We’re in October and Manchester City have already firmly established themselves as the lead contenders for the title. Having accumulated 23 points out of a possible 27 so far, City is looking strong and ready to top up on last year’s accomplishments. Despite not being praised that much, Spurs are only two points behind their opponents in the table.
However, having lost two games already this season in comparison to City’s zero, the two teams title prospects couldn’t be more different. Add to that the fact Spurs have lost 10 of their last 15 Premier League games against the Champions and it doesn’t paint a pretty picture.
Here are four key players in the Tottenham vs. Manchester City showdown.
#4 Dele Alli
Often referred to as the next Frank Lampard, Dele Alli has established himself as one of Pochettino’s most valuable players. His third man runs into the box have often left opposition defences bamboozled and unable to cope. Often his movement has allowed Tottenham’s attack to be free-flowing and fluid.
After missing four league games, his return from injury will be a massive boost for the North London team. The only way to defeat Manchester City is to fight fire with fire, so having another player making runs into the box can only aid Tottenham’s chances on the night.
#3 Kyle Walker
In addition to Manchester City’s five-star attack, they also have wing-backs that help to sustain that pressure. Kyle Walker is the perfect embodiment of Pep Guardiola’s philosophy, in which he expects each player to be comfortable with the ball and contribute to every attacking phase of the game. Walker’s relentless running up and down the right flank helps City sustain width and keep teams penned in. His return from injury will add another dimension to the Sky Blues in a must-win game.
#2 Harry Kane
It’s hard to believe but there are still fans out there who doubt the quality of Harry Kane. Some label him ‘lucky’ & ‘fluky’ basically rendering all he’s done as down to chance. But in my opinion, the stats don’t lie. In 162 Premier League appearances, the Englishman has scored an astounding 113 goals, how can that be down to luck? Kane has scored 21+ goals in the past four consecutive league campaigns.
Like come on, the striker finished top scorer in the 2018 World Cup, not because of luck, but because he’s one of the best forwards on the planet. Against Manchester City, Mauricio Pochettino is going to need his talisman to continue his recent rich vein of form. In nine league games this season, he’s scored five goals already. If the Sky Blues are able to keep him quiet, they would have nullified 70% of Spurs’ attacking threat.
#1 Kevin De Bruyne
It’s official, Kevin De Bruyne is back. Despite being Manchester City’s most influential player, you would have hardly noticed his absence over the past two months. In the nine league games, the Belgian hasn’t started, City have won seven of them and drawn the other two. In other words, they have so many options in midfield that they can almost do without him.
Regardless, his return to full fitness is perfect timing as we draw nearer to the hectic Christmas period, a period that has often moulded the Premier League Champions elect. Tottenham away at Wembley is the perfect stage for the 27-year-old to remind everyone why he’s one of the best in the world at what he does. In this fixture last season, De Bruyne ran the show and steered his team to a commanding 3-1 win, can he do the same on Monday night?