Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur: Premier League – live! | Football
5 min: Sterling nearly gets past Walker-Peters, as he twinkles down the left. Not quite. But City are coming at Spurs from all angles. The visitors have barely had a touch in these early exchanges.
4 min: City continue to pass it around relentlessly. Zinchenko nearly releases Sterling down the left, but the City winger mistimes his run and the flag goes up.
2 min: Rose takes a while over a throw, deep in Spurs territory. Clever move. Spurs started in a shaky fashion, they could do with finding their feet. And breathe.
City get the big match underway! It’s not long before Bernardo Silva and De Bruyne are working their way down the right, forcing Alderweireld to hack clear. Then Sterling nearly gets onto a long pass down the left, but he’s ushered away from danger just when it looks as though he’ll latch onto the ball. A couple of statements of intent within the first 55 seconds or so.
The teams are out! A cracking atmosphere for the first game of the new season at the home of the treble-winning champions. They wear their famous sky-blue shirts, while Spurs
are in second-choice dark blue. Or is that purple? You get the gist. We’ll be off before you know it!
sport their trademark lilywhite
Sky Sports have had a chat with both managers. The main takeaway: Pep Guardiola has changed his line-up because he wants to give all his squad a run-out. “I want everyone involved. I want to see the players. We need everybody. If the players don’t play every game it could be two or three weeks without a game. I need to see them.” By contrast, Mauricio Pochettino has opted for his strongest side without any considerations regarding rotation. “It is so important that we pick the best starting XI. City love to dominate the midfield but we are strong there.”
This is the second Saturday night match on Sky Sports under the new TV contract. And for some reason they’ve decided to stick with the wholly unnecessary innovation of sending pundit Jamie Redknapp out onto the pitch during the warm-up to take “a closer look” at a couple of the players. Last week it was Tanguy Ndombele, with reference to footage he’d already seen in the studio; this week it’s Rodri, who was busy doing stretches 60 yards away. The long and the short of it, pretty much, is that the speck he sees in the distance is a “big unit”. Yes, well, this segment doesn’t work, does it. Having said that, it’s only a matter of time before poor old Jamie takes a loose one right in the clock, just like his old dad before him. It’s inevitable, and a possible reason why the producers are happy to keep this one going.
The champions make four changes to the team named for the 5-0 win at West Ham last Saturday. Sergio Aguero, Bernardo Silva, Ilkay Gundogan and Nicolas Otamendi come in for John Stones, David Silva, Riyad Mahrez and Gabriel Jesus.
Christian Eriksen returns to the Spurs starting line-up after coming on as substitute to turn around the opening-day fixture against Aston Villa. Lucas Moura makes way, the only change to Mauricio Pochettino’s side.
Manchester City: Ederson, Walker, Otamendi, Laporte, Zinchenko, Gundogan, Rodri, De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, Aguero, Sterling.
Subs: Bravo, Gabriel Jesus, Silva, Fernandinho, Mahrez, Joao Cancelo, Foden.
Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris, Walker-Peters, Sanchez, Alderweireld, Rose, Sissoko, Winks, Ndombele, Lamela, Eriksen, Kane.
Subs: Vertonghen, Dier, Lo Celso, Gazzaniga, Lucas Moura, Skipp, Davies.
Referee: Michael Oliver (Northumberland).
Domestic treble-winners Manchester City versus Champions League runners-up Tottenham Hotspur. It’s fair to say this is a big one. We might only be nine days into the new season, but as both teams have designs on the Premier League title, this qualifies as a proper six-pointer. Sniff if you like, but there it is.
City will be confident of making an early statement in their quest to join Huddersfield Town, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United as three-peat winners of the English top division. As if sticking five past West Ham at their own gaff wasn’t enough. They’re currently on a 15-game winning streak in the league, and are on a four-match winning run against this evening’s opponents. They’ve beaten Tottenham seven times in their last nine visits. And Spurs have a dismal record against the top clubs of late: just seven points against the other members of the self-styled Big Six last year.
On the flip side, that four-game winning streak of City’s is a league-only affair. It doesn’t include the Champions League quarter-final bedlam between the two sides last April, two matches that fair took the wind out of City’s continental sail, and briefly threatened to derail their Premier League campaign, as Pep’s men huffed and puffed to a one-goal win over the same opponents three days later. So Spurs are unlikely to feel too overawed, despite the overall picture.
But they’ll need to perform a lot better than they did during those Christian-Eriksen-free minutes against Aston Villa last weekend. Can they raise their game and give the champions a fright? Or will City keep on keepin’ on? We’ll find out soon enough. It’s on!
Kick off: 5.30pm BST.
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