Manchester City-Tottenham Hotspur Preview

·3 min read

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola believes Tottenham are contenders to win the Premier League this season thanks to the work of Jose Mourinho.

Second-place Spurs are unbeaten in seven top-flight matches since their opening-game defeat to Everton – the longest-such run in the division – and are a point behind leaders Leicester City.

Tottenham host City on Saturday and are seeking a fourth successive league win for the first time since February 2019 when Mauricio Pochettino was in charge.

Friday marks exactly a year since Mourinho succeeded Pochettino, and Guardiola has been impressed with his long-time rival's work in north London.

"He's done really good, as always in all the clubs [he's managed]," said Guardiola, who has agreed a new two-year deal with City. "The numbers speak for themselves. They dropped points against West Ham and Newcastle in the last minute - imagine the points if they hadn't. They are contenders. The quality they've got is always there. They qualified for the Champions League for four or five years and reached the final.

"They have been a good team since Pochettino took over. It is a fantastic squad."

Mourinho, meanwhile, questioned whether City's Raheem Sterling – who pulled out of England duty during the international break – is truly injured.

"Of course we all know Sterling will play (Saturday)," said Mourinho, who has become embroiled in something of a verbal tussle with England boss Gareth Southgate. "When Eric Dier left the national team injured in the previous month, he didn't play two matches for Tottenham. He didn't play a Premier League match and a Europa League match. He needed a couple of weeks to recover and Raheem is going to play (Saturday).

"These are the little details I think Gareth should explain to us all. Apart from that, I totally support him in the fact that in the national team."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Tottenham – Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg

Spurs won the corresponding fixture last season and if Mourinho is to repeat that success, stemming City's control in midfield will be key. Hojbjerg has proved an astute purchase from Southampton, and the former Bayern Munich man will have to set the tone for the hosts.

Manchester City – Gabriel Jesus

Jesus marked his return to action with a superbly taken goal against Liverpool last time out and has since featured twice for Brazil. He has been involved in 11 goals in his last 11 games in all competitions.

KEY OPTA FACTS

Only against Chelsea (26) have City lost more Premier League games than they have to Tottenham (24).

Tottenham have won both of their meetings with City at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in all competitions, last winning three home games in a row against the Citizens between 2005-2009 (a run of six).

Spurs are looking to win four consecutive league games for the first time since February 2019 under Mauricio Pochettino.

City have scored 10 goals in their seven Premier League games this season, their fewest at this stage of a season since 2010-11 (nine) and 17 fewer than they had after seven games last season.

This will be the 24th meeting in all competitions between Mourinho and Guardiola – Mourinho's 10 defeats in these games is more than he's suffered against any other manager, while Guardiola has only beaten Manuel Pellegrini more often (12).

Tottenham's Harry Kane has been involved in 23 goals in just 14 games in all competitions this season (13 goals, 10 assists), at least eight more than any other Premier League player.