Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester City
As the news was announced and Premier League followers reflected on the fact Pep Guardiola may well be at Manchester City until 2023, this SBOTOP observer had two initial questions.
Could the acclaimed Spaniard – considered responsible for some of the most attractive club football ever witnessed – ever succeed at a club 1) without massive financial backing and 2) ever build a new side capable of dominating English football.
We are unlikely to find out the answer to that first question as Guardiola (Barcelona, Bayern Munich and City) has never had to prove his worth at a smaller outfit and why would he want that challenge now in his 12th year as a football manager.
The second, though, is more pertinent and with the departure of key men Vincent Kompany and David Silva over the past 18 months – plus the fact the likes of Sergio Aguero and Fernandinho (particularly) are possibly nearing an end of their top-level career – will Guardiola simply seek a new challenge or instead be able to build a side as successful and as dominant as the one he created from 2017-19.
Few managers have managed to create more than one great team at the same club.
This weekend Guardiola comes up against someone who came closer than most but who, like himself, has tended to only stay in one place for a limited time.
Spurs and Jose Mourinho welcome Guardiola and City to North London with their rivalry, which was once bitter — full of friction and ferocity, now thawed to such a degree, it has never fully materialised in the English top flight.
They both still crave success, though, and are both in similar places going into Saturday’s encounter.
Spurs currently lie second, one place off top spot and hoping to continue their strong start to 2020-21 in which they have won five times and lost just once in eight league matches.
While City are five points worse off than Spurs. They have also suffered only one defeat and have a game in hand which if they win, and triumph in North London, can see them move above their opponents this weekend.
At this point, it’s hard to know who will be available as both clubs welcome back players from international duty.
Whoever lines up, however, Premier League highlights are all but guaranteed, whether through joyful attacking football or a tactical masterclass.
The two characters at the centre will ensure that.
Historically, this rivalry could barely be closer.
City have won 63 of their meetings and Spurs 62 (a further 36 matches have been drawn) which shows you how well-matched they have been over the years with both clubs enjoying their own periods of glory.
In this match last season, İlkay Gundogan saw a 40th-minute penalty saved by Hugo Lloris before Oleksandr Zinchenko was dismissed for a second yellow card on the hour – becoming the second Ukrainian player to be sent off in the English top flight.
They both proved key turning points.
In becoming the 250th player to score on their debut in the Premier League, Steven Bergwijn became the youngest debutant to score on their debut for Spurs since Eric Dier six years earlier. Son Heung-Min duly added a second and Spurs ran out 2-0 winners.
The earlier fixture was one which City dominated yet only managed to get a point as Spurs earned a 2-2 draw at the Etihad Stadium in which Raheem Sterling and Aguero goals were cancelled out by Erik Lamela and Lucas Moura.
The game was also notable for an early Premier League look at VAR which ruled out a last-minute City winner.
City have won 12 of the last 19 meetings in the Premier League.
Arguably the best game I have reported on in recent years involved these clubs 19 months ago – an epic encounter with which words struggled to do justice, so barely credible were the events which unfolded.
|Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester City||Over 2.75 @ 1.82|
|November 22, 01:30 (GMT+8)|
Assessing the Premier League betting odds, City are bigger favourites than I’d have anticipated, given the closeness between the two sides.
They can be backed 1X2 @ 1.85 with Spurs 1X2 @ 3.85 – how Mourinho would relish proving those odds wrong. The draw @ 3.70 is an attractive bet for many fans of either side, let alone neutrals, I am sure.
City can also be backed to lead at the break – First Half 1X2 @ 2.30 with Spurs out as far as @ 4.70 and the draw @ 2.21.
With Asian Handicap odds, City -0.75 @ 2.13 is a very attractive offer, although so is Spurs +0.25 @ 2.42.
A repeat of last season’s corresponding fixture – correct score 2-0 – is worth a payday @ 28.00.
I can’t see that outcome again but I can see goals.
|A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR () BETS ARE WORTH:|
|= €20 (Highly confident)||= €10 (CONFIDENT)||= €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)|
Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.
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