Manchester City have the chance to avenge their Champions League exit to Tottenham in midweek as the pair clash once more this Saturday in the Premier League.
Spurs were victorious in the quarter final against City courtesy of the away goals rule, a 4-4 aggregate score failing to do justice to the exhilarating nature of the contest. The result ended Pep Guardiola’s hopes of delivering a remarkable quadruple for the Etihad Stadium faithful, though they are still in control of the title race and have an FA Cup final awaiting them.
Whilst the hosts sit two points behind ?Liverpool they do have a game in hand over the Reds. ?Tottenham are just a single place behind Guardiola’s men, though there is a cavernous 16 point gap between the sides. They are jostling with ?Arsenal, ?Manchester United and ?Chelsea for the final two ?Champions League qualification places, currently holding a slender advantage over the trio.
Check out 90min’s preview of the ??heavyweight clash below.
Where to Watch
|?When Is Kick Off?||?Saturday 20 April|
|?What Time Is Kick Off?||?12:30 (BST)|
|?Where Is it Played?||?Etihad Stadium|
|?TV Channel/Live Stream?||?Sky Sports Main Event|
?City have close to a full squad available for selection in what will be the third match-up between these two teams in the space of 12 days. Young full-back Oleksandr Zinchenko is a doubt for the game as he nears a return from the hamstring injury he picked up against ?Cardiff City.
Long-term absentee Claudio Bravo has been out of action since August with a ruptured achilles tendon and is unlikely to feature again this campaign. Guardiola has no suspensions to account for.
Tottenham’s talisman ?Harry Kane damaged his ankle ligaments in the first leg of their European encounter with the Citizens, whilst midfield powerhouse Moussa Sissoko hobbled off in the return fixture with a groin strain. Both men are missing for Saturday’s clash and could be out for the remainder of the season.
They are joined on the sidelines by Serge Aurier and Eric Dier, with hamstring and hip flexor injuries affecting the pair respectively. Winger Erik Lamela and youngster Harry Winks are slight doubts to play, both having sustained muscular damage. Like his counterpart, Maurizio Pochettino has no men unavailable through suspension.
|?Manchester City||Ederson; Walker, Stones, Laporte, Danilo; Fernandinho, De Bruyne, B. Silva; Sterling, ?Sané, Agüero.|
|?Tottenham Hotspur||?Lloris; Trippier, Sánchez, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies; Wanyama, Alli, Eriksen; Moura, Son.|
Head to Head Record
Wednesday’s Champions League clash between the two was a modern classic, an insane opening 21 minutes witnessing five goals. That bizarre beginning set the tone for a match that will live long in the memory of both sets of supporters.
?Raheem Sterling’s opener arrowed beyond Hugo Lloris before a sumptuous, lightning-quick double from ?Heung-min Son left Guardiola’s recruits needing to score four. They managed that thanks to a deflected ?Bernardo Silva strike, Sterling’s clinical back-post finish and a venomous close-range drive from ?Sergio Agüero, putting the hosts on the brink of the semi-finals.
However, their hearts sank when Fernando Llorente diverted a delicious corner home with time running out. Those City hearts were then shattered in stoppage-time as VAR ruled out what would have been Sterling’s hat-trick goal for offside, the stadium descending from rapturous joy to a hellish nightmare in a matter of moments.
The Lillywhites’ 1-0 win in the first leg was their only triumph against Saturday’s opposition in the last six meetings. That success took them to a total of 61 victories over the Citizens, who themselves have amassed 62. A further 35 draws complete the overall record.
The defeat at the sparkling new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last week was City’s first since a 2-1 loss against ?Newcastle United, as the club having won every other fixture since that disappointment at St James’ Park. They have conceded just two goals in their previous eight Premier League fixtures, securing comfortable victories over ?Crystal Palace, Cardiff and ?Fulham in recent weeks.
The form of Sterling has been particularly eye-catching, the diminutive forward showcasing supreme attacking prowess, strong leadership and defensive diligence. He has netted seven times in his last six appearances in all competitions, including a crucial double in Sunday’s league fixture at Selhurst Park – PFA Player of the Year?
Lucas Moura grabbed a trio of fine goals against ?Huddersfield Town in Tottenham’s 4-0 Premier League win against the relegated Terriers. He finished all three with aplomb, whilst Son’s brace at the Etihad on Wednesday was equally impressive.
The victory over the Terriers was the second in a row for Pochettino, an outcome he will be hugely relieved about after his side had lost four of their previous five in the league.
Here’s how the two teams have fared in their last five results:
|?Manchester City 4-3 Tottenham Hotspur (17/4)||?Manchester City 4-3 Tottenham Hotspur (17/4)|
|?Crystal Palace 1-3 Manchester City (14/4)||?Tottenham Hotspur 4-0 Huddersfield Town (13/4)|
|?Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Manchester City (09/4)||?Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Manchester City (09/4)|
|?Manchester City 1-0 Brighton (06/4)||?Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 Crystal Palace (03/4)|
|?Manchester City 2-0 Cardiff City (03/4)||?Liverpool 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur (31/3)|
City will still be hurting from their Champions League exit, that is beyond doubt. Guardiola, as a masterful man-manager, will use that as fuel to drive his side on in their attempts to secure the treble.
Both sides gave their all in a pulsating, draining encounter, making fitness a crucial factor in deciding this final meeting between the two. The hosts dominate possession, which may take its toll on weary Tottenham legs.
Moreover, they will have a home crowd baying for blood, desperate for retribution. City simply have to win or their season will unravel in devastating fashion.
Prediction: Manchester City 3-1 Tottenham Hotspur