·18 February 2022
·18 February 2022
Saturday’s Premier League action closes out with a mouth-watering encounter between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur at the Etihad Stadium.
Man City will be brimming with confidence after their stunning 5-0 win at Sporting Lisbon in midweek Champions League action saw them become the first side in the competition’s history to reach 200 goals.
They can now switch their attention to the Premier League, where Pep Guardiola looks to become the first manager after Sir Alex Ferguson to defend the crown on two separate occasions.
City hold a substantial nine-point lead over current runners-up Liverpool, but with the Reds having a game in hand, complacency is a luxury the Etihad outfit cannot afford yet.
However, an overwhelming 4-0 victory away to relegation-threatened Norwich City last time out shows the Cityzens are keeping their foot firmly to the floor.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about Tottenham, who have experienced a noticeable dip in form following a flying start under new boss Antonio Conte.
Spurs’ wheels have fallen off lately, as they have gone from a nine-game unbeaten run in the Premier League (W6, D3) to losing their last three top-flight matches in a row.
Tottenham’s lacklustre 3-2 home defeat to mid-table Southampton last weekend left them seven points below fourth-placed Manchester United, although they have three games in hand.
The Etihad has not been the most welcoming ground for Tottenham of late, as witnessed by their record of one win from their last 11 Premier League visits here (D2, L8).
However, Spurs have defeated Man City in three of their last four top-flight meetings (L1), including a narrow 1-0 triumph on the opening matchday of the season under Nuno Espirito Santo.
Thanks to Heung-min Son’s winner in the reverse fixture, Tottenham could complete their first league double over the reigning top-flight holders for the first time since 1986/87.
Looking to avoid their first Premier League home loss to Spurs since February 2016, Man City will turn to their outstanding home form for inspiration.
Since a dismal 2-0 defeat to Crystal Palace in late October, Guardiola’s men have won ten consecutive home games in all competitions, including seven straight Premier League successes.
After that slip-up against Palace, the Cityzens have earned 43 of the possible 45 Premier League points (W14, D1), with a 1-1 draw at Southampton in January the solitary exception to this run.
Raheem Sterling, who has 49 Premier League goals at the Etihad under his belt, is one away from becoming the second player after Sergio Aguero to smash the 50-goal barrier at this venue.
Spurs have conceded 2+ goals in each of their last four Premier League outings on the trot, last experiencing a longer such streak between April and May 2003 (six that time).
The Londoners have conceded more goals (seven) across their last four top-flight matches than in Conte’s first nine league games in charge (six).
After suffering three Premier League defeats in succession, Tottenham face the prospect of losing four in a row for the first time since a run of six between October and November 2004.
But Spurs’ indifferent six-game away form in England’s top-flight (W2, D2, L2) does not offer much comfort to Conte, who is enduring his longest losing league streak as a manager since 2009 while at Atalanta.
Manchester City (4-3-3): Ederson; Kyle Walker, Ruben Dias, Aymeric Laporte, Joao Cancelo; Kevin De Bruyne, Rodri, Bernardo Silva; Riyad Mahrez, Phil Foden, Raheem Sterling.
Tottenham Hotspur (3-4-3): Hugo Lloris; Cristian Romero, Eric Dier, Ben Davies; Emerson Royal, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Rodrigo Bentancur, Sergio Reguilon; Lucas Moura, Harry Kane, Heung-min Son.
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