Fresh from derby defeats, Manchester City and Tottenham face off on Thursday night in a match that could have major ramifications in the title race and the battle for Champions League qualification. The former find themselves scrabbling to make up an eight point deficit to Arsenal, Spurs' conquerors on Sunday, after their loss to Manchester United.
Tottenham, meanwhile, are in danger of slipping out of the race for the top four. Following their loss at the weekend, they found themselves five points off a Manchester United side that have a game in hand and are picking up momentum just as Antonio Conte and company are scrabbling around for their own. Spurs have a remarkably impressive record against City of late, notably winning at the Etihad Stadium last season, but it seems unlikely in the extreme that they can keep it up. Here is how you can watch the match and what you need to know:
- Date: Thursday, Jan. 19 | Time: 3 p.m. ET
- Location: Etihad Stadium -- Manchester, England
- Live stream: Peacock Premium
- Odds: Manchester City -275; Draw +400; Tottenham +700 (via Caesars Sportsbook)
Manchester City: That a player with more goals to his name than seven Premier League teams is attracting headlines is no great surprise. What is is that there are suddenly questions as to whether Erling Haaland's goals alone are worth the changes that Pep Guardiola has made to incorporate him into the team. Certainly the spotlight was placed firmly on him after what was an indifferent performance in defeat to United, one where the Norwegian managed just 19 touches.
In previous seasons Guardiola's center forward, who usually functioned as something of a false nine, would be expected to play as active a role in build up as anyone else. Now the City boss wants his other 10 players to service Haaland.
"We have played really good with him so it is not about that," he said. "To play better, to create more chances is to provide more balls for him or the other strikers. This is what we have to work with."
Tottenham: In their current rut every Tottenham press conference can feel like it provides the drama, intrigue and firepower that their on field performances lack. Conte delivered once more in his pre-match briefing this week, where he effectively called on others to come and take some of the flack that has been aimed at him for a run of 16 points from 12 games bookended by north London derbies.
"In England I think there's a bad habit that it's only the coach [who] talks and explains," said Conte. "I've never seen the medical department coming here to explain. I've never seen the club or the sporting director coming here to explain the strategy or vision of the club.
"In Italy, before every game there's a person from the club that goes to speak to the media. I think for us it could be really better, otherwise there is only one face to explain the situation that I think is better for the club to explain.
"I think it could be good for the club to be present in the media. Not every week, but at least every 15 days or once a month. I think it could be more simple for you to understand, otherwise it can seem [as] if something is a criticism or negative and it's not the case."
They, presumably, would find themselves answering the same questions that Conte is understandably peppered with anyway. When is the manager -- out of contract at the end of the season and all too often suggesting he is doing Spurs a favor by being there -- going to decide whether he is in for the long haul?
Both these clubs are in something of a funk but Spurs' good results against City can't last forever. The holders might just revive their title bid on Thursday night. Pick: Manchester City 2, Tottenham 0