Manchester City welcome Tottenham to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday afternoon, kicking off at 5:30pm local time. When these two teams met in the Champions League here last April, it was considered the game of the season, so let’s hope we are in for another classic in this early pivotal game of the Premier League season.
Home Team: Manchester City
Manchester City’s opening day triumph over West Ham was all too similar. They went to a ground where they have scored 4 goals at least on every occasion, and after a somewhat slow start, they upped a gear in the 2nd half and completed their annual annihilation of West Ham. Raheem Sterling was arguably the most impressive player for Manchester City, scoring a hat-trick, with three fantastic finishes.
Elsewhere, Riyad Mahrez, who had just come back into training after his African Cup of Nations success, was equally inspiring, being involved in most of the goals with neat footwork and excellent vision for a key pass. The performance shown by Manchester City reiterated that they will be the team to beat again this season, but their upcoming opponents will be a much sterner task.
Manchester City have a full squad to choose from, and boast a remarkable bench to accommodate their staring eleven. Will City make it two from two?[geot exclude_country="US" ][/geot]
Away Team: Tottenham
Tottenham’s opening game didn’t go as smoothly as City’s, as they were left largely frustrated for most of the match, with the fans wondering if they were witnessing a ‘typical Spurs’ performance again. After reaching the Champions League final last summer, and with some new transfers to look forward to, the crowd were expectant on Saturday. However, Aston Villa delivered a sucker punch early on, and defended well for the majority of the game.
Spurs did improve after the interval, mainly thanks to Christian Eriksen, who still may be leaving the club within the next few weeks. New signing Tanguy Ndombele, and Harry Kane, who never scores in August, scored two late goals to secure the three points. If Tottenham perform similarly as they did in the first half against Villa, then they’ll be dead and buried against Manchester City before the half time whistle goes. Dele Alli may return for Tottenham, but Heung-min Son is still suspended. Can they repeat their 2nd half performance and get a vital result on Saturday?
Head to Head
The club’s met four times last season, with Manchester City winning both league matches home and away via a 1-0 score line. However, the Champions League quarter final meeting was one win apiece, with Tottenham winning the first leg 1-0 in their new stadium, and then Manchester City won the return leg 4-3, meaning they went out on away goals. A late VAR decision cost Manchester City a 5-3 win that would have taken them through. That first leg victory for Tottenham was their only win against Manchester City in their last seven meetings. At the Etihad, Tottenham haven’t won their since 2016 – before Guardiola’s time – and that victory then has been their only win there in the last decade.
Predictions and Betting Tips
Manchester City are at 4/11 to win the match, with Tottenham priced at 7/1. For the sides to share the spoils, that is at 4/1. Manchester City are considered overwhelming favourites to win here, but I still don’t quite think they have got into their groove just yet. I believe Tottenham will be a tough code to crack for Manchester City, and I will back a draw here. The value of a draw is more than reasonable, and my score line prediction will be a 1-1 draw at 17/2. You can back any score draw, (1-1, 2-2 or 3-3), at 5/1.
For goal scorers, I’d back English duo Raheem Sterling of Manchester City and Harry Kane of Tottenham to both score at 8/1. The bookmakers may underestimate Tottenham here, so consider backing them to score first (9/4), lead at half time (11/2), or to score 2+ goals at 7/2. Many safe bettors will tip Manchester City, but to boost your earnings, back them to win both halves at 7/4, or to score 4+ goals at 3/1 – see, the value isn’t striking.
Finally, for the real tipsters out there, you’ll get the big bucks by correctly predicting a Scorecast with an unlikely hero getting the first goal, so backing Toby Alderweireld to score from a set-piece for Spurs, and then for them to draw 1-1 is at an incredible 80/1.[geot exclude_country="US" ][/geot]