Manchester City-Tottenham Hotspur Preview
Hoping for an instant impact from their January signing, Jose Mourinho is expected to throw Steven Bergwijn right into the fray Sunday when Tottenham Hotspur host Manchester City looking to draw closer to a top-four spot.
With star striker Harry Kane a long-term injury absence, Spurs (9-7-8) dipped into the transfer market for the second time this month, signing the 22-year-old Bergwijn from PSV Eindhoven for a reported £27 million. Tottenham also landed Gedson Fernandes on loan from Benfica earlier this month and made their summer signing of Giovanni Lo Celso permanent.
"Yes, I think so. We have four attacking players - Son, Lucas, Lamela and Steven - so he has to be involved," Spurs boss Jose Mourinho told the club's official website when asked if Bergwijn could make his debut Sunday. "I would like to give him more time, probably the perfect situation would be to come (in) after the winter break, but that's not possible.
"It's not a drama because he's played with PSV, so he has match fitness, it's just a question of learning how to play with us, but I don't think it would be a problem for him to play some minutes."
Bergwijn, who had five goals and 10 assists for PSV in Eredivisie play this term, will be competing for first-team minutes with Lo Celso and Erik Lamela as playmakers, with Christian Eriksen having completed his move to Inter Milan earlier in the transfer window. Additionally, midfielder Moussa Sissoko is also a long-term injury absence with a knee injury.
Tottenham are unbeaten in their last four (2-2-0) across all competitions and are coming off a 1-1 draw at Southampton on Saturday, resulting in a fourth-round FA Cup replay in London on Wednesday. Heung-min Son proved an advantage for the Lilywhites, who were pegged back three minutes from time.
Spurs have gotten a win and a draw in the two matches since No. 1 keeper Hugo Lloris returned following an absence of nearly four months with a dislocated elbow. The World Cup winner, though, has recorded just one clean sheet in his 11 starts in all competitions.
Manchester City (16-3-5) continue to be "the best of the rest" as they are in second place and 19 points adrift of champions-elect Liverpool. With a third consecutive Premier League title out of reach barring an unprecedented historical collapse in Merseyside, the Cityzens are still in the hunt for a second straight domestic double as well as their white whale - a first Champions League title.
Pep Guardiola's team claimed a spot in the Carabao Cup final Wednesday, losing the second-leg battle to eternal rivals Manchester United 1-0 while winning the aggregate war 3-2. Despite the loss, Guardiola was pleased with how his side fared over the 180 minutes while booking a spot opposite Aston Villa at Wembley next month. City will be attempting to become the first side to win three straight League Cup titles since Liverpool reeled off four straight from 1981-84.
"Their goal was a set-piece and the first time they shot on target. In the second half they shot once and no more than that," said Guardiola, who also said Claudio Bravo would be between the sticks for the March 1 contest. "I am really pleased. For the 180 minutes we played in both games, we were better. I am so satisfied with the way we played and with the problems we have in the back four, with the injuries we have.
"I'm very pleased to be in the final for a third year in a row."
Aymeric Laporte could be in line for his second start since missing nearly five months with an injury. The centre back's absence was sorely missed as Guardiola drafted defensive midfielder Fernandinho into the spine at times.
"Maybe he can play against Spurs, but we don't know just yet and if he can't, he will be fine for West Ham," Guardiola said of Laporte, who would become the first player in Premier League history to collect 43 wins in his first 50 matches should City claim victory.
The Spaniard has gotten the better of Mourinho 11 times in 22 overall matches since their initial matchup in the Champions League in 2010 when Mourinho managed Inter Milan and Guardiola was in charge of Barcelona.
Manchester City are 11-0-1 in their last 12 league visits to London and 2-4-0 in their last six league matches versus Tottenham after a 2-2 draw in the reverse fixture in August. Kevin De Bruyne set up goals by Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero in a 15-minute span of the first half around a marker by Lamela, and Spurs claimed a share of the spoils through Lucas Moura's equaliser on 56 minutes.
Updated January 31, 2020