joao Cancelo are the probable pairing in the full-back positions.
Guardiola confirmed in today’s press conference that Ruben Dias and John Stones are ‘in contention’ to return at the heart of the backline. But given their recent returns to training, Aymeric Laporte is more likely to come back in alongside Manuel Akanji or fellow left-footer Nathan Ake.
Rodri is almost certain to start in midfield. Kevin De Bruyne returned to training today after a ‘personal issue’ which meant he was absent from training yesterday. He will likely line up in the midfield alongside Ilkay Gundogan, who has scored five goals against Tottenham, or Bernardo Silva.
Two goals in his last three substitute appearances should be enough for Jack Grealish to secure a starting position on the left flank, with Riyad Mahrez or the underperforming Phil Foden set to occupy the right wing spot, supporting the Premier League’s top goalscorer Erling Haaland up front.
Ederson; Walker, Akanji, Laporte, Cancelo; Rodri, De Bruyne, Gundogan; Mahrez, Haaland, Grealish
Spurs improved dramatically after the appointment of Antonio Conte as manager last season, with the signings he brought in, Rodrigo Bentancur and Dejan Kulusevski, both having an immediate influential impact.
Their form earned the North London side a place in the Champions League for this season, a competition in which they’ve reached the knockout stages, where they’ll face Milan.
They’re also still going strong in the FA Cup, with a trip to Preston coming up next week, but their league form could be better, having won just three of their past nine matches.
As a team, their performances have been quite poor since just before the World Cup, and Conte’s men are now falling behind in the hunt for a top-four finish, sitting in fifth.
But almost their entire squad is fit, with Bentancur back in training and back in contention for a return here, though Lucas Moura will miss out again.
Only Haaland (21) has scored more goals than Harry Kane (15) so far this term, and the Englishman has combined with Heung-Min Son to cause the Blues problems in the past. The Korean has registered more direct goal contributions against City (10) than he has in his whole 2022/23 campaign so far.
The Premier League champions have lost five of their last 14 meetings with the Lilywhites while losing just twice in their last 13 home meetings.
However, the Blues have lost to Spurs on five occasions since 2019, losing four of their last six, with the North London side having done the double over City last term.
Those defeats came on the opening day, where a Heung-Min Son goal was the only goal in a narrow win for Tottenham on Nuno Espirito Santo’s first match as manager, and last February, where a stoppage time Mahrez equaliser from the penalty spot was trumped by a last gasp Kane winner to make it 3-2.
Son and trips to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium have been a thorn in the side of Guardiola’s City for the past few years. But by welcoming a misfiring Son and Spurs to Manchester, the hosts may fancy their chances of getting one over on Conte’s team on this occasion.
Referee: Simon Hooper
Assistants: Adrian Holmes & Eddie Smart
Fourth Official: David Coote
VAR: Darren England
Assistant VAR: Matthew Wilkes
Written by: @AdamHowarthSJ
Follow our Twitter account for reliable, live updates on all the latest news and everything Manchester City in real time.