The Premier League returns on Saturday and the weekend highlight sees Tottenham and Manchester City lock horns in the capital. Mark O'Haire picks out his favourite fancy...
"It’s difficult to ignore the recent revival at White Hart Lane, with Mourinho’s outfit also dominating the data"
Tottenham v Manchester City
Saturday November 21, 17:30
Tottenham within touching distance of the top
Tottenham sit just one point off the top of the Premier League table after an impressive opening stanza in 2020/21. Spurs' scrappy 1-0 success at West Brom before the international break - arriving via Harry Kane's strike two minutes from time - extended the side's unbeaten league streak to seven games (W5-D2-L0) since the opening weekend.
A game of few chances seemed destined to end goalless after Hugo Lloris had kept out Darnell Furlong's second-half header and a flurry of Tottenham chances had come and gone without reward. But, as has been the case so often in the past, Kane punished a minor lack of concentration to head home the winner, earning special praise from Jose Mourinho.
Spurs' summer signings have afforded the Portuguese coach a gluttony of options, so much so that there was no room in the squad at The Hawthorns for the likes of Harry Winks, Davinson Sanchez and Steven Bergwijn. With Tanguy Ndombele and Erik Lamela both fit to feature, Mourinho's only confirmed absentee on Saturday is Matt Doherty.
Manchester City made to rue missed penalty
Manchester City's frustrating first few months of 2020/21 were epitomised by the Citizens' high-quality 1-1 draw with defending champions Liverpool in their most recent outing. Pep Guardiola's group remain marooned in mid-table and paid a heavy price for Kevin de Bruyne's missed penalty that could have brought City to within touching distance of the top.
The Citizens fell behind in the 13th minute from the penalty spot after Kyle Walker's rash challenge but levelled just after the half-hour when Gabriel Jesus turned superbly before slotting home. The hosts then wasted a golden chance to go ahead before half-time when De Bruyne rolled his penalty wide after handball had been awarded following a VAR intervention.
Both sides pushed for the winner but it was City who grew stronger as the game went on, Jesus sending a glorious headed chance wide to leave both sides having to settle for a point. Post-match Guardiola rued the opportunity but his options should be bolstered by the possible returns of Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling, Benjamin Mendy and Fernandinho here.
Tottenham took four points off Manchester City last season under Jose Mourinho's watch but Spurs rode their luck along the way. Remarkably, Mourinho's men scored four goals from only five collective attempts that equated to just 0.41 Expected Goals (xG) whereas Man City managed only two goals despite generating an xG output of 6.47 in the meetings.
Tottenham 4.30100/30 have tabled only four Premier League triumphs in their last 14 matches when welcoming Manchester City or Liverpool with Spurs' closing prices only bigger than their current offering on three occasions.
Nevertheless, it's difficult to ignore the recent revival at White Hart Lane, with Mourinho's outfit also dominating the data.
Manchester City 1.865/6 have not been anywhere near their best thus far (W3-D3-L1) and last season the Citizens lost five of six trips to top-seven finishers, scoring just four goals in the process. Unlike previous campaigns, Pep Guardiola's troops are not leading the way in terms of underlying process as their chance creation has decreased. City look too short here.
Mourinho's men can frustrate Citizens
Tottenham and Manchester City have put on numerous watchable contests in recent seasons although it's surprising to learn that only two of the teams' past six meetings since 2018/19 have produced Over 2.5 Goals 1.695/7 profit. And the lack of cutting edge displayed by the visitors have led to a total of only eight goals in their most recent five league fixtures.
Spurs have showcased a range of approaches already this campaign but it would be a surprise to see the hosts move away from Jose Mourinho's preferred counter-attacking system against Man City. With that in mind, goalscoring opportunities might be a little more limited and I'd therefore be happy to keep the hosts onside whilst opposing a high goal line.
Taking Tottenham Double Chance and Under 4.5 Goals in the Same Game Multi market pays 2.22 and that's an appealing price, paying-out on the following correct scores: 0-0, 1-1, 2-2, 1-0, 2-0, 3-0, 4-0 and 2-1 and 3-1.
Mark's 2020/21 Profit/Loss
Staked: 35.00 pts
Returned: 42.28 pts
P/L: +7.28 pts