15 Dec, 15:00
League leaders Manchester City host Tottenham Hotspur at Etihad Stadium on Saturday with Guardiola’s men keen to extend their unbeaten run to 16 matches.
The two sides face each other after registering wins in midweek. Spurs beat Brighton 2-0 to climb back to fourth while Manchester City demolished Swansea City 4-0 to maintain an 11-point lead. Saturday's encounter should be a classic, with the Lilywhites seemingly back to somewhere near their best, and City's continued brilliance.
Spurs are the latest side facing the unenviable task of attempting to inflict a first Premier League defeat of the season on high-flying Manchester City. However, it is not the first time the North London side is facing such. Last season they won 2-0 against Pep Guardiola’s side who, until then, had won all six of their opening league matches. It would also be Spurs who would end Chelsea’s 13-match winning streak by a victory of the same scoreline. Spurs are unbeaten in their last four matches with City, including the fightback from 2-0 down to draw at the Etihad last season.
Boost for the home side with Kyle Walker set to make his first competitive appearance against Spurs since his transfer last summer. The England international will play on the right-side of a back four that will once again be without captain Vincent Kompany and John Stones, as Eliaquim Mangala and Nicolas Otamendi form the central partnership, with Fabian Delph expected to keep his place at left-back.
Fernandinho, like Vertonghen, avoided a costly fifth booking in midweek, and will anchor the midfield three between Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva. Raheem Sterling, Sergio Aguero and Leroy Sane are expected to start up front, with Gabriel Jesus on the bench.
Spurs are buoyed by the fact that Jan Vertonghen avoided suspension by coming through the midweek match with Brighton without collecting what would have been a costly fifth booking of the season. Had he been cautioned, the Belgian would have added to Tottenham’s defensive woes with compatriot Toby Alderweireld injured and Davidson Sanchez serving the last of his three-match ban.
Head To Head
Man City have failed to win any of the last four meetings between the two sides, losing three and drawing one since their last victory in May 2015.
The most recent encounter finished 2-2 at the start of the year, with the Lilywhites recovering from a couple of goals down in the second half.
City has scored at least two goals in six of their last seven home matches against Tottenham in all competitions, meanwhile - the exception being a 2-1 win for the Londoners in the 2015-16 campaign.
Tottenham's title hopes are over and, whatever happens, when they play Manchester City on Saturday, they are just fighting to finish in the top four. The visitors will give the Citizens much trouble at the back but Guardiola’s men will snatch all the three points and make it 16 straight wins.
Prediction: Man City 3-2 Spurs