Premier League: City takes on Spurs again to keep domestic treble hopes alive

Just three days after their Champions League quarterfinal clash, Manchester City and Tottenham go head-to-head in the Premier League.

City v Spurs

Manchester City will look to strengthen its bid to claim the Premier League title this season with a win against Tottenham Hotspur as the two teams clash for the second time this week. The Spurs defeated City in the Champions League quarterfinal, thanks to an away advantage. City will want to put the loss behind them and prioritise the game on Saturday.   -  Getty Images

Pep Guardiola described Manchester City's back-to-back clashes with Tottenham Hotspur as "finals" in the build up to a week with a huge bearing on his side's quest to win the quadruple.

City already have the EFL Cup in its trophy cabinet and are looking forward to the FA Cup final against Watford on May 18, but the prospect of a double header against Tottenham and a trip to Old Trafford to face Manchester United left Guardiola under no illusions about the task ahead after Spurs dumped his men out of the Champions League with a dramatic away goals defeat on Wednesday.

Once United is out of the way, City's Premier League run-in features trips to Burnley and Brighton and Hove Albion either side of a home game against Leicester City, but by then its grip on the Premier League title race may have loosened.

Tottenham's hopes of challenging the top two were dashed in a dismal run of form between February and March, but it arrives at the Etihad having won its last two league games and with the incentive of having fourth-placed Arsenal hot on their tails, just a point behind.

READ | Champions League: Three things we learned from Manchester City vs Tottenham

POCHETTINO YET TO TAME GUARDIOLA'S CITY IN THE LEAGUE

Mauricio Pochettino celebrated ecstatically at the end of Wednesday's match, but his last Premier League victory over Manchester City came back in February 2016, when his Tottenham team beat Manuel Pellegrini's side 2-1.

Since then, the Argentine has taken just one point from four top flight visits to the Etihad and victory for City on Saturday would see Guardiola equal City's best run of four successive Premier League wins over Spurs.

Tottenham's last league visit to Manchester was a happy one for Pochettino, with Harry Kane and Lucas Moura scoring in a 3-0 victory at Old Trafford, but since then Spurs' away form has unravelled.

Defeats at Burnley, Chelsea, Southampton and Liverpool in Tottenham's last four league away games represent the clubs worst run on the road since David Pleat's Tottenham team lost six on the bounce away from home between March and May 2004.

HEAD TO HEAD: STERLING V SON

Both Raheem Sterling and Son Heung-Min scored first-half braces at the Etihad in midweek and the pair will be expected to deliver again on Saturday.

Sterling's recent form has been fundamental to City's title challenge, the England winger having scored 17 goals in 29 league games this season – one every 136.88 minutes of top-flight action.

READ | Man City 4-3 Tottenham: Spurs reach Champions League semifinal as VAR denies Sterling

Son has netted 12 times in 27 games but he is proving harder to stop with the ball at his feet, achieving a 53.95 per cent dribble success rate compared to Sterling's 50.72 per cent.

Sterling's stats are on the whole more impressive, with nine assists compared to Son's six and 257 touches in the opposition box against 110 from Son, but the South Korea international has proven he knows how to cause City problems and will go all out to do so again.

FORM GUIDE

City, who have lost only four Premier League games all season, are unbeaten since January 29 when they came unstuck at Newcastle United, and victory over Tottenham would be their 10th in a row.

Clashes with the 'big six' do not faze Guardiola's men, who have won more points against the division's heavyweights (19) than any of their five major rivals have, and only Manchester United (6) have won fewer points than Spurs (7).

Harry Kane's ankle injury, sustained in the first leg of Tottenham's Champions League quarter final against City, is a blow for Pochettino's men, but they have won all five of their Premier League games without the England target man this season and last lost a league game without him against Man Utd back in October 2017.

Sergio Aguero, who also netted on Wednesday, will hope to play a key role as he chases his 20th league goal of the season, which would see him become just the second player to score 20+ Premier League goals in five consecutive campaigns, after Thierry Henry (between 2001-02 and 2005-06).

READ | Manchester City's Champions League woes under Pep Guardiola

HISTORY SAYS...

A solitary Riyad Mahrez goal after six minutes settled the last league meeting between these two sides, at Wembley in October, with Spurs mustering just one shot on target to City's five.

Tottenham got nothing from their two league clashes with City last season, losing 4-1 at the Etihad and 3-1 at Wembley, and the north Londoners have only won one of their last eight league visits to the Etihad (W1 D1 L6), conceding 23 goals in this period (2.9 per game).

The omens do not look good for Pochettino but, having edged to victory in midweek, another win would all but bury the memory of his recent struggles against Guardiola's City and make Tottenham very popular on Merseyside.

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