Spurs vs Man City
Sunday 5th February 2023
Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
As part of our weekend Premier League predictions, we take a look at Spurs vs Man City. With Arsenal losing to Everton 1-0 on Saturday, can City pounce to close the gap at the top of the table? Find out with our Spurs vs Man City prediction.
Spurs vs Man City Match Overview
Spurs enter this game having won 3-0 away at Preston in the FA Cup to book their place in the fifth round. Their league form has been relatively poor in the last six games. They are in eleventh place in the form guide across this period, with wins against Crystal Palace and, in their previous game, against Fulham. There have been losses to Arsenal, Aston Villa, and this weekend’s visitors Man City in that run. Indeed, the reverse fixture at the Etihad disappointed boss Antonio Conte as Spurs scored two late first-half goals to go in 2-0 at half-time but capitulated in the second half. Spurs’ current home form is abysmal, having lost four of their last five at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Conte is currently in Italy after having his gallbladder removed and is unlikely to be on the bench for this game. Spurs desperately need to improve on their own patch, but a match against the champions looks hard.
Man City come into the game having beaten league rivals Arsenal 1-0 in the FA Cup. Their last match in the Premier League was at home to Wolves which they won comfortably 3-0, thanks to a hat-trick from scoring sensational Erling Haaland. City are third in the form table across the last six games, having accumulated 13 points from 18. The only defeat was their controversial loss at Old Trafford. Away from home, City have picked up 17 points from 27, placing them third in the away form table this season. They have won four of the last six on their travels, so they will fancy their chances of going to Spurs and winning the game. However, Spurs have given City plenty of challenging games in recent years and are stylistically a poor fit given the Londoners’ propensity for pace and counter-attacks. Therefore, this game could be fascinating.
Injuries and Suspensions
Might Not Play: Moura, Richarlison, Sarr
Will Not Play: N/A
Might Not Play: Foden
Will Not Play: Stones
Spurs vs Man City Lineups (Predicted)
Spurs (3-4-3): Lloris; Davies, Dier, Romero; Perisic, Hojbjerg, Bentancur, Emerson Royal; Son, Kane, Kulusevski
Man City (4-3-3): Ederson; Ake, Dias, Akanji, Lewis; Rodri, Gundogan, De Bruyne; Grealish, Haaland, Mahrez
Spurs’ Midfield Industry and Counter-Attack Threat
Spurs’ most successful tactic is to work hard in defence, and midfield, then rely on Son, Kulusevski, and Kane to do the damage up top through the counter. It is harder for them to sit in deep and lure the opposition onto them when they play at home. This situation partially accounts for their poor form at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium over the last five games. However, Man City are primarily a possession team, and Tottenham often give them a good game. In this match, we anticipate that Lloris and the three centre-backs will have their work cut out dealing with the City carousel of passing, but they must remain switched on. Bentancur is a classy player in midfield who is both good defensively and on the ball. Indeed, he is tigerish in closing down and has made 40 tackles in just 15 Premier League appearances. These have generally come in the midfield and defensive thirds, highlighting how crucial his tackling and intercepting are for Spurs in winning the ball. Therefore, it will be up to him and the equally industrious Hojbjerg to try to claim the ball and use expansive passing to allow Spurs to transition quickly.
Perhaps surprisingly, Spurs are in fifth place in the passing table, so they have more of the ball at home than they would like. Generally, they would rather counter with the pace of Son and Kulusevski, but they are forced to take the game to weaker teams at home, and this is not their style. Kane sometimes drops deep to play as a playmaker, but he often plays on the shoulder too. Indeed, he has had 75 shots this season, so he will look to take chances against Ederson. Perisic has delivered 115 crosses in just 14 games, so his delivery from wide is clearly a weapon that Spurs look to exploit too. His link-up with Son and the South Korean and Kulusevski’s trickery out wide and ability to cut in and shoot are other weapons they can use to hurt City.
Man City’s Versatility, and the Haaland Factor
In what is a surprise to nobody, City lead most key stats in the league, such as possession, touches, passes, and shots. These stats highlight how dominant a team they are in general play, even if they have had less control of the game this season by their standards. Haaland has scored 25 league goals, but there have been grumbles that his all-round play is not good enough at this point, and he is generally playing as more of a poacher. Indeed, Haaland is in the 99th percentile for goals scored, but he lags way down the list in passing and dribbling in general. He is in the bottom three per cent for passes and 46th percentile for dribbles. Hence, this seems to measure up with the eye test – the idea that Haaland is scoring goals but not contributing heavily to all-round play. As stated, City still do dominate most stats in most games – it’s just that they don’t have the same unerring control they did when they played Gabriel Jesus up front. They have looked more vulnerable defensively as a result. Thus, Haaland must adjust to the team and they to him.
City loaned Joao Cancelo to Bayern Munich in this window. This loan might have surprised many, as Cancelo has been excellent in the last couple of years. However, he has underperformed this season, and there are rumours of a rift with Guardiola. Lewis and Ake will mostly fill the full-back positions for the rest of the season. Lewis is good at coming to the inside of the pitch and playmaking, giving City an extra man in midfield. Against Spurs, this will be useful given the previously mentioned threat Son and Kulusevski pose on the counter-attack. City are a versatile team. While they will generally look to play their way through Spurs using the driving ability and crossing of De Bruyne and dribbling and trickery of Grealish and Mahrez, they are also deadly on the counter-attack with Haaland’s pace. Therefore, we expect City to dominate the ball in this game but also be a threat in counter-pressing Spurs. Spurs must be careful when they attack as they risk exposing themselves to City’s other string to their bow – their ability to transition.
This game is challenging to predict. On the face of it, Spurs have been in poor form for a while now, and they have not played good football. While Kane has been scoring goals, Son’s form has dropped off a cliff. Indeed, Kane has scored 16 goals in the league, and Son only four. In addition, Son’s performances outside of goalscoring could be more impressive. City have also been less relentless than usual and are still learning to integrate Haaland into their system. There will be teething problems, as stated earlier. However, the Norweigan does have an eye-watering 25 goals already in the Premier League this season. Therefore, he remains a massive threat if given adequate service. With Conte unlikely to be pitchside, Guardiola will likely lead his team to a hard-fought away win here. We can’t trust Spurs to find consistency, and their recent home record is terrible.
Spurs 1-2 Man City
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