Weblog: The football punter

Tottenham v Manchester City preview

Manchester City had scored in 25 successive games before losing 1-0 at home to Manchester United on Wednesday and they can get back to their free-flowing best by defeating Tottenham in a high-scoring match.

The outcome of the Premier League title race looks in no doubt after Liverpool stretched their lead to 22 points with a 4-0 success against Southampton, but Pep Guardiola will not allow City's standards to drop while they have so much to play for.

The Citizens are favourites to win each of their other three competitions, starting with next month's EFL Cup final against Aston Villa, which they are 1-4 to win inside normal time.

After playing eight games in December and eight in January, City have a lighter February schedule and will be looking to sign off for their winter break with league victories away to Spurs and at home to West Ham.

Guardiola switched to a back three for the midweek match against United and it didn't seem to suit the players.

City were unlucky to lose after bossing the contest for long periods but, despite playing against ten men after Nemanja Matic's 76th-minute red card, they registered just 13 shots, the lowest in any of their 19 home games this season.

A return to a back four looks likely and if City play anywhere close to their best, their intensity and quality should be too much for Spurs.

Jose Mourinho took on a tough challenge when replacing Mauricio Pochettino and it got even more tricky with injuries to Harry Kane and Moussa Sissoko and the January transfer speculation surrounding Christian Eriksen, who finally sealed a move to Inter this week.

The rebuild is starting to take shape with Giovani Lo Celso, Tottenham's best player in recent weeks, converting his loan from Betis into a permanent deal and Dutch international winger Steven Bergwijn arriving from PSV Eindhoven.

However, recent results and performances have been mixed.

Spurs went four games without a Premier League win before scraping a 2-1 success at home to basement boys Norwich and conceded a late equaliser to draw 1-1 at Southampton in the FA Cup fourth round.

They have had their moments against City, whom they famously thwarted in last season's Champions League quarter-finals despite losing Kane to an injury in the early stages of the first leg.

However, City have won four of their last five league meetings and probably deserve to be warm odds-on favourites.

Siding with the visitors looks the way to go but Spurs can get themselves on the scoresheet, allowing punters to boost their returns by backing City to win and both teams to score.

Man City to win & both teams to score

The Football Site

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