The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium will be empty again this weekend, however, there will be enough ego and animosity inside the ground to make it feel uncomfortably full, when old adversaries Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola come face to face in North London.
Ahead of Saturday’s heavyweight showdown, Tottenham are within touching distance of the Premier League summit, though pre-season title favourites Man City find themselves in unfamiliar territory just inside the top half down in 10th.
However, a single positive result can launch teams vertically at a rate of knots in this season’s tightly condensed division, and a victory for the mid-table Citizens on Saturday would push them to within two points of their hosts.
For a detailed analysis of the game, complete with exclusive betting tips, check out our Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester City predictions.
Mourinho and Guardiola prepare to do battle
Saturday’s game pits two of the most successful managers of the modern era against each other when regular antagonists Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola man opposing dugouts in the capital.
The revered tacticians have faced off as opponents 23 times during their respective careers, with Guardiola’s 11 victories dwarfing Mourinho’s six, and a further six meetings between the managers ending all square.
We have to go all the way back to September 2009 to find the first clash between them however, when Mourinho’s robust Inter Milan team held Pep’s tiki-taka Champions League winning Barcelona team to a 0-0 draw in Italy during the competition’s Group Stage.
Barca went on to win the return fixture 2-0 in November the same year, though Jose had the last laugh when he masterminded a double-legged semi-final victory over the La Liga giants the following April en-route to lifting the Champions League trophy in May.
11 years and numerous pieces of silverware later, Mourinho and Guardiola are still going at it, and their personal rivalry provides a fascinating sub-plot to Saturday’s game.
Can Man City deal with Kane and Son?
Harry Kane and Son-Heung-Min have been performing in pitch-perfect harmony for Spurs since the summer, and the devastating double-act’s potent brand of sporting symbiosis is proving next to impossible for Premier League defences to counter.
In total, the increasingly prolific pair have combined to notch nine league goals this season, and the attackers need to link up just five more times between now and the end of the campaign to set a new Premier League record for most goal/assist combos in a single season.
The in-sync side-kicks are also closing in on the league’s all-time record too, and having linked up to score 29 goals in total over the past few seasons, Kane and Son need just seven more exchanges to overtake Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard as the competition’s most fearsome twosome.
Like the majority of the league’s other combatants, City will have a tough time keeping Kane and Son under wraps on Saturday, however, in Ruben Dias and Aymeric Laporte, the Citizens have a new centre-back pairing showing massive amounts of promise.
The defenders have started just three times in the Premier League together, though City conceded just two goals combined in that trio of tussles, restricting their opponents to just 3.3 attempts on target each on average.
Both Dias and Laporte will need to stretch every inch of their defensive acumen to keep Son and Kane on the periphery of proceedings this weekend.
City out for revenge
Tottenham Hotspur took four points from their two Premier League encounters against Man City last season to put a double dent in the Citizens’ title aspirations for the campaign – though both matches were remarkable events.
10-man City were beaten 2-0 in London when the teams last squared off in February, though Pep Guardiola’s side racked up an incredible 19 shots to their host’s three on an evening when Lady Luck completely abandoned the boys in sky blue.
When the rivals went to war the previous August in their first Premier League skirmish of the 2019/20 campaign, City and Spurs shared the spoils after a 2-2 draw, however, the Citizens were again left feeling hard done by having notched an eye-watering 30 attempts to Tottenham’s three.
Spurs in fact, bagged four goals from a total of five shots on target against City last season, and having hogged all the fortune last term, Tottenham will be hoping to catch the majority of the breaks again on Saturday.
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Both teams to score
With Harry Kane and Son Heung-min firing on all cylinders, Tottenham have scored for seven successive Premier League fixtures, leaving their opening day blank at home to Everton firmly in the rear-view mirror.
Manchester City meanwhile, notched at least once in 100% of the seven top-flight fixtures they’ve contested so far, and the Citizens have the firepower to extend that streak when they visit North London.
Saturday’s showpiece fixture at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium will be sprinkled heavily with stardust, and with so much attacking talent on display, supporters are almost certain to be treated to plenty of penetrative football.
With Kane and Son at the peak of their powers, and de Bruyne, Sterling and Jesus among others likely to feature for City, there will be match-winners everywhere you look this weekend.
The last 15 meetings between these teams averaged 3.2 goals per 90 minutes, and we think excitement levels should be high again in Spurs and City’s latest tussle.
Son Heung-min to score anytime
Lethal finisher Son Heung-min is Tottenham’s leading scorer in the Premier League this season with a superb eight goals in eight top-tier appearances, and the in-form 28-year-old has a promising record against Man City to draw even more confidence from this weekend.
Son hit four goals in his last four run outs against the Citizens, and the South Korean’s knack of finding the net against the Manchester giants makes him a prime candidate to get amongst the goals again on Saturday.
Harry Kane 2+ shots on target
While Kane has been slightly outgunned by his Spurs teammate Son in terms of goals scored this season, the England international is out on his own as the most prolific shot taker in the Premier League.
Kane is averaging a huge 4.8 shots per Premier League appearance this term, and the 27-year-old has been getting 1.9 of his average attempts per game on target.
The Three Lions talisman carries an enormous amount of attacking threat in Saturday’s games against City, and Kane will let fly at Ederson’s goal if given even half a sniff.
Rodrigo to be booked
In Fernandinho’s absence, holding midfielder Rodrigo has taken on the role of chief tactical fouler and counter attack stopper for City, and the Spaniard’s two bookings this season makes him the Citizens’ joint most carded player in the Premier League.
Rodrigo was shown a yellow card when City last made the trip to play Tottenham in the capital, and against Mourinho’s favoured “sit and spring” approach, the 24-year-old might have to lean on his knowledge of the game’s dark arts again to take the sting out of Spurs’ counter-punching efforts.