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Man City v Spurs: What to look out for

Daniel Sandford 17 Jan 2023
Haaland and Kane

The top two scorers meet and both sides are leaking goals as we preview a blockbuster encounter

Manchester City face a significant test tonight as they bid to close the eight-point gap to leaders Arsenal.

TV Info

The champions host Tottenham Hotspur, against whom they have struggled in recent years.

As Pep Guardiola attempts to avoid a third straight home league match without a victory, for the first time since December 2016, we look at the key elements of the duel at Etihad Stadium.

Erling Haaland v Harry Kane

The Premier League's two leading goalscorers are going head-to-head, as Erling Haaland and Harry Kane battle for the Castrol Golden Boot award.

Haaland has astounded with his scoring feats, breaking several records in his debut campaign, and leads the way with 21 goals.

Kane sits second in the race, netting 15 times as he closes in on historic milestones.

The Spurs striker is one goal away from equalling Jimmy Greaves’ club record of 266 goals in all competitions.

He is also only two away from becoming the third player to score 200 in the Premier League, after Alan Shearer and Wayne Rooney. A repeat of his brace last season at the Etihad Stadium would take Kane to the milestone. 

History on Spurs' side

The north Londoners can head to Manchester with the knowledge that they have dominated this contest over the past few seasons, winning four of their last five matches against Man City, including both meetings last term.

It represents a return of Spurs’ supremacy over the Citizens between 2004 and 2010, when they triumphed in all but one of 13 meetings in all competitions.

However, City have won this encounter convincingly on several occasions, most notably earning a 6-0 home win in November 2013.

Defensive frailties

Both sides have been struggling at the back this season. Spurs have only secured one clean sheet in their last nine outings, a 4-0 win against Crystal Palace.

Indeed, in the eight matches when they have conceded, Antonio Conte's side have let in two or more goals, taking only seven points from those outings. 

Meanwhile, Man City have only one clean sheet in their last six matches.

Their frailties at the back could make this another brilliant encounter, and history suggests there will be goals. The last goalless draw between the two teams was back in August 2010.

Return of key personnel

Both teams are set to be boosted by the return of key players. 

John Stones has missed City's last two matches in all competitions, while Ruben Dias hasn't featured since being injured for Portugal at the World Cup. But Guardiola has confirmed both are in contention for this match.

"In the last two training sessions they have trained really well and they are in contention," he said on the club's official website.    

Rodrigo Bentancur was also injured at the World Cup and hasn't played since. But Conte has issued a positive statement on the defensive midfielder.

"He is available and he could be available for the game against City," Conte said on the club's official website.

Guardiola v Conte

A key factor for Spurs could be Conte's excellent record against Guardiola. The Italian has won three of their last five meetings in all competitions.

Among the managers Guardiola has faced at least five times in his career, Conte is the only one he's lost more than half his matches against.

City can put the pressure on

If Man City want to claim a third straight league title, they have a lot of work to do to catch Arsenal.

However, by the time the Gunners kick off against Manchester United this weekend, the landscape at the top of the table could look very different.

Should Man City win tonight, and then at home against Wolverhampton Wanderers at 14:00 GMT on Sunday, they would move within two points of Arsenal before the leaders start their match at 16:30 GMT.

The top five

Pos Team Pl GD Pts
1 ARS 28 +40 69
2 MCI 27 +42 61
3 MUN 26 +6 50
4 TOT 28 +12 49
5 NEW 26 +20 47
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