Manchester City will be hopeful of maintaining their impeccable record at the Etihad Stadium when they host Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday (13:30 GMT, live on Sky Sports).
City have endured a patchy start to the season and are just eighth in the Premier League table with 19 points from six wins, one draw and four defeats. They have, however, been superb at home, recording five wins from five matches.
New coach Manuel Pellegrini (pictured below) has formed the most potent attacking side in the league, with 28 goals scored, including seven against Norwich in their last home match. Sergio Aguero looks to have returned to the form he showed in City’s title-winning 2011/12 campaign, while new signing Alvaro Negredo has fitted in seamlessly alongside him.
With a good mix of pace and invention in midfield, Pellegrini’s side have, at times, overwhelmed opposition defences, scoring four against both Newcastle and Manchester United in addition to the demolition of Norwich. At home, only Hull have caused them genuine problems, with City having to wait until after the hour mark to open the scoring.
It has been a very different story away from the Etihad, where City have lost four times, including a 1-0 defeat against Sunderland in their final match before the international break. Defensive mistakes – both from goalkeeper Joe Hart and his defenders – have seen them keep just one clean sheet, while they have conceded two or more goals on three occasions.
City’s stellar home form has seen them maintain a close watching brief in the title race, but they need to kick on in the run up to Christmas if they are to live up to their continued billing as bookies’ favourites.
Attacking midfielder David Silva will miss Sunday’s match with a calf injury, while the fixture looks likely to come a week too soon for defender Vincent Kompany, who is struggling with a thigh strain. Fernandinho and Stevan Jovetic are expected to be available in spite of slight knocks.
Spurs are a point ahead of their hosts on Sunday, sitting seventh in the table with 20 points from six wins, two draws and three defeats. They have faced the opposite problem to City, labouring at home while generally impressing on their travels.
Andre Villas Boas (left) has come in for some criticism for the overly-measured style in which his side have attacked so far this season and it is certainly true that a total of nine goals scored in 11 matches is far from impressive. Spurs have seen a lot of the ball in the final third but are not creating enough high quality opportunities to yield regular goals.
The attacking talents signed with the proceeds of Gareth Bale’s transfer to Real Madrid are yet to make their mark, with Roberto Soldado having scored just once from open play (and thrice from the penalty spot), and Christian Eriksen, Erik Lamela and Nacer Chadli failing to ignite, albeit in limited appearances in the case of the latter pair.
Yet while offensive efficiency is clearly a concern, Spurs have been very secure at the other end of the pitch, particularly away from home, where they have conceded just once in five matches. They press well in phases and do a good job of cutting off supply through midfield, particularly when Sandro or Etienne Capoue are employed as part of their midfield two.
Villas Boas will definitely be without Eriksen for Sunday’s match after the attacking midfielder picked up an ankle injury on international duty that looks likely to keep him out of action for at least a month. Nacer Chadli is back in training after a hamstring injury, while Danny Rose could also be available after two months on the sidelines.
Manchester City vs Tottenham Hotspur Betting Tips Verdict
Last season’s equivalent fixture ended 2-1 in City’s favour courtesy of a late winner from Edin Dzeko. City have won each of the last three meetings between the sides at the Etihad Stadium and have lost just one of the last six meetings between them at all venues.
Tottenham have been very impressive defensively away from home, but their defence is sure to get a thorough workout on Sunday against the highest scoring side in the division. Spurs will try to keep things tight early on and hit City on the break, taking advantage of a home defence that looks shaky in Kompany’s absence.
City are the marginal favourites but Spurs are certainly capable of taking a share of the spoils and if they do lose it is unlikely to be by a significant margin.
- Back Tottenham Hotspur +1 on an Asian Handicap @ best odds of 29/40 with Bet365. The bet pays out if Spurs win or draw while your stake is returned if City win by a single goal.
- There have been just two first half goals in Tottenham’s five away matches so far this season and they will be keen to prevent City getting off to a good start on Sunday. If goals come, they are more likely to arrive when things open up in the second half. Back the second half to be highest scoring half @ 11/10 with BetVictor.