Football Features

Can Pep Guardiola’s Tottenham curse cause a slip-up for Man City’s title charge?

By Squawka News

Published: 18:58, 13 May 2024

Manchester City have bad memories of the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

The Citizens have failed to score a single goal in their previous four visits despite accumulating an xG of 7.43.

Arsenal fans will be putting rivalry aside and hoping Tottenham can do them a favour in the title race.

But are Man City’s North London woes likely to continue?

Form table

The numbers don’t make for encouraging reading for Arsenal or Tottenham fans.

Since the start of April, Man City have scored 28 goals in seven games and conceded just five.

Tottenham, by comparison, have netted just 10 times and conceded an alarming 16 goals.

Ange Postecoglou’s side have also struggled against top opposition, losing in recent weeks to Newcastle, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool.

All the signs suggest this should be a routine win for a Man City side unbeaten in 21 league games and eyeing a fourth successive title.

Cup clash

After Man City’s treble-winning 2022/23 season, Pep Guardiola joked that the next challenge would be to “score a goal against Spurs away”.

They managed that in the FA Cup back in January, winning 1-0 thanks to Nathan Ake’s late strike.

While Tottenham looked more resilient defensively at that point of the season, Postecoglou will be reminding his side that they are still capable of frustrating Man City.

But the visitors racked up an xG of 2.23 and Tottenham were fortunate not to concede before the 88th minute.

In short, some profligacy from the away team and good fortune for the hosts is likely to be necessary to produce any outcome other than a City win.

Game changers

If Tottenham are to pull off an upset, they will need big performances from their key players.

Son Heung-min has been integral this season, netting 17 goals from an xG of just 12.02.

The South Korean also ranks fourth in the Premier League for big chances created (18) and his ability to produce moments of brilliance makes him an indispensable figure for Spurs.

If he is on top form, Tottenham could cause problems for a Man City defence that has looked almost impermeable of late.

Tottenham will need to be strong at the back too, with Pedro Porro and Yves Bissouma likely to play an important part off the ball. They lead the team for tackles won (61 and 52 respectively) this season.

Whether Tottenham can execute the kind of tactical plan required to beat — or even draw against — this formidable Man City team remains to be seen.