Manchester City return to action in the Premier League after a painful defeat to Everton last Sunday, and to make things even more difficult, they get to face the most in-form team in the league, Tottenham Hotspur. Playing at home might help a little bit, but it's still Spurs, and it's still a very tough game.
For Pep Guardiola, this is not just a big one. It's a giant one. Not in terms of the amount of criticism he has gotten over the last couple of months during this poor run of performances and inconsistent results; it's about helping his players regain their confidence by beating the best team in the Premier League, at the moment. It's important to build upon the good things that happened against Everton — the first half performance was very good — and try to score goals this time.
The defense and Claudio Bravo have received constant and deserved criticism, but if the offensive stars are able to find the target and the net, Bravo and Co. will have an easier time. The whole team needs to improve and play well, and doing that against a team like Spurs will prove once again that this Sky Blue side can still produce magic against the best.
This will be fun.
MATCH INFO, HOW TO WATCH ONLINE/TV
Date/Time: Saturday, January 21, 2017, 5:30pm local time (BST), 12:30pm ET, 9:30am PT (US), 11pm IST (India)
Venue: Etihad Stadium, Manchester, England
Referee: Andre Marriner
On TV: NBC, NBC UNIVERSO (US), Sportsnet (Canada), BT Sport 1 (UK), Star Sports Select HD1 (India), elsewhere
Online: NBC Sports Live, NBC UNIVERSO NOW, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo, SiriusXM FC (US), Sportsnet World Now (Canada), BT Sport Live Streaming, BBC Radio (UK), elsewhere
Man City: The biggest news of the week is that new signing Gabriel Jesus has been registered by the FA and is ready to make his City debut whenever Pep Guardiola wants. Pep was mysterious when asked about his plans for the Brazilian striker, but there's no reason why Jesus can't play for the first time in a City shirt. He's trained well for the last two weeks and is physically ready to play football.
Vincent Kompany is likely to make his return from injury, start and captain the side on Saturday. John Stones has looked very good when playing with Kompany, so that partnership could be the best defensive answer to face Spurs and their high-flying attack.
Tottenham: Mauricio Pochettino lost Jan Vertonghen for two months with an ankle injury, but the Spurs manager has gotten his team play competitive, attacking, attractive football. Tottenham have won their last seven games in all competitions, six of those wins in the Premier League, and they now look like a real title contender.
Harry Kane and Dele Alli can't stop scoring, Christian Eriksen can't stop getting one assist after another, Kyle Walker and Danny Rose are the best fullbacks in the league, Victor Wanyama and Mousa Dembele are great midfielders, and Toby Alderweireld might just be the best central defender in Europe rig tnow. Oh, and Hugo Lloris is in goal.
This team is amazing. And it'll be really, really, really hard to beat them.
Let's be optimistic, shall we? Let's be insanely optimistic, shall we? 4-1 City victory, and a Gabriel Jesus debut goal. One can dream.