The results keep on coming for Tottenham Hotspur. Winners of their last four matches and five of their last six games, Spurs sit second in the Premier League table with fourteen points and an undefeated record. Its the best start for the club since 1964. The football hasn't always been swashbuckling, but Spurs have taken care of business at a lethal clip thus far.
Manchester City are pretty good at football too. The Skye Blues have a completely unblemished record in the Premier League and a plus thirteen goal differential through six matches. Wow. And its not just the results that matter, but the style of play in which they've won. Save their opening day fixture against Sunderland, and their 2-1 victory, nay drubbing, of Manchester United, and City have won by two or more goals in every Premier League match this season. While a 3-3 draw against Celtic isn't up to their standard, City dominated a more than decent Borussia Mönchengladbach side in their other Champions League fixture.
The good news is that Kevin De Bruyne and Nolito will be sidelined. The bad news is that Sergio Aguero will be healthy and ready to break hearts. The Argentine, when healthy, has been the Premier League's most consistently great player over the past half decade and seems to always save an extra bit of venom for the Lilywhites. Raheem Sterling has started off strong and looks to be reminiscent of the player who signed from Liverpool, David Silva is timeless, and Ilkay Gundogan's transition has been seamless. Oh and Kelechi Iheanacho is nineteen-years-old and dirty. Manchester City is jaw droppingly good going forward, it will be a Christmas miracle if Spurs can keep them at bay.
Tottenham have an extra day to recover than City and that's a good thing. De Bruyne's absence is also a big positive. Outside of our own Son Heung-Min, he and Aguero have been the Premier League's most in-form players. A lot will have to go right to beat City on Sunday, but hasn't that always the been the case since The Citizens became rich? This Spurs team has been clinically efficient in accumulating points, but its hard to say that they've had a comprehensive performance against a decent side this term. Their best output and then some will be needed on Sunday if Tottenham Hotspur wish to remain undefeated.
How to Watch
Date/time: Sunday, October 2nd, 2016, 2:15.p.m. (UK), 9:15 a.m. ET (USA)
Venue: White Hart Lane, London, UK
Official: Andre Marriner
TV: NBCSN (USA), Sky Sports 1/HD (UK), Sportsnet (Canada), Optus Sport (Australia), other listings at livesoccertv.com
Streaming: NBC Sports Live Extra (USA)
Radio: Audio streamed at tottenhamhotspur.com, also often at BBC Radio London, BBC Radio 5 Live, and TalkSport
The uncertainty of Dembélé and Dier's health status is unfortunate and unlucky. If either of them make the matchday eighteen roster, expect them to start. Harry Kane remains out, even if the news on his ankle has been declared more favorable than previously anticipated. Danny Rose looks to miss another match with that niggling hamstring injury too.
With those four players likely missing, the starting eleven seems rather straight forward. Vincent Janssen will replace Harry Kane and lead the line for Spurs, with Son, Eriksen, and Lamela play the attacking band. Wanyama will retain the defensive midfield spot, of which he has played admirably in, while Dele Alli will take up the box to box role in the double pivot. The dependable backline of Davies, Vertonghen, Alderweireld, and Walker will start with Hugo playing between the pipes. In terms of predicted lineups, it doesn't get much easier than this.
I missed writing this section last week so a quick shout-out to Jake Meador for nailing on the 1-0 scoreline over Sunderland, the only CFC writer to do so two weeks ago.
The 2-1 victory over Middlesbrough was predicted by everyone, but a Dortmund fan and obscure podcast host were the most accurate of all. For their troubles, they both moved one point behind the five way tie at the top of the leader board. If the journey is to Mordor, then the group just reached Rivendell and Bryan A hasn't left the Shire.
|Earl of Shoop
Dustin Menno: City may be without De Bruyne and Nolito, but they still have Aguero and a massive chip on their shoulder. I like Tottenham's defense and Son Heung-Min looks to be good for at least a goal, but this match still scares the pee out of me. 2-2 draw, and I'll feel lucky to have it.
Matthew Pachniuk: No matter what happens in the match, just remember the badassery of our performances against this terribly unlikeable club last term. If Janssen wants his first Premier League goal, this weekend wouldn't be a bad time to provide it. Even without De Bruyne, City's attack looks too formidable for Tottenham. I think we get one, but our defensive pipes burst and the floodgates open shortly after. Spurs are humbled on Sunday. 3-1 City.
Ben Daniels: City are without KDB and Nolito, which makes them worse than the all-conquering behemoths they've been all season. And they just drew with a Celtic side that Barcelona obliterated a few weeks ago. Meanwhile we should have Rose, Walker, Dier, and Dembele all back in the team. I think our defense (fully-fit) is good enough to handle City's attack, and Sonny is on a hot streak. 2-1 Spurs.
Luke Zimmerman: Prediction: Pain. City already had their win streak snapped -- by Celtic and Brendan Rodgers of all teams. Pep is going to be pissed and he's going to make Spurs pay for it. His track record after a defeat is something fierce and with Spurs not at 100%, they're going to be on the receiving end of an all out full frontal assault. 4-1 City.
GN Punk: To quote the late, great Gorilla Monsoon, this is where the irresistible force meets the immovable object. City's attack is frightening, but Spurs defense is outstanding. I have hope because if a Brendan Rodgers-led Celtic can somehow pull a draw out of their @ss, then surely Spurs can do at least that. Right? 2-2 draw.
Alex Greenberg: Remember a couple seasons back when City repeatedly hammered us? Spurs have progressed so much that this seems like a long time ago. Tim Sherwood is off scouring the stores of London for gilet sales and we can feel a lot more comfortable with Poch in charge. We did well against City last year, but they're revamped on the pitch and on the sidelines. I think we mount a late comeback, but ultimately fall short. Even with KDB and Nolito out, they've still got so much firepower. 3-2 City.
Pardeep Cattry: Spurs are doing pretty well for themselves: they boast the league's best defensive record and Son Heung-Min is "on fire," in the words of Mauricio Pochettino. City, though, are just a better overall package, even without Kevin De Bruyne and Nolito. It'll be close, but Spurs will lose their first league match of the year. 2-1 City.
Skipjack: I'm really worried about this one. Especially with a potentially injured midfield. 3-1 City.
Bryan A: Spurs haven't conceded from open play and City are averaging three goals a game. Wouldn't it be wild if both of those trends continued? City ride two Aguero penalties and a Kolorov free kick to victory. 3-1 City.
Ed F: I back our chances of bagging a few goals with the form that Son is in, but I don't think we can shut Aguero out. I predict a 2-2 draw that I will mostly watch through my fingers.
Earl of Shoop: One of my fondest Spurs memories is beating City on a Crouchy header on the final day of the 09-10 season, propelling us into the Champions League. Yet I'm permanently scarred from the beatings we took from them in 13-14 and 14-15. We're a much better side comparatively than we were in any of those years, but City are hot and have an awful lot of firepower at their disposal. This scoreline's not going to be a blowout, but I think ultimately the result will end up confirming City's current position atop the table. 2-0 City.
Brian Meyers: Manchester City is the best team in the EPL. While we may be the second or third best, it's never easy taking on the king, especially when he has something to prove. Even with their current injury issues, City will still be formidable. 3-1 City and it will be a very sad Sunday.