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MANCHESTER CITY V TOTTENHAM: Premier League match preview

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MANCHESTER CITY V TOTTENHAM: A typically ruthless start for the Premier League champions in London... but Mauricio Pochettino's side showed last season they can be victoriousManchester City couldn't have started the Premier League in much better shape City's thrashing of West Ham has them in first place ahead of the weekend Tottenham will be buoyed after coming from behind to beat Aston VillaThe two sides meet in Saturday's 5.30pm kick-off, which is live on Sky Sports Mauricio Pochettino's side will aim to unsettle Pep Guardiola's juggernaut 

West Ham found, as most will again this season, that Manchester City, once in their stride, are difficult to be stopped. 

The speed at which they broke forward and passed through West Ham was frightening and showed they haven't lost their ruthless edge.

Tottenham will have more time on the ball, more chance of keeping the game tight and, undoubtedly, better routes to the City goal.

While the first half against Aston Villa was at times frustrating, Mauricio Pochettino's players took advantage of their opponent's deteriorating fitness in the second. 

Oh, and don't forget Christian Eriksen. Kept on the bench until the last half hour, he demonstrated just why needs to start against City.

Raheem Sterling collected the match ball after scoring a hat-trick against West Ham

MANCHESTER CITY: Off like a train and don't expect them to slow down

Nobody doubted them before the season started and there really were no surprises in the way they dismantled West Ham.

It showed again just how ruthless they are under Pep Guardiola. West Ham see themselves as a club aiming for the top 10 so you have to be fearful again for sides who aren't as well oiled.

It is a point that has been made a few times this week, but the 5-0 win over the Hammers really wasn't that enjoyable.

City were excellent but we knew that anyway. What isn't particularly palatable is the way they can dominate without little resistance. West Ham, bless 'em, attempted to 'play football' but when you do that against City, you better be good at it.

You have to move the ball quickly, stop them from passing through you and then find a way to score without conceding.

Pep Guardiola will demand nothing short of a similarly dominant performance this weekend

There are perhaps only a handful of sides who can test City. Tottenham are absolutely one of those sides.

It is what makes this match-up exciting. City won't be dominant, they won't stroll about knowing the opposition will struggle to hurt them, and they will, at times, be vulnerable.

Raheem Sterling started the season brilliantly, scoring three of City's five goals. Expect him again to be the player looking to pin back Tottenham's defence. Tottenham's issues in the full-back areas could help provide clear methods to goal for City.

And don't forget Sergio Aguero, who scored against West Ham, didn't start last time out. 

Guardiola, no doubt, will have targeted the Tottenham game as the one where Aguero gets his first start of the season.

It took the creative genius of Christian Eriksen to launch Tottenham's comeback against a tiring Aston Villa.

It is with Eriksen where questions still need to be answered. Eriksen is prepared to run down his contract at Tottenham, which expires next summer.

His value to Spurs is clear but it is understandable that should he really want to leave before the transfer windows in Spain, Italy and Germany then the club want good money for him. 

Before that happens, Mauricio Pochettino must mastermind a way to beat City. He managed it in the Champions League (over two legs) and knows they do, quite remarkably, have weaknesses. 

Tottenham, unlike West Ham, also have the players to disrupt City's rhythm and score against them.

Will he start or won't he start? Christian Eriksen changed the game as a sub against Aston Villa

The trouble is that Tottenham are not at full strength and you really have to be when coming up against a side managed by Guardiola. 

What Pochettino does have at his disposal is a sharp, free-firing Harry Kane. Kane scored against Villa. Not only that but he looks in excellent condition. He appears leaner before and completely free of injury, which for the past couple of seasons has been a problem.

And, of course, this is a Kane very much able to score goals in August contrary to past evidence. 

It will also be interesting to see how City handle Tanguy Ndombele, who gives Tottenham more variety in midfield and gives them an aggressive edge that they perhaps lacked before.

For sure, midfield should be where the key battles are played out and where both sides try to control from start to finish.

Mauricio Pochettino must mastermind a way to beat City - he managed it last season

Predicted line-ups 

Manchester City predicted starting XI: Ederson; Walker, Stones, Laporte, Zinchenko; De Bruyne, Rodri, David Silva; Bernardo Silva, Aguero, Sterling.

Tottenham predicted starting XI: Lloris; Walker-Peters, Sanchez, Alderweireld, Rose; Winks, Ndombele; Sissoko, Eriksen; Lucas Moura, Kane.

What do the bookies say?

The bookies don't believe Tottenham have enough to compete with City. 1/3 is what you'll get for a home win but if something tells you Spurs may just upset Guardiola's men, as they did in the Champions League last season, then 8/1 is one of the best prices you'll find. 

Aguero is heavily tipped to start and that is reflected in 3/1 odds for him to score the first goal. A City 2-0 win at 15/2 is the most common scoreline bet at the time of writing. 

Sergio Aguero is 3/1 to be the first goalscorer against Tottenham on Saturday evening

What has been said?

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola: 'Bernardo now knows, 'Wow, Riyad is an incredible player," and has to make a step forward. Riyad wanted to come back soon and he wanted to play. I like it! Everybody has to know that I trust all of them. That is the truth. They have to compete with each other.'

Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris: 'I think we have been talking about trophies now for at least two seasons. It is one thing to talk about it - it is another thing to show what we can do. We don't need to talk any more about winning trophies.'


Manchester City have won their last four Premier League games against Tottenham Hotspur – they have never won five consecutive league games against them, with this their 141st meeting.

Spurs have taken just four points from their last nine Premier League visits to the Etihad Stadium against Manchester City (W1 D1 L7).

Manchester City haven’t lost their opening home league match in a top-flight season since 1989-90 against Southampton – they are unbeaten in 24 matches since (W16 D8 L0).

Spurs lost their last six away Premier League matches of the 2018-19 season – they haven’t lost seven in a row since December 2000 under George Graham.

Tottenham had more shots than any other Premier League side on MD1 (31). 18 of these efforts came in the 26 minutes Christian Eriksen was on the pitch (58%).

Man City’s Sergio Aguero has scored 96 Premier League goals at the Etihad Stadium. One more will see him go joint-third with Alan Shearer and St James’ Park for most Premier League goals scored at a specific stadium. 

Mauricio Pochettino was the first manager to win away from home against Pep Guardiola in a league match, doing so in February 2009 with Espanyol against Barcelona – the only manager to win two away league games against him is José Mourinho. 


For more news relating to West Ham, visit our sister site Hammers Live.
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