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Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur will both be striving to win this match, which should result in a goal-laden affair.
Back both teams to score in the second half (+205) of Saturday’s clash at the Etihad Stadium.
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Manchester City won the Premier League title for a fourth time in five seasons in 2021/22. They amassed 93 points and scored 99 goals, while conceding only 26. No team outperformed them in either attack or defense. City did not triumph in either the FA Cup or the EFL Cup, and their Champions League drought continued with a heartbreaking defeat by Real Madrid in the semi-finals. However, they were – without question – the best team in England once again.
If anything, City have only got stronger since the end of last term. Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko all departed over the summer, with each player joining a Premier League rival. But City did some business of their own, adding Kalvin Phillips, Julian Alvarez and Manuel Akanji to the ranks. Most significantly, they won the race to sign Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund.
The Norway international has been a sensation so far. His tremendous record with BVB meant it was almost inevitable that he would succeed in the Premier League, but many felt it would take him a while to adjust to a different style of play as the center-forward for a Pep Guardiola team. Not quite. Haaland is already the Premier League top scorer with 10 goals in his first six appearances. Only one player, Aleksandar Mitrovic, has more than half of Haaland’s tally so far.
With an average of 2.6 per game, City did not exactly struggle for goals last season. But Haaland has added another dimension to their attack: a poacher’s instinct combined with that ability to run in behind. Haaland can bully opposition center-backs, making space for himself and his team-mates. It has been quite the start for the son of a former City midfielder, Alf-Inge Haaland.
A late rally last season secured a top-four finish for Tottenham, who made huge strides under Antonio Conte once the Italian had settled in. Conte is a serial winner, a manager who has won four Serie A titles and a Premier League crown during his career so far. Spurs, a team who were not even in the Champions League last term, pulled off a coup in convincing him to replace Nuno Espirito Santo towards the end of 2021.
Tottenham have made a solid, if unspectacular, start to the new campaign. It is true that they are yet to produce a truly convincing performance over the course of 90 minutes, but the fact that Spurs have 14 points to their name despite not yet hitting the heights they are capable of reaching is a positive sign rather than a negative one. The players are now familiar with Conte’s system and demands, and Tottenham should only improve from here.
The big question is whether they will be able to improve sufficiently to challenge for the Premier League title. It is a big ask. Spurs finished 22 points off the pace last season. Even if the campaign had begun when Conte took charge in north London, they would still have amassed 17 fewer points than City and 14 fewer than Liverpool.
But the Reds are yet to get going in 2022/23, and Tottenham now look like a professional, serious outfit. If anyone can elevate Spurs into title challenges, it is Conte.
This fixture in 2021/22 was one of the most entertaining of the season. Tottenham put in a stunning display to beat City 3-2 at the Eithad Stadium, completing the double over the champions having also got the better of them under Nuno on the opening weekend. Harry Kane was superb in the victory in Manchester and Conte will be looking for a repeat performance here.
Spurs caused City problems with their speed in transition. Their approach was reactive but not defensive. Tottenham showed plenty of attacking ambition and will do so again on Saturday, with Son Heung-min and Dejan Kulusevski likely to be tasked with carrying the ball upfield at speed. Those two players will also look to make runs in behind City’s high defensive line while Kane looks to find them with his long passes.
City, needless to say, will create plenty of chances of their own, particularly as Haaland is full of confidence right now. It is hard to envisage anything other than a high-scoring encounter, but rather than looking at the total goals market, consider backing both teams to find the net in the second half, when the match should really open up.
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|Teams||Manchester City vs Tottenham Hotspur|
|Location||Etihad Stadium, Manchester, England|
|Time||Saturday, 10 September 2022, 12.30 PM EST|
|How to watch||USA Network, fuboTV|
Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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