Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur are at the top of the table going into Matchweek #7, setting up a battle on Sunday that is sure to have us all biting our nails. While the neutral observer will most likely get a wonderfully entertaining 90 minutes, the rest of us will more than likely be sitting on the edge of our seats. Ahead of Sunday’s match, we sat down with Renato Goncalves of SBN’s Bitter and Blue to talk about life under Pep Guardiola, multiple attempts to reverse jinx the Citizens, and somehow tying in a bad Cameron Diaz movie into it all.
CFC: Manchester City seems to have the momentum of a runaway freight train. What makes them so good?
BB: Definitely the manager. The squad is basically the same from last season, and City played like garbage for most of last season. But then Pep came and introduced his style, and the team is playing like last season never happened. Pep's tactics and instructions are unique, the players seem to love them and work very hard in learning his system. So far, it's working. And with time, it'll be even better. Even I am scared.
When you have a team with no weaknesses what do you convince yourself to worry about as a fan?
The defense. It was horrible to watch City desperately trying to defend against CELTIC. Sure, the Paradise atmosphere helped, but the City defense was all over the place and was never able to deal with Moussa Dembele (not yours). Spurs have better attackers, press the defense a lot and can score loads of goals on their best day (like they did against City at the Lane last season). So I'm definitely worried about the defense. Although with John Stones coming back, I'm not as afraid.
City is scoring three or more goals per game. Why are they holding back on the league, and when will Guardiola finally take off the training wheels?
Yeah, he doesn't really have a great striker, so even though his team creates loads of chances, you can't score a lot with Sergio Agüero up front. Wait...
Speaking of the training wheels, Kolarov and Sagna seem like they're out of place in this squad. I was watching "The Box" the other day (Don't ask me why) and I pose to you this question: I give you a button that, if you press it, one of Kolarov or Sagna go POOF and are never seen or heard from again at Manchester City. Which would you prefer goes poof?
Sagna. I don't have to explain it, do I? Wait, I do? Okay, he's terrible.
Kevin De Bruyne has been killing it under Pep, but is injured and will miss this match. How does this affect the gameplan and who steps up in his place?
The gameplan not too much, because Pep wants possession, movement and goals regardless of the players he's got. But since KDB has been the best player in the league so far, he'll be definitely missed. But David Silva played great football against Celtic, and he looks like the natural replacement.
With Kelechi Iheanacho quietly looking like one of the best young strikers in England, are there any other academy prospects you’re excited about?
The two full-backs (Pablo Maffeo and Angelino) are great young talents. Aleix García scored in his full debut last week, and of course there's Brahim Diaz, who's incredible and is tearing up the youth ranks. The future looks very bright, that's for sure.
What's the expected Starting XI for City on Sunday?
(4-3-3): Bravo; Sagna (ugh), Stones, Otamendi, Kolarov; Fernando/Fernandinho, Gundogan, Silva; Sané/Navas, Agüero, Sterling
How about a prediction on the match?
I'm very nervous about this game, and I really do think these are the two best teams in the league right now. Anyone can win, but Spurs will miss Harry Kane a lot, even though Son is playing like Dad. I'll go with a very tough 2-1 win for us, but it can go either way, definitely.
We’d like to thank Renato for sitting down with us. As is our usual tradition, I sat down with Renato and did a Q&A over at Bitter and Blue, which will be available on Saturday for viewing.