In a bit of a strange wrinkle, we have a City vs. Spurs rematch on tap just a couple of weeks after their last Premier League matchup. The Etihad edition of this fixture, which has given city some trouble in recent years, was quite the thriller with Tottenham going up 2-0 with a flurry just before the half, before City roared back to win 4-2. Now, with the reverse fixture on the horizon, let’s take a look at the odds and make some picks.
Tottenham vs. Manchester City Odds
Even at home, Spurs are major underdogs against the defending champions, with odds to win of +340. The draw is set at +310, while City are favored with -135 odds to pick up the road win. After all of the goals last time, over 2.5 is favored at -150, while the under is set at +120
Tottenham vs. Manchester City Prediction & Pick
At halftime, things were looking great for Spurs on their visit to the Etihad. They had just stunned the entire stadium and it looked like City were truly saved by the bell. By the end of the match, only one question could be asked- what happened? In short, Riyad Mahrez happened, the Algerian winger snapped into form and put together one of his best performances of the season as he contributed a pair of goals and an assist to boot, all in that dominant second half. Each side had an extremely positive half in the first matchup, and a disastrous one; both will aim to replicate the good, and leave the bad in the past.
While neither team is particularly consistent, there’s obviously levels to this- City are still largely the same squad that has spent the past half-decade dominating England, and Spurs are still…Spurs. In the last matchup, City seemed to flip a switch and begin to play aggressive football, instead of merely retaining possession, and with this game happening so shortly after, they should retain that approach. Minus odds on the road are never my favorite, but it’s impossible to lay money on Tottenham- my moneyline pick is City -135. For goalscoring, it’s also pretty straightforward. If City are at their best, they could go over 2.5 on their own, and if they’re off, it’ll most likely be defensive lapses, so I’m a fan of over 2.5 at -150. Considering both propositions are minus-odds, I’d be thinking about a same game parlay.
Tottenham Attack vs. City Defense
Little has changed since the reverse fixture, Spurs are still decidedly an attack-first team, definitively centered around Harry Kane, who drilled in another goal to secure a 1-0 win over Fulham last time out, adding to his outstanding season-long tally. He’s flanked by an excellent winger pair, Dejan Kulusevski and Son Heung-min. Son has not really played up to the lofty standard he’s set in recent years, but he’s still a major talent, and a threat to score or assist. Kulusevski has had some injury issues, but is in pretty decent form and is tied for the team lead in assists. Lastly, there’s Richarlison, who has played sporadically and poorly for Spurs this year, but had a better World Cup performance and is an option off of the bench.
The last game against Spurs was a perfect representation of City’s defense; definitely talented enough to slow down a good attack for a period of time, but definitely also prone to serious lapses. The one major change is the exit of superstar fullback João Cancelo, who strangely fell out of favor with Pep and is now suddenly on Bayern. Now, the fullback duo will most likely be some combination of speedy former Spur Kyle Walker, youngster Rico Lewis, and the versatile Nathan Aké, who could start at centre-back as well. I would expect him to be at left back, however, as the central pairing of John Stones and Manuel Akanji has been quite solid, which they have to be- Ederson continues to be an enormous liability in the net. This group is talented, but has lost perhaps its best member; let’s see how they move forward against a great attack.
City Attack vs. Tottenham Defense
Now let’s talk about the City attack that whipped up a four-goal half out of thin air. Like Tottenham’s, this group obviously centers around a star striker, Erling Haaland. The young Norwegian has the World’s attention right now, and for good reason- he’s been absolutely outstanding at putting himself into position to score tons of easy chances. One interesting development from the last Spurs game was the incorporation of Julián Álvarez, who played beneath Haaland as something between a second striker and a CAM, so we’ll see if and how both are included this time out. And then, there’s City’s notoriously deep winger group. The trio of Jack Grealish, Riyad Mahrez, and Phil Foden can be mixed and matched in several ways, picking the right pair will be absolutely paramount in Pep’s preparation for this match.
Unlike their attack, Spurs’ defense in the Premier League has been average at absolute best, as they’ve allowed 31 goals in 21 matches. Longtime goalkeeper Hugo Lloris is very clearly in decline, and was particularly dreadful last time against City. If they run some variation off of the 3-4-3 formation as they have been, we’ll see a back three most likely comprised of Cristian Romero, Eric Dier, and Ben Davies, who could also land in the outside midfielder/fullback role on the left side. If not Davies, it would most likely be Ivan Perisic, who is having a nice season on both ends of the pitch. Across the formation, Matt Doherty has been a mainstay on the right side, but he’s now on Atlético Madrid, so Emerson Royal will all but certainly be the pick in his former spot. This defense has been shaky and as we saw last time, does not have the pace and fitness to keep up with City for a full 90 minutes. A strong performance isn’t likely, but it’s probably imperative if Spurs hope to stick around in this one.