After a rough stretch in November, Tottenham Hotspur have found their winning ways by polishing off their Champions League group stage with a win against APOEL Nicosia, a thrashing of Stoke City, and a gritty win over Brighton and Hove Albion. Spurs have managed to crawl back into the top four in a three-way tie with Liverpool and Burnley while Arsenal sit one point behind in seventh. The first half schedule hits its apex this Saturday as Spurs get their first crack at league leader Manchester City, who are running away with the league having dropped just two points in the campaign so far. I sat down with Renato Goncalves from our sister site Bitter and Blue to talk about the match, if any trades can be worked out in January, and why David Silva cut his hair.
CFC: First and foremost, can you guys slow the f*ck down? We don't really want the league to be decided by January....right?
BB: Nah, I don't want us to slow down. Winnning is fun. Breaking records is fun. And I don't mind if the league is over by January. As long as we win it, I don't care when it happens!
Kyle Walker obviously sucks. Can we have him back and, more seriously, how's he been for City?
No, you can't. It's not our fault you sold him. But seriously, he's been incredible. Right-back was a gigantic problem last season and Kyle has more than just fixed. I don't think there's any question he's been the best right-back in the league this season, and we found out at City that he's not just a really fast player who can run up and down the flanks all game long. He does that too, but his ability on the ball and his defensive awareness are really good. Pep has used him as an inverted full-back going to midfield when needing to protect a lead and a true winger late in games needing a win, and Kyle was great in both roles. He can do it all, he rarely makes a mistake, and he's clearly improved under Pep. We love him.
Is Manchester City the best club in world football at the moment? We know PSG are skinning people alive but City are terrifying.
PSG are insanely scary because of their front three, but it's really hard to judge them given they play in France. The Premier League is obviously tougher and City have made literally all the teams they faced look mediocre, and I don't think there's any question about it. I think it's a tie between City and PSG, but we just edge it because we play in a more difficult league and we're making it look bad.
Personally, I think a January trade to balance the power would be nice. Maybe Sissoko for Sterling?
How about this one: Vincent Kompany for Juan Foyth? I loved watching Foyth in the few games he played, and we need depth at center-back. With Kompany you get a proven Premier League defender and another Belgian in the team. He might not ever play, but Foyth doesn't play either!
We know City have incredible depth, but here's a question for you: Name the one player who, if he goes down with a long-term injury, completely screws this up.
Fernandinho. It's not even a debate. Yes, De Bruyne and David Silva are ridiculous, but without Fernandinho we'd be really screwed. He's the most underrated player in the league, no doubt.
Be real with us: How did Pep convince a fine upstanding man like David Silva to start committing fouls and what's with this new energy in City's press this year?
If Pep can convince David Silva to get rid of the greatest hair in the history of English football, he can convince him to do anything. The press has been a work in progress since last season, and now the players really believe that if they run like crazy to get the ball back they'll have a really good chance to score as they're closer to the opponent's goal. Basically, Pep is awesome and the players know it.
When do Fernandinho's legs fall off and is there any push to get some depth behind him in January?
Like I said before, he's really key for us. The good thing is that he can play a lot of minutes and doesn't get tired easily, but it'd be important to get some depth behind him. I don't think we'll address it in January, though, because we have a lot of injuries to the defense right now and we need one or two signings to solve that problem. We also have Danilo, Gundogan and Yaya Touré who can play in Fernandinho's position, and although they aren't as good as him they'll provide good cover when he needs a day off.
What's the expected Starting XI for City on Saturday? And you can't just post a picture of a carrier battle group...
I'll be nice and just give you the players in a 4-3-3 formation: Ederson; Walker (LOL), Otamendi, Mangala, Delph; De Bruyne, Fernandinho, David Silva; Sterling, Gabriel Jesus, Sané
Spurs are awesome and this is impossible to predict. We are just perfect right now, but I respect Pochettino and Kane, Dele and Eriksen too much to assume we'll win this. I'm going for a 2-2 draw, which at the moment is the same as a 5-0 loss for us.