TV coverage: NBC Sports (US)
Tottenham (+290 at www.Bovada.com)
Table position: 9th
W-D-L record: 2-3-1
Last five results: DDDWW
Man City (-115 at Bovada)
Table position: 1st
W-D-L record: 5-0-1
Last five results: WWWWL
Recent H2H record:
Spurs 0-1 Man City
Man City 4-1 Spurs
Spurs 1-5 Man City
Man City 6-0 Spurs
Spurs 3-1 Man City
MANCHESTER City will be eager to regain some momentum this Saturday when they head to White Hart Lane for the opening fixture of round seven in the English Premier League.
The league leaders had their perfect record tarnished last weekend as West Ham United plundered a shock 2-1 victory at Etihad Stadium.
The Citizens hadn’t conceded a single goal in EPL 2015-16 until then, although they have looked some way off their best since the recent international break.
City have now lost two of their last three matches in all competitions, with the defeat to West Ham coming hot on the heels of a 2-1 reverse to Juventus in the UEFA Champions League group stages.
But they returned to winning ways this Tuesday in the League Cup, with manager Manuel Pellegrini fielding a strong side for the 4-1 mauling of Sunderland.
That welcome hit-out should leave the two-time Premier League champions feeling confident ahead of their clash with Tottenham Hotspur, against whom they have scored some 16 goals in their last four meetings.
Online bookmaker Bovada has City as clear favourites at -115 moneyline odds, with Spurs at +290 and the draw paying +270.
The Lilywhites have looked decent in recent weeks and are unbeaten since their opening day defeat at Manchester United, with three consecutive draws followed by two wins on the bounce.
But Mauricio Pochettino’s men are struggling to make an impact on the scoreboard, with only five league goals in their six matches so far.
Of particular concern is the lacklustre finishing form of star striker Harry Kane, who is yet to get off the mark in Premier League 2015-16.
The England international’s yips were on full display in the Capital One Cup on Wednesday night as he spurned a number of chances in the 2-1 defeat to arch-rivals Arsenal.
That form slump could hardly have come at a worse time, as the recent departures of Roberto Soldado and Emmanuel Adebayor have left Kane as the only out-and-out striker in Tottenham’s senior squad.
New arrivals Son Heung-min and Dele Alli have added a scoring threat from further afield, however, while the addition of Belgian stopper Toby Alderweireld has shored up a back line that was hopelessly porous last season.
Indeed, Spurs have conceded just one goal in their last four league fixtures – a vast improvement for a team which ranked in the bottom five for goals against in 2014-15.
They will need to maintain that kind of stinginess if they wish to quell the multi-dimensional threat of Man City, who lead the league for both goal difference (+10) and fewest goals conceded (two).
Ryan Mason (knee), Nabil Bentaleb (knee) and Mousa Dembele (foot) missed the League Cup loss to Arsenal through injury, but all three are said to be on the verge of passing fit for City’s visit.
Should the weekend come too soon for any or all of that midfield trio, it will give the likes of Dele Alli, Tom Carroll and Eric Dier further opportunity to strut their stuff in the middle of the park.
The rested quintet of Hugo Lloris, Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld, Kyle Walker and Ben Davies should all reclaim their places in defence, while fit-again Christian Eriksen is also in line for a start.
Possible Spurs XI: Lloris; Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies; Dier, Alli; Lamela, Eriksen, Son; Kane.
Joe Hart will return in goal and Fernandinho might oust Fernando from the midfield, but otherwise there should be few changes from the star-studded side which crushed Sunderland during the week.
There was still no sign of the injured Vincent Kompany on Tuesday, but the City captain is said to be a big chance for the trip to White Hart Lane – in which case he would most likely displace Martin Demichelis in defence.
Also pushing for fitness are Wilfried Bony and Spanish playmaker David Silva, who withdrew from the West Ham game after pulling his calf muscle during the warm-up.
Possible Man City XI: Hart; Sagna, Otamendi, Demichelis, Kolarov; Toure, Fernandinho; Sterling, Silva, De Bruyne; Aguero.
– Manchester City to win (-115 at Bovada.com)
– Man City to lead at half-time and full-time (+155 at Bovada)
– Man City to score three or more goals (+235 at Bovada)
One look at the recent head-to-head stats should be all it takes to convince you to back the Citizens on Saturday.
Spurs have lost eight of their last nine clashes with the Sky Blues, and by some truly spectacular margins (the pair of 5-1 thrashings at the Lane stand out).
There’s also the fact that the bulk of Spurs’ first-choice midfielders are either battling injury, or only just approaching full fitness.
The likes of Dier and Alli have impressed this season, but do they have the experience, strength and nous to hold back a horde of City superstars in full flight?
We think not.
Tottenham picks for first goal
Son Heung-min (+750 at www.Bovada.com): Asia’s most expensive footballer has made an instant impact since joining from Bayer Leverkusen in the summer. With Harry Kane out of touch, the Korean looks like Spurs’ most dangerous player in front of goal – as evinced by his well-taken winner against Crystal Palace.
Christian Eriksen (+1000 at Bovada): When he’s fully fit and firing, Eriksen is often at the heart of all things good for Tottenham. The Dane showed a handy knack for pulling the Londoners out of trouble with crucial goals last season – a habit that would serve his side very well indeed this weekend.
Man City first goalscorer betting
Kevin De Bruyne (+650 at Bovada.com): While best known for his prodigious creative talents, City’s £55 million man is also a dab hand in front of the sticks. The Belgian will look to make it three goals from three starts on Saturday, having backed up his strike against West Ham with another in the League Cup win over Sunderland.
Raheem Sterling (+800 at Bovada): Although De Bruyne may have pinched some of his limelight, Sterling appears to be enjoying his new life at Eastlands. The former Liverpool star looks as dangerous as ever and was in very good touch against the Black Cats, scoring one and teeing up another.