Manchester City welcome Tottenham Hotspur to the Etihad Stadium as they look to overturn a 1-0 deficit from the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final.
Pep Guardiola has a lot on his plate at the moment, as his side is involved in a close Premier League title race. They trail Liverpool by two points but have a game in hand. With five league games to go, the title race will last the distance. Liverpool are not backing off, which means City cannot afford to take the league games lightly. So much so, that Guardiola actually rested players for the first leg against Spurs.
Kevin De Bruyne and Leroy Sane started on the bench last week, and their absence was felt keenly. Guardiola adopted a relatively conservative approach, something which is rarely seen from the Spaniard. He will go for it in the second leg, as Spurs are likely to defend for their lives. The hopes of an unlikely quadruple hinge on the second leg.
City won 3-1 at Crystal Palace on Sunday, which means that they have their league destiny in their own hands. Their home form has been stunning this season, winning 23 of 25 home games in all competitions. Guardiola has not reached a Champions League semi-final in Manchester, and Spurs stand in his way this time.
Tottenham hold a slender advantage, but Mauricio Pochettino knows that it is not enough. Son Heung-min scored the solitary goal in the first leg, and he will be central to their hopes yet again. He was benched this weekend, as Spurs won 4-0 against Huddersfield. Lucas Moura scored a hat-trick in that match, and he will join Son in the Spurs frontline at the Etihad.
Harry Kane suffered a long-term injury in the first leg, and it appears as though he will miss the rest of the season. Kane’s absence is a huge blow, but it could be a blessing in disguise for this tie. Pochettino will aim to play on the counter, and the pace of Moura and Son is bound to cause City problems.
Spurs are in a tight top-four race in the Premier League, as Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea are pushing them close. Only three points separate these two sides, and Champions League football next season is not guaranteed for any one of them. But the focus is on the Champions League at the moment for Spurs, and Saturday’s team selection showed just that.
Alli is also a doubt for Spurs, and both Eric Dier and Serge Aurier will be out. City will welcome Fernandinho back, as he was rested against Palace. Oleksandr Zinchenko should slot in at left-back for Guardiola.
Manchester City vs Tottenham prediction
Considering the players Pochettino has, he may well adopt a conservative approach to defend his lead. Son and Moura will offer a sizeable threat on the counter. City can cut open any defence on their day, and they will be the slight favourites. The game will be a close one and expect less than 2.5 goals in total.