Manchester City hosts Tottenham Hotspur in round 2 of English Premier League. The match will be played on Saturday, August 17th at Etihad Stadium (Manchester)
Manchester City ran in the season very well: Josep Guardiola's team managed to win the English Super Cup in the game against Liverpool. If we consider the match as a whole, Liverpool looked better, but there are two “buts”. 1) It does not mean that Liverpool will beat City at a distance. 2) In some moments, it seemed that Guardiola found an antidote to Liverpool's pressure. Let's start with the new build-up of Manchester City: Christian Titz used it in Hamburg - the goalkeeper stands in line with the central defenders and the team has an advantage in the ball control; there is no need to pull together a huge number of midfielders, and the team gets more options with the further development of attacks. It does not solve all the problems so far, but Josep is on the right track. Manchester City has strengthened very well. The main transfer was the arrival of the “new Busquets” or just Rodrigo from Atlético Madrid. Guardiola needed this step because Fernandinho is not getting younger. Manchester City is the most obvious favorite of the championship race because the Citizens became much stronger than last season (in the last season, they had to outrank Liverpool more - just look at the expected xPTS points). Positional amplifications made Manchester City a monster of distance. But it does not mean that Manchester City is also waiting for success in the Champions League. I will write about it later.
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The behavior of Tottenham in the offseason somehow reminded me of Manchester City: point enforcements have been made that can make this team much stronger. I am talking about N'Dombele’s transfer. In the last season, despite Tottenham reached the Champions League final, it turned out to be one of the worst under Pochettino in terms of the game quality; the reason for this was the departure of Moussa Dembele from the club - he played a major role in Pochettino’s system, and the club didn’t manage to find a direct replacement quickly. The transfer of N'Dombele will solve Tottenham’s problems at a distance (in terms of game qualities, he is very similar to Moussa Dembele), but he will not help much in matches against City.
In the last season, these teams held four matches: City won three times, Tottenham - once. It is a natural result: City beat Tottenham three times, the victories should have been bigger, and once Guardiola just did some kind of madness (inverted wingers with false fullbacks - and that’s not all). The reason for those events was "Guardiola's syndrome" - some very strange decisions in important matches of the Champions League. The Citizens will field the most optimal squad and beat Tottenham confidently (as it happened in both games of the last season in the Premier League - the score should have been larger). It is convenient for Guardiola to play against Pochettino, as for Klopp to play against Pep himself.
Prediction for the match: Manchester City to win with -1.5 handicap