Spurs away form adds to task at Man City
LONDON (Reuters) – Manchester City host Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday on the back of a record 15 successive Premier League wins, and on the basis of their visitors’ recent away form, a 16th victory appears to be the likely outcome.
Tottenham will travel to the Etihad Stadium fourth in the standings following consecutive home wins over Stoke City and Brighton and Hove Albion in the past week, but their position masks troubles on the road.
Having won their first four away league games this season, Mauricio Pochettino’s side have earned just one point and scored only twice in their past four away league matches, losing 1-0 to Manchester United, 2-0 to Arsenal and 2-1 to Leicester City before being held to a 1-1 draw by Watford.
And their prospects against City, who lead the league by 11 points, are dampened further by Tottenham’s tendency under Pochettino to struggle away from home against the best teams in the country. Since he took over as manager in 2014, they have won only one of 17 away matches against Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool.
Some comfort can be taken from the fact that the one exception was a 2-1 success at the Etihad Stadium in February 2016, but the two teams were in different situations back then, with Tottenham battling with Leicester City for the Premier League title and Manchester City stumbling towards a fourth-place finish under Manuel Pellegrini.
In the 22 months since, City have evolved from also-rans into one of the most prolific, entertaining and consistent sides in the world, as potent away as they are at home.
Pep Guardiola’s team have won seven home league matches in succession and haven’t been beaten at the Etihad Stadium in the league since Chelsea claimed a 3-1 league win on Dec. 3, 2016.
In eight home games in the league this season, they have scored 28 goals at a rate of 3.5 per game, which suggests Tottenham might struggle to keep a clean sheet and that they will need to score, potentially more than once, to get a result.
They can, however, take hope from the recent performances at the Etihad Stadium of Southampton and West Ham United, who defended deep in numbers and looked to be on course for 1-1 draws until City conjured winners in the 96th and 83rd minutes respectively.
Should Tottenham get a positive result on Saturday, second-placed Manchester United will have the chance to cut the gap at the top when they visit West Bromwich Albion on Sunday.
United bounced back from losing 2-1 to City last Sunday by beating Bournemouth 1-0 on Wednesday and should fancy their chances against a West Brom side who haven’t won in the league since Aug. 19 and who failed to score in each of the three matches new manager Alan Pardew has been in charge.
Third-place Chelsea sit 14 points adrift of City and host Southampton on Saturday, while fifth-placed Liverpool travel to Bournemouth on Sunday.