Reigning champions Manchester City’s Premier League title quest appears to be in peril and they can ill-afford another slip-up when they travel to Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.
Arsenal have a five-point lead at the top of the table and have a game in hand on the Citizens, who have lost and failed to score on their last four visits to Spurs.
Meanwhile, their hosts need to get their own house in order, having lost four of their last five home matches and conceded at least two goals in six of their last seven on their own patch.
|What||Tottenham v Manchester City|
|Where||Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London|
|When||16:30 Sunday 5th February|
|How to watch||Sky Sports Premier League & Main Event|
|Odds||Tottenham 7/2, Draw 16/5, Man City 8/11|
Tottenham have given City plenty of problems over the last few years, but the difficulty Antonio Conte’s side face is that they are not pulling up any trees themselves this term.
If anything, they have been a soft touch this season and although they took a two-goal lead when they played at the Etihad on 19th January, it was never a lead they looked like holding on to.
They have just two clean sheets on their own patch in the league, and City should be confident of getting past a shaky defence, even if star striker Erling Haaland - a hat-trick hero in the recent 3-0 home win over Wolves - has scored in just one of his last six away games.
But it is worth considering that Pep Guardiola’s team have not been the fastest of starters, so it could take them time to get into their stride.
They have been winning at half-time in just four of their last 11 Premier League games, so that statistic provokes interest in the Draw-City Half-Time-Full-Time price of 4/1, because Spurs' recent home performances suggest the visitors should prevail eventually.
Conte is unlikely to be on the Spurs bench after having his gallbladder removed this week, but there will be demands from the crowd that the team are positive after the disappointment of their limp showing in a 2-0 defeat to Arsenal in their last home game.
City should be able to keep them in check, but this will be a big game for City’s Spanish midfielder Rodri, who will be the final barrier separating a sprightly Spurs attack from the Citizens’ back four.
With players such as Dejan Kulusevski and Heung-Min Son looking to utilise their pace, there is a chance Rodri could be exposed and it is notable that his tally of 30 fouls this season is nearly double the number of any of his City team-mates.
None of Guardiola’s players have been booked on more occasions than his three yellow cards in the Premier League and he has received a similar number of cautions when playing in cup competitions.
So, with a generous 9/2 on offer about him going into the notebook on Sunday, the temptation is there to back him to add to his cards tally.
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It has been a disappointing season for Son as last year’s joint Golden Boot winner has netted just four Premier League goals and three of those came in the same game against Leicester City.
He scored the winner when these teams met on the opening weekend of last season and he was also on target in both legs of their epic Champions League quarter-final in 2019.
While the South Korean has not enjoyed much good fortune in the final third so far this season, that has not provoked a reluctance for him to try his luck .
His tally of 24 shots on target is nine behind Harry Kane, but 17 ahead of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Rodrigo Bentancur, the next two players on the list.
Son also received a confidence boost of scoring twice against Championship Preston North End in the FA Cup last Saturday, so while he is obviously facing a stronger defence this week, he makes some appeal at 3/1 to find the net at any time.