Spurs away form adds to task at City
Manchester City hosts Tottenham Hotspur on Dec. 16 on the back of a record 15 successive Premier League wins, and
on the basis of the visitor’s recent away form, a 16th victory appears to be the likely outcome.
Tottenham will travel to the Etihad Stadium fourth in the standings following consecutive home wins over Stoke City and Brighton and Hove Albion in the past week, but its position masks troubles on the road.
Having won its first four away league games this season, Mauricio Pochettino’s side has earned just one point and scored only twice in its past four away league matches, losing 1-0 to Manchester United, 2-0 to Arsenal and 2-1 to Leicester City before being held to a 1-1 draw by Watford.
And its prospects against City, which leads the league by 11 points, are dampened further by Tottenham’s tendency under Pochettino to struggle away from home against the best teams in the country.
Since he took over as manager in 2014, the team has won only one of 17 away matches against Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool.
An exception at Etihad Stadium
Some comfort can be taken from the fact that the one exception was a 2-1 success at the Etihad Stadium in February 2016, but the two teams were in different situations back then, with Tottenham battling with Leicester City for the Premier League title and Manchester City stumbling towards a fourth-place finish under Manuel Pellegrini.
In the 22 months since, City has evolved from an also-ran into one of the most prolific, entertaining and consistent sides in the world, as potent away as it is at home.
Pep Guardiola’s team has won seven home league matches in succession and has not been beaten at the Etihad Stadium in the league since Chelsea claimed a 3-1 league win on Dec. 3, 2016.
In eight home games in the league this season, the team has scored 28 goals at a rate of 3.5 per game, which suggests Tottenham might struggle to keep a clean sheet and that it will need to score, potentially more than once, to get a result.
It can, however, take hope from the recent performances at the Etihad Stadium of Southampton and West Ham United, which defended deep in numbers and looked to be on course for 1-1 draws until City conjured winners in the 96th and 83rd minutes respectively.
Should Tottenham get a positive result on Dec. 16, second-placed Manchester United will have the chance to cut the gap at the top when it visits West Bromwich Albion on Dec. 17.
United bounced back from losing 2-1 to City on Dec. 10 by beating Bournemouth 1-0 mid-week and should fancy its chances against a West Brom side which has not won in the league since Aug. 19 and which failed to score in each of the three matches new manager Alan Pardew has been in charge.
Third-place Chelsea sits 14 points adrift of City and hosts Southampton on Dec.16, while fifth-placed Liverpool travels to Bournemouth on Dec. 17.