The first fixture to satisfy our insatiable desire for Premier League football after the international break is at the Etihad, as two of the current top six prepare to fight it out in this crucial early period (kickoff time is 7:45am ET, and the game will be shown live on US TV on NBCSN).
Despite decent hauls of 14 and 11 points so far, both sides have been somewhat inconsistent so far this term. The champions have already gained a respectable points tally in order to lie in second place. However they have largely flattered to deceive, as the confident expansive side that reigned supreme last season has stagnated. The defense has looked vulnerable, as £32 million Eliaquim Mangala is still acclimatizing to English football, while Yaya Toure has looked completely out of sorts at the heart of the City midfield. The team which won with a four goal cushion six times last season (two of which were against Saturday’s opponents) haven’t surfaced so far this season as their biggest margin of victory was 3-1.
Under Mauricio Pochettino, the visitors have conjured impressive displays such as the 4-0 drubbing of QPR, but then experienced shock losses to Liverpool and West Bromwich Albion. The former Argentina center-back is still searching for his best line up, while attempting to instill his swift, pressing philosophy into his occasionally lackadaisical charges.
Manchester City have 56 wins in total, Tottenham have 57 wins and there have been 34 draws. Unfortunately for the Lilywhites in recent years there has been a monopoly over the spoils of this fixture by their Mancunian counterparts. Tottenham have lost their last four at the Etihad and won only once in their last eight meetings. Furthermore, last season they lost 11-1 on aggregate in their two fixtures (6-0, 1-5).
Manchester City – Yaya Toure and Edin Dzeko
The enigmatic Yaya Toure is an oxymoron in the finest sense of the word, juxtaposing a powerful sense of indifference and selfishness with moments of supreme quality and overawing physical prowess. His recent performance against Aston Villa enhanced his reputation as a luxury player, as Paul Scholes said he simply “ambles around the pitch”, while Fernandinho does the defensive work for the two of them. However, it only takes a single chance for it to be worth it. The 82nd minute of last week illustrating how even the smallest lapse of concentration from Tottenham’s defense could be enough to pique the 31-year-old Ivorian’s interest and lead to a crucial goal. The former Wolfsburg striker alongside him in the sky blue jerseys isn’t as widely renowned as the vast majority of his compatriots, but he has an instinctive knack of finding the net with 18 goals in all competitions, despite the fierce contest for places. He has also netted six times out of six against Tottenham with a goal on average every 78 minutes against them.