Tottenham Hotspur entertain Manchester City in the Premier League on Saturday in a 5:30pm kick-off at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
The hosts would move top with a win after gaining three consecutive victories prior to the international break, with Harry Kane’s late header against West Bromwich Albion earning a crucial three points in a narrow 1-0 win.
City, meanwhile, drew 1-1 with title rivals Liverpool after a pulsating first half fizzled out after the break. Pep Guardiola’s side can move up to sixth while retaining a game in hand should they get back to winning ways.
The bookmakers expect them to do so, pricing them as 4/5 favourites to beat Spurs. The draw is 31/10, with a home win 29/10.
Personally, while City look much improved defensively this season, I wouldn’t be touching them at odds on in this match. The bookmakers seem to have been slow to react to their lack of offensive threat this season, with the Citizens only scoring ten goals in seven league games. Interestingly, they are averaging their lowest expected goals per game figure since the stat began being recorded by Opta in 2009.
Spurs have won four of their last six home matches against City, too, deservedly winning 2-0 in their most recent encounter in February. Mike Dean officiated that fixture and he’s got the nod for this one, too, which usually means cards in big games.
Admittedly, Dean has noticeably shown fewer cards per game since Project Restart, but he did show three each to Manchester United and Arsenal prior to the international break. He showed two to Tottenham and four (including a red) to City in this fixture last season and I can definitely see a few here again.
I will add Over 0 Cards for each team and Over 3 Cards for both teams combined to a Bet Builder as a starting point, then. I’m not sure this game will see as many goals as people think, with City’s last five league games all seeing under three goals scored at either end, but I do expect a couple (both teams scoring would be no surprise). Adding Over 1 Goal for both teams combined alongside Under 6 Goals for both teams combined brings our Bet Builder above evens:
A penalty is always a possibility these days, too, but it’s even more likely with Dean, who has shown seven in his last nine games, with him awarding another in this match 7/4 (bet365).
On the player cards front, we had success with backing Allan and Fred prior to the international break and I’m following similar logic by selecting Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Rodri as a double at 14/1 (Betfair). The two holding midfielders will be tasked with vigilantly providing a shield for their respective back fours, with Hojbjerg busier than ever in Jose Mourinho’s midfield (averaging three tackles and almost two fouls per game so far this season).
Three players catch my eye at big prices with bet365, too, in the shape of Kyle Walker 4/1, Serge Aurier 5/1 and Raheem Sterling 6/1. Sterling withdrew from England international duty due to a minor injury so may not start, but we successfully backed him to be carded against Liverpool prior to the break, and he was booked in both league meetings with Spurs last season.
Walker and Aurier, meanwhile, are likely to be even more pumped than usual, with Walker playing his former club (coming up against the lively Son Heung-Min) and Aurier looking to stake a claim in light of Matt Doherty’s positive coronavirus test.
The Ivory Coast full-back has made four tackles in both of his league starts this season, with Joao Cancelo doing the same in three of his four league starts for City. The duo both like to drive forward and get stuck in and could be involved in several duels on that side of the pitch, with Aurier 2/1 and Cancelo 13/8 to land four or more tackles again (Sky Bet).
Hojbjerg has made three or more tackles in five of his eight matches, with Walker making two or more in three of his seven, and both are odds-against at 11/10 (Sky Bet) to do so again.