This weekend, Tottenham perhaps face the biggest test English football has to offer with a visit to reigning champions Manchester City.
Saturday’s clash marks the biggest game for either side so far this season, so along with some help from the Man City Squares Laura Graves, let’s preview this weekend’s marquee fixture.
Both sides have started the season excellently, sitting second and third respectively, but City edges Spurs with a superior goal difference (+14 to +7).
Saturday is bound to be tough for Tottenham, as City are a formidable side who seldom lose, yet in recent times Spurs boast a remarkable record against the Sky Blues.
The last two seasons have brought about seven meetings between the two; six league matches and one Carabao Cup final.
From 18 possible league points, Spurs have taken 13 with four wins, a draw, and a loss; whilst in the midst of a managerial meltdown and Ryan Mason’s first game in charge, we tasted defeat in the Carabao Cup final.
Last season’s unprecedented double over the Citizens was an outstanding achievement, as Harry Kane delivered a performance for the ages as his brace helped seal a 3-2 win at the Etihad, with fans hopeful for a repeat performance this weekend.
Ahead of the game, fellow Fansider and Man City fan Laura Graves offered some insight on Spurs early season performance, who to watch out for, and of course, a score prediction.
“I made the prediction at the beginning of the season that Spurs would be a top 4 contender and even surprise football fans across the world, and finally bag themselves a trophy.
They’ve strengthened, sure. And I still think they have a squad and manager that could achieve something of significance this season. But for me, their start has been a little underwhelming – until they come to the Etihad, of course. That’s just the Spurs curse rules.
Nevertheless, they’re up there and they’ve started well. I expected results from West Ham and Chelsea after their poor starts to the season, and despite the win against Forest, the football on show was lesser than that of the newly promoted side – who were completely different when they came to the Etihad, perhaps home turf confidence against Spurs?”
– Laura Graves – Man City Squares
It’s hard to disagree, as although results have gone our way, performances have been sub-par, and if this continues into Saturday, we will likely be punished, as Graves predicts De Bruyne to be City’s biggest threat.
“I think with the way Spurs defend, Haaland won’t be the biggest threat, though I’m sure he’ll cause problems. Spurs aren’t the best on the ball when pressed, and Alvarez would be an utter nightmare to deal with – but will he get his start?
De Bruyne hasn’t been at his best, but he’s got his own records to break. City will push the Spurs defence back and give De Bruyne an inch around the box, he’ll take it.”
As for Tottenham, Graves has highlighted four players that could be difference makers.
“City need to be wary of 4 players in particular. Perisic and his ability to cross the ball into really dangerous positions – especially with the way City have been defending recently.
Romero – who is a danger to society (in a great way if he plays for your team, not so much for the opposition).
Son – he’s on a goal drought, so there’s only 3 things that can be guaranteed: 1. Death; 2. Taxes; and 3. Son will score against City.
And one of the best players in Europe, Harry Kane. Of course, he can score goals, we all know that. And he’s on a mission with records to break. But if he drops into our tired and spacey midfield, we could be troubled. His creative ability is pretty special.”
Romero vs Haaland will be an intriguing battle, as the Argentinian would relish ending Haaland’s scoring streak.
However, his usual tactic of physical intimidation may be ineffective against the Norwegian, as he’s already shown himself to be something of a powerhouse and likely won’t shy away from a tussle with Romero.
As for Son, it’s no secret he’s out of form, but Conte will have his fingers crossed for his customary goal against City, and of course Kane, who despite his illusive August curse has started the season excellently and is always a threat.
Finally, I asked for a score prediction, and surprisingly, Graves predicts Tottenham to continue our strong start and win 2-1.
Conte must approach the game tentatively as if Spurs sit too deep, they will almost certainly succumb to the relentless City pressure and will be punished.
There’s no doubt Saturday will have Spurs fans on edge for 90 minutes, as City will be looking for some sought-after revenge following last season while being keen to keep pace with Arsenal.
All we can do at this point is trust Conte has got a plan in place to deal with the tidal wave that is Man City’s attack and hope that, akin to previous years, with a bit of luck and some lethal counter-attacks, we can bring something back to London.