Manchester City find themselves with an unexpected opportunity as they travel to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday, the day after Arsenal's surprising loss to Everton at Goodison Park, and there are few trips where Pep Guardiola has had quite as many difficulties as this one. City's last three league visits to Tottenham have seen them defeated by an aggregate margin of 5-0 while the head coach has lost on all four visits to Spurs' relatively new stadium, the ground he has managed the most games at without winning.
Home and away, Spurs looked to have something of a hoodoo over City until last month, where the reigning champions overturned a two goal half time deficit to win 4-2. After that game Guardiola bemoaned his "happy flowers" team, he will be expecting to see more immediate fight when his team take the pitch in London on Sunday. Here is how you can watch the match and what you need to know:
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- Date: Sunday, Feb. 5 | Time: 11:30 a.m. ET
- Location: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium -- London
- TV: NBC | Live stream: fuboTV (free trial)
- Odds: Tottenham +340; Draw +300; Manchester City -138 (via Caesars Sportsbook)
Tottenham: Spurs were rocked on Wednesday morning by the news that head coach Antonio Conte had undergone successful surgery to remove his gallblader. In practical terms for this match, his assistant Cristian Stellini is expected to take charge and it remains to be seen whether the manager will be able to travel back to London from his native Italy and potentially be in the stadium. "Thank you for your lovely messages," he wrote on social media. "My surgery has gone well and I'm already feeling better. Now it's time to recover, I can't wait to get back on the field with the team."
Conte will doubtless have a direct line to his staff when it comes to selection decisions, one of which will be whether to hand Pedro Porro a full debut after his deadline day move from Sporting Lisbon. Playing the Spaniard at right wing back with Dejan Kulusevski ahead would certainly make for quite the test on an area of the City side that will come under the spotlight.
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Manchester City: After letting Joao Cancelo walk out of the club on loan, do City now have the depth at full back to compete on multiple fronts? We are about to find out and to get a sense over whether Nathan Ake is a lasting solution at left back as well as whether Rico Lewis, 18, can display remarkable consistency for a youngster.
To his credit, Ake excelled in one of the toughest tests he could have faced, quelling the threat of Bukayo Saka two Fridays ago in the FA Cup, and Guardiola's system allows him to effectively play on the left of a back three in possession. But will Ake and Lewis between them be able to offer an approximation of the offensive output of Cancelo, who was one of the league's most dangerous attacking full backs in recent years?
Spurs gave City plenty of difficulties last time out and in front of their home crowd they may challenge them further... but any side with Erling Haaland is the one you would back to win. PICK: Tottenham 1, Manchester City 2