Manchester City continue to make history in English football with every new match, and it really looks like they won’t be stopped on their way to a Premier League title that seems like a foregone conclusion at this point.
But they can be stopped, and one team that can do it visits the Etihad on Saturday afternoon: Tottenham Hotspur are perhaps the team that plays the best football in the Premier League, but that’s only because Manchester City are on a league of their own. If you’re reading this, know that this author is a massive Spurs admirer: the job Mauricio Pochettino has done coaching a young and hungry squad is nothing short of amazing, and they’ve improved every season under him.
I would go as far as saying Pochettino is second to only Pep Guardiola when it comes to the best managers in the league these days, with Antonio Conte also a big part of the conversation. Pep and Poch have big respect for each other, and the two games between them last season were great to watch.
Given City’s perfect form and the talent of a Spurs side capable of beating anyone, we might have to prepare to watch what could be the best match of the season so far. It’ll be intense, it’ll be fun, and it’ll be football at its very best. With two great coaches on the sidelines.
MATCH INFO, TV/STREAMING
Date/Time: Saturday, December 16, 2017, 5:30pm GMT (UK), 6:30pm WAT (Nigeria), 12:30pm ET, 9:30am PT (USA), 11pm IST (India)
Venue: Etihad Stadium, Manchester, England
Television: BT Sport 1 (UK), NBC (USA), SuperSport 3 (Nigeria), Star Sports Select 1 (India), TSN 3 (Canada)
(Listings via LiveSoccerTV)
Pep Guardiola has no problems when it comes to his starting XI on Saturday: his lineups for big matches are quite predictable, with the only real doubt being Sergio Agüero or Gabriel Jesus up front. Without John Stones and Vincent Kompany due to injury, Pep will play Eliaquim Mangala alongside Nicolas Otamendi once again, which could have been a problem but shouldn’t be thanks to Mangala’s great performances of late.
Look for City to dominate possession at home, even against a Spurs side that likes the ball as well. It’ll be interesting to see whether Tottenham stick to their usual attacking approach or if they’ll adopt a more defensive, counter-attacking strategy, which they can also do very well.
Pochettino’s decisiona will impact Guardiola’s tactical plan and vice versa throughout the game, and that’s why this is such an interesting coaching battle to watch.
Manchester City (4-3-3)
Ederson; Walker, Otamendi, Mangala, Delph; De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Silva; Sterling, Jesus, Sané
Tottenham Hotspur (4-2-3-1)
Lloris; Trippier, Dier, Vertonghen, Davies; Sissoko, Dembelé; Eriksen, Alli, Son; Kane
I personally respect Tottenham too much and I honestly think they’ll get a result at the Etihad: 2-2 draw.