With a five-way scrap at the top of the Premier League table, the clash between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City at Wembley has major significance on Monday (8pm, live on Sky Sports).
Nine matches into the season, City and Liverpool lead the way on 23 points apiece, with Chelsea, Arsenal and Spurs all within two points behind them. Things are tight at this stage, but the field can be expected to spread out a bit in the lead up to Christmas.
It has been a strange start to the season for Spurs, in which surface impressions of their performances have clashed with their results. The former haven’t always been particularly impressive yet, in the league at least, the latter have been very good. Indeed, seven wins and two defeats represents the club’s best-ever start to a Premier League season.
That is off the back of a summer in which they didn’t sign a single new player. Mauricio Pochettino has said that the club didn’t want to buy for the sake of it, and their inability to find players capable of improving the squad can perhaps be attributed to the fact that their own players have developed to a level beyond what they can reasonably afford to better. It has, however, become clear that certain areas do need strengthening, primarily the midfield.
Moussa Dembele appears to have lost a fair amount of his mobility, Victor Wanyama has struggled with ongoing fitness problems and while Harry Winks has impressed in patches, he hasn’t benefited from the athletic protection around him that would perhaps allow him to truly flourish. It is an area that Spurs may look to address in the January transfer window.
Weakness in that area has brought about a certain degree of defensive vulnerability, particularly against better-quality opposition. That was their undoing in their 2-2 draw away to PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League on Wednesday. Goals from Lucas Moura and Harry Kane saw them reverse a sloppily conceded opener, only for their hosts to then equalise late on to put Tottenham’s hopes of progressing in serious danger.
Now awaits a Manchester City side who swept aside pretty much all comers last season, including Spurs, who were defeated 1-3 at home and 1-4 away. Man City have begun the new campaign in a matter that suggests it will be incredibly difficult for any of their would-be challengers to wrestle the Premier League trophy from their grasp.
The club invested heavily in the squad last summer to provide Pep Guardiola with a basis for a team that could develop together over a number of years, with only minor further enhancements necessary. Riyad Mahrez was the only first-team arrival this season, but greater chemistry and understanding and the progression of individual players within the group has produced a side that remains the best in the league.
Man City finished a full 19 points clear of any other team last season. While an improved Liverpool side will perhaps be capable of reducing their margin for error this time around, all the evidence to date suggests Guardiola’s side are at least as good as they were in the previous campaign, quite possibly better.
That is made clear by both the top-line and underlying numbers. To date, Man City have averaged 2.89 goals scored and just 0.33 conceded per match, have taken more shots and conceded less than any other Premier League side, and also have the Expected Goals figures to back it all up. Their schedule so far has been relatively kind, but they are clearly a formidable side.
Tottenham are a good team themselves, as three consecutive top-three finishes illustrates, but they have been a step or two off their best so far this season. They can be expected to struggle in restraining a Man City side capable of overwhelming the large majority of opponents. An away victory in a match that is, like 12 of the last 14 encounters between them, likely to see at least three goals looks a pretty probable outcome.
Our Preview’s Spurs vs. Man City Betting Tips Verdict
- Bet on Manchester City to win in a match featuring over 2.5 goals @ 7/5 with Betfair.