Three key battles in Manchester City vs Tottenham
Defending Premier League champions Manchester City kicked things off in great fashion as they beat West Ham 5-0 in their opening PL fixture at the London Stadium.
Pep Guardiola’s side now return to Etihad and turn their attention towards a juicy fixture against Tottenham, a side that eliminated them in the Champions League quarter-finals last season. This will be a different test for Manchester City and they’ll be desperate for three points on Saturday.
Tottenham, on the other hand, also enjoyed a positive start to the new campaign as they defeated newbies Aston Villa 3-1 after coming from a goal behind. The north London side will have to be at their sublime best to beat City at the Etihad.
The duo has had some memorable encounters over the years with plenty of goals too and both could easily take the win if they get their tactics right. Both City and Spurs have real match-winners in their respective sides, but what are the key battles that could decide the game? Let’s take a look.
1. Harry Kane vs Aymeric Laporte
Harry Kane has started the new campaign very well, scoring a brace in the 3-1 win over against Aston Villa. He will undoubtedly be the danger man for Tottenham and their main avenue of attack once again.
The England striker will likely have to deal with Aymeric Laporte, who alongside John Stones helped City in keeping a clean sheet against West Ham last weekend.
Kane is arguably Premier League’s best striker at the moment and his game is about intelligent positioning and reading of the game. He is deadly in and around the box, which means that the City defenders have to be extra vigilant.
Laporte has been Guardiola’s first-choice centre-back and did very well against West Ham. The Frenchman had to contain Sebastien Haller last week but Kane will be a very different kind of test for him, and one he’ll have to be up for if his team are to take all three points.
2. Christian Eriksen vs Rodri
Christian Eriksen was left on the bench in the opening day win over Aston Villa, but his entry as a substitute changed the course of the game. His side were trailing 1-0 at home until his introduction in the second half and the Dane inspired Spurs to all three points.
Eriksen is one of the best midfielders, always having an influence going forward. With him in the team, Spurs are a different animal and that was well documented against Villa. A player who Eriksen is most likely to come up against in this game is Rodri.
Rodri made his first Premier League appearance in City colours against West Ham, controlling the tempo of the game from the base of the midfield. He was dispossessed a few times but that was not expected as all new players take time to adjust to the physical and aggressive nature of the Premier League.
With time, however, Rodri will improve and become a long-term replacement for Fernandinho. However, the Spaniard is the man who would be charged with keeping Eriksen quiet today.
3. Raheem Sterling vs Kyle Walker-Peters
Spurs have become weak at right-back following Kieran Trippier’s exit this summer. Pochettino preferred young Kyle Walker-Peters over experienced Serge Aurier on the right against Villa and the 22-year-old repaid his manager’s faith with a strong performance.
However, Walker-Peters will have to be mindful when he comes up against the dangerous Raheem Sterling, who scored a hat-trick in the 5-0 battering of West Ham.
The England international is a lynchpin in the City attack and is an excellent link-up player. He has an excellent awareness of where to position himself to pounce on the opponents’ mistake.
So Walker-Peters will have his task cut out against the nippy Sterling. The City ace will be a key supply line in his team’s attack and the Tottenham defender has to break it early on to make it difficult for the hosts.