Tottenham Hotspur will be looking to get their season back on track when they travel to face Premier League leaders Manchester City on Saturday.
After a new manager bounce following Antonio Conte’s arrival at the end of 2021, Tottenham are going through a rough patch with no real signs of coming out the other side. For the first time since 2009 when he was managing Atalanta, Conte has lost three league matches in a row, beaten by Chelsea, Southampton and Wolves.
As a result, Tottenham missed out on the chance to take full control of the fight for Champions League football, though they are still in a good position. Despite sitting seven points behind fourth-placed Man Utd, Tottenham have three games in hand on the Red Devils. But they need to get out of their rut and could do with a couple of returns from injury this weekend.
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The big one is Eric Dier, who has been a rock in defence for Conte’s Tottenham, something that may surprise those who have watched the Englishman in the past. Previously criticised and sometimes joked about for his defensive ability, Dier brings stability to Tottenham’s back three when in the team and the prospect of a lesser-seen partnership alongside Cristian Romero is exciting.
Just last week Conte expressed his hope of Dier being available for the trip to Man City, so Tottenham will play a waiting game to see if he can play. If he does, as mentioned he will join Romero in defence with Ben Davies likely getting the start over Davinson Sanchez in the back three.
There should also be returns for Emerson Royal and Sergio Reguilon, after Ryan Sessegnon and Matt Doherty’s struggles at wing-back against Wolves. Sessegnon, especially, had an afternoon to forget, taken off after just 28 minutes.
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“It’s never easy for that player when it happens but we’re sure it was a tactical decision and we had to go and take the chance,” Davies said after the game. “Unfortunately today Sess was that player.”
The interesting question then is what happens to the midfield. Against Wolves, Rodrigo Bentacur started ahead of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg but Tottenham missed the Dane alongside Harry Winks and he could come in at the expense of the winter arrival.
Then, up front, Harry Kane should be flanked by Son Heung-min and Lucas Moura in an attempt to hit Man City on the counter-attack.
For Kane it’s another chance to face the club everyone expected him to join in the summer after expressing his desire to leave Tottenham after the Euros. It was a case of when rather than if and Kane even missed the game between these two sides at the start of the season as his head wasn’t clear enough.
However, the end of the summer transfer window came and went and Kane remained at Tottenham, left to kick on for the remainder of the season. But it wasn’t for Man City’s lack of trying.
“Now you can say ‘Harry Kane didn’t come and everything is going well’ but at the time I didn’t know it,” Guardiola said.
“We tried but Tottenham were clear that it was not going to happen. When that happens two, three, four times, it’s over.
“After that we saw the squad and we were not sure. We then lost at Spurs and against Leicester in the Community Shield.
“I never was disappointed in what the club cannot do in the transfer market. I’ve never created a fire here. When we have some talks and we cannot agree, we do it internally.”
Tottenham predicted XI vs Man City | Premier League gameweek 26
Lloris; Dier, Romero, Davies; Emerson, Winks, Hojbjerg, Reguilon; Moura, Son; Kane.