Then and Now - Manchester City
Sat 21 November 2020, 10:30|Tottenham Hotspur
Following the conclusion of November’s international break, we return to action in the Premier League on Saturday evening as we welcome Manchester City to north London (5.30pm kick-off).
Ahead of the clash at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, we take a look back at our previous outings against the Citizens before analysing all the game’s key information and statistics, as well as the pre-match view from our opposition.
Spurs v Man City - Then
A riveting contest throughout history, this fixture is a match-up that seems to regularly produce games that live long in the memory. Ever since the first meeting of the teams in 1909, the game usually sees a competitive balance yet also seems to leave lasting memories - whether that be of late drama, quality or individual brilliance.
That first encounter between the sides over 111 years ago looks to have set the tone for future clashes. It was an exhilarating clash at Hyde Road, Manchester, as we overcame City in the FA Cup first round, but only just as we progressed to the next round with a 4-3 win. That scoreline has been seen in the fixture just twice more since - both of those games have been played out in the last 16 years.
The first of those came in 2004 and once again, it was in the FA Cup. However, we were on the wrong side of that 4-3 scoreline when we welcomed City to White Hart Lane for a fourth-round replay. We earned a 1-1 draw in the original tie in the north west and then went on to make the perfect start to the replay as we were 1-0 up within two minutes through Ledley King and 3-0 up before the break with goals from Robbie Keane and Christian Ziege. However, the visitors devastatingly fought back in the second period and got themselves back on terms with 10 minutes still to play. Jon Macken then scored a last-minute winner for City.
Fifteen years later, the Citizens would go on to repeat that scoreline in another knockout competition. However, on this occasion, we were celebrating at full time. Our 2018/19 Champions League campaign was an almost-indescribable journey that few will ever forget. Late drama is perhaps the simplest way to describe that year in Europe for us but, of course, that falls so far short of doing our dramatic continental exploits justice. Yet, the case study of that night at the Etihad Stadium in April, 2019, does go a fair way in explaining just how incredible our European adventure was that term.
For the full recap of that night in Manchester, we must begin by revisiting the first-leg of the quarter-final tie. Only the second game at the new stadium on 9 April, City arrived sitting top of the Premier League with just one defeat in 2019 to that point – they had won their other 21 outings. Meanwhile, we had not won in the league in our past five games so, when the visitors were awarded a penalty with just 12 minutes on the clock, the situation was already looking ominous. Yet, Hugo Lloris produced the heroics, diving to his left to prevent Sergio Aguero from giving the Citizens the lead from the spot – and that proved to be the catalyst for us as we went on to take a slender advantage into the return leg with a late Heung-Min Son winner.
A 'slender advantage' couldn’t have been a more apt description, as within just four minutes of the first whistle in Manchester, City were level through Raheem Sterling. However, just three minutes later, we had restored our lead through Son and then, incredibly, just another three minutes on, Son put us in dreamland as he curled home to put us 3-1 ahead on aggregate. Yet, our hosts quickly fought back and by the 20th minute, they were level on the night. Aguero then put the men in sky blue in front for the first time in the tie as we approached the hour mark.
One goal for us though would put us back in front in the tie on away goals and with just 18 minutes left, Fernando Llorente was on hand to do just that, converting from a corner. Yet, deep into injury time, there would be late, late drama as Sterling scored once more, and City thought they had won it. It was heartbreak for us. We were crestfallen to lose the game so late on, especially after such an enthralling and energy-sapping night at the Etihad. But then, the Video Assistant Referee spotted an offside in the build-up. The on-field referee duly disallowed Sterling’s effort and we held on to go through to progress in the competition in the most surreal of manners. Well, at least until a certain night in Amsterdam the following month...
Last season, we also enjoyed some memorable outings against the Citizens. We picked up a 2-2 draw at the Etihad in August, 2019, thanks to goals from Erik Lamela and Lucas Moura, we then earned a 2-0 win in our home meeting with the men in sky blue in February, earlier this year. Steven Bergwijn made the headlines that day with a stunning volley on his debut to give us the lead against City before Heung-Min Son continued his impressive run against Pep Guardiola’s side as he scored his fourth goal in his last five outings against them to seal all three points.
Last five meetings
2 February, 2020 – Spurs 2-0 Man City – Premier League
17 August, 2019 – Man City 2-2 Spurs – Premier League
20 April, 2019 – Man City 1-0 Spurs – Premier League
17 April, 2019 – Man City 4-3 Spurs – Champions League quarter-final second leg
9 April, 2019 – Spurs 1-0 Man City – Champions League quarter-final first leg
Spurs v Man City – Now
City have made their worst start to a Premier League season in 12 years. Pep Guardiola’s men have picked up just 12 points from their opening seven games, their lowest return at the start of a campaign since 2008/09 when they picked up nine points under Mark Hughes - that year City finished 10th and we completed the double over them, winning both games 2-1. The Citizens also have the fewest wins (3), scored the fewest (10), and conceded the most goals (9) for a Guardiola team at this stage of a season.
Yet, despite their unusually slow start to the campaign, they have only suffered one defeat - that coming in their second outing of their league season as they fell 5-2 to Leicester City. That is also their only loss across all competitions as they come into Saturday’s game on a nine-game unbeaten run.
Sergio Aguero is this fixture’s top goalscorer in the Premier League having found the target on 11 occasions in 16 games against us however, City boss Guardiola, who signed a new two-year contract extension at the Etihad earlier this week, has remained coy on whether the striker will play a part against us on Saturday. Argentina international Aguero hasn’t played since October having picked up a hamstring injury in his side’s 1-1 draw with West Ham. but has returned to training this week.
Raheem Sterling has also been in training with the Citizens this week so may also be in line to feature. Asked in his press conference on Friday whether he believed we were title contenders following our start to the season, Guardiola responded, “The numbers speak for themselves.
“(Spurs) dropped points against West Ham and Newcastle in the last minute. Imagine the points if they hadn't. The quality was always there. They qualified for the Champions League for four or five years and reached the final. It is a fantastic squad.”
Harry Kane will be looking for another landmark goal this weekend as, having recently scored his 200th Spurs for us as well as his 150th in Premier League, he can make it 100 goals at home for us by finding the target against City. He has six goals in his last three home appearances.
Alongside Harry’s strong showings, we are also been on a healthy run of form, the longest unbeaten run in the Premier League having gone seven games without defeat (W5 D2) while we have won each of our last three games.
Yesterday (Friday 20 November) marked a year to the day since Jose Mourinho took charge as Head Coach of our first team. On 20 November, 2019, we sat 14th in the Premier League; 365 days later, we sit second and if we avoid defeat against Manchester City, we will go to the top of the table - for a day at least, with Leicester City taking on Liverpool on Sunday night. However, Jose isn’t looking too much at the table at this stage of the season as he pointed out, one result can change the picture dramatically.
“Results, performances (are good) but, the table doesn’t mean much (at the moment), because three points more or three points less makes a huge difference in the table,” Jose explained. “But we are getting positive results, we are getting good performances and, as I was saying at the beginning of the season, our objective, the impossible objective, but our objective theoretically is to win every match. That is the spirit.”