Manchester duo City and United have set the pace in the English Premier League but both teams are coming off contrasting fortunes in the league.
The Citizens were rocked last week when West Ham went to the Etihad and decided to “park the bus” on the way to a shocking 2-1 win. It ended the leader’s perfect start to the league, making Thai-owned Leicester City (yes, blink again) the only unbeaten club in the EPL.
City had a morale-boosting win in midweek against Sunderland in the Carling Cup. The four goals scored should put them in good stead against Spurs.
Son Heung-min is the name that every Spurs fan is talking about these days. The South Korean scored his third goal in two games to give his team their first home Premier League win of the season against Crystal Palace last week. He will surely be the player to watch today. Signed this summer from Bayer Leverkusen, he could not help Spurs from being knocked out of the Carling Cup against neighbours Arsenal on Wednesday after coming on as a substitute in the second-half but he will certainly be the home side’s hope for today’s early kick-off, especially with teammate Harry Kane’s barren run in front of the goal.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side starting line-up in the win against Palace last week had an average age of 24 years, making it the youngest starting 11 of any English Premier League side this season. However, they will find Man City a different ball game altogether, especially if Vincent Kompany and David Silva come back from their respective injuries. Raheem Sterling and Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne will look to terrorise the Spurs defence and I see both players having a huge influence in this game.
I see the Citizens winning this game comfortably and maintaining their three-point lead at the top of the table.
City’s neighbours Man Utd face a relatively straightforward fixture at home against basement side Sunderland and anything less than three points today will be a major shock.
In Anthony Martial, the Red Devils have a striker who is on a hot streak.
He scored his fourth goal in four games in a routine Carling Cup win against Ipswich Town on Wednesday and at only 19 years old, he is poised to become a star at Old Trafford.
Wayne Rooney broke his domestic duck in midweek and both he and Martial will be looking to add to their goal talley against a struggling Sunderland side who have only two points to show in their opening six games.
Expect Man Utd to warm up for their Champions League clash against Wolsburg next week with a thumping win over Dick Advocaat’s side.
In-form Leicester welcome Arsenal to the King Power Stadium in a match where I forsee a lot of goals. The unbeaten Foxes have been a joy to watch under much-travelled manager Claudio Ranieri and in James Vardy and Algerian Riyad Mahrez, they have the two most in-form players in the league.
Ranieri’s team have proven to be a resiliant lot after twice coming back from two goals down on the way to a 3-2 win against Aston Villa and last week’s away draw against Stoke City.
Arsenal meanwhile will be buoyed by their 2-1 win against Spurs in the Carling Cup and also the Football Association’s decision in rescinding the red card given to Gabriel in last week’s controversial loss to London rivals Chelsea.
This game has the potential to be a goal-fest and I see Arsene Wenger’s men being held to a score draw, which will maintain Leicester’s unbeaten run in the league.
Diego Costaless Chelsea visit crisis club Newcastle rocked by the FA’s decision to ban the striker for violent conduct for the incident with Arsenal’s Laurent Koscielny, which led to Gabriel’s sending-off. The three match ban given to the Brazilian born Spanish international will be a big blow to Jose Mourinho’s side, who are playing catch-up with the Manchester clubs. Loic Remy, Radamel Falcao and promising 19-year-old Brazilian forward Kenedy, who impressed in the Blues Carling Cup win during the week, are capable replacements for Costa. Newcastle manager Steve McClaren will be under immense pressure to get results at St James’ Park after getting knocked out in the Carling Cup to Championship side Sheffield Wednesday to add to their dismal form so far this season.
I see nothing but an easy Chelsea win today and will not be surprised if McClaren is sacked before their next encounter against Man City next week.
Brendan Rodgers is another manager under pressure as his Liverpool side welcome Aston Villa. Christian Benteke is highly unlikely to play against his former club after injuring himself last week so the likes of Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana will have to step up their game.
The knives will be out for the manager if the Reds stumble again after last week’s dissapointing draw against newly promoted Norwich but my gut feeling tells me Liverpool will do just enough to nick all three points.