The race for the title and the top 4 is heating up in the Englsh top flight

On Thursday night, English Premier League is back with a mouth-watering clash as Champions Manchester City face off against Tottenham Hotspur at the Etihad.

Manchester City enters this encounter after falling short on previous two occasions against Southampton in the EFL Cup and arch rivals Manchester United in Premier League, but they will look to capitalize on a Spurs side who find themselves in a torrid situation. Guardiola’s men threw away a 1-0 lead at Old Trafford after Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes scored to make a comeback and give the Red Devils a 2-1 victory late in the game. Manchester City are now 8 points behind league leaders Arsenal sitting second in the Premier League table and the title is all but heading to North London if they do not make a surge of improvements.

Tottenham on the other hand are stranded at 5th in the Premier League Table as tensions are rising in the camp of the Lilywhites. With the league now out of sight, Conte’s men were humiliated by Arsenal in their most recent fixture (2-0) after a scrappy own goal by Hugo Lloris which was later capped off by Martin Odegaard who scored the second to hand the Gunners a comfortable victory in the North London derby. Also, Newcastle United and Manchester United have not faltered in recent weeks which sees Tottenham five points behind them in the top four race having played a game more.

Kick-off:

Thursday, 19th January, 08:00 pm (GMT)
Friday, 20th January, 01:30 am (IST)

Manchester City form (all competition): L-L-W-W-D

Tottenham Hotspur form (all competition): L-W-W-L-D

Player to watch

Manchester City

Erling Haaland

He has been in red hot form scoring 21 times in the Premier League this season but the prodigal son has missed out on the last two league games as he failed to deliver against Chelsea and Manchester United. A brute force of nature, it is obvious that he will be tormenting the likes of Romero and Dier and will be rooting on his teammates Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva to deliver the relevant service to him.

Tottenham Hotspur

Harry Kane

A veteran striker of the game by now, you cannot just keep him out when it comes to big matches. He has netted 15 times and has 1 assist out of 19 appearances for Spurs in this edition of the Premier League already. With the ability to drop down between the lines and also be a playmaker, he is the man that will keep Pep Guardiola and his side under some pressure. Also, he is just one goal way from equaling Jimmy Greaves’ all time record of 266 goals for the club and two short from 200 Premier League goals, a record that has been accomplished by only few.

Match facts

  • Tottenham Hotspur have managed to defeat Pep Guardiola and Manchester City four times in their last five games in the Premier League.
  • Manchester City have not been winless at home for three consecutive matches since December 2016 and the probability of that to happen again is likely on the cards as they failed to register a win in their last two matches against Everton and Brentford at The Etihad.
  • Tottenham have managed to win only three of their last nine league games, a stat that shows they are well short of the ammunition to compete for a top four spot.

Injury and team news

City boss Guardiola has revealed that Aymeric Laporte is now available for selection as he has been battling to make his way into the first team. Also, Julian Alvarez, Ilkay Gungogan and Jack Grealish will be the favourites to start ahead of Bernardo Silva and Riyad Mahrez respectively who have not been in the best of touches in the recent weeks. Ruben Dias and John Stones are still unavailable due to injuries which makes Ake a forerunner to make the first XI.

Hugo Lloris has to blame himself for the recent turmoil in Tottenham’s goal but his place remains uncompromised as they do not have a promising back up. Rodrigo Bentancur is still unavailable due to a groin injury and it is very unlikely that Conte will risk him in this fixture. Dejan Kulusevski has been their prime attacking threat but Conte will depend on the experience of Son and Kane as the Lilywhites are desperately searching for an inspiration in the field.

Head-to-Head stats

Matches: 146

Manchester City: 57

Draws: 32

Tottenham Hotspur: 57

Predicted lineup

Manchester City predicted lineup (4-3-3):

Ederson; Walker, Akanji, Ake, Cancelo; Gundogan, Rodri, De Bruyne; Silva, Haaland, Grealish

 Tottenham Hotspur predicted lineup (3-4-3):

Lloris; Romero, Dier, Davies; Doherty, Hojbjerg, Bissouma, Perisic; Kulusevski, Kane, Son

Prediction

Firstly, this will be a close encounter between two Premier League sides who are in dire straits and will be giving it their all to bring their season back on track. Despite the fact that Manchester City are out with their regular centre-backs, they will be relying on their forward line to deliver the goods and keep the pressure on Arsenal. Tottenham will boast their chances keeping in mind their impressive record against City but another shock on the cards for Guardiola and his men is very unlikely coming into this fixture.

Prediction:  Manchester City 3-1 Tottenham Hotspur.

For more updates, follow Khel Now on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and join our community on Telegram.