The first ‘Big Six’ clash of the season comes on the opening weekend, with Tottenham Hotspur taking on champions Manchester City on Sunday.
Here’s all you need to know about that clash at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium:
Season Preview and Team News
The main talking point ahead of the new campaign and ahead of Sunday’s fixture is without a doubt, the future of talisman Harry Kane, the England skipper seemingly angling for a move to Spurs‘ weekend opponents before the August deadline.
While that transfer saga is set to continue to be an unwelcome distraction for new boss Nuno Espirito Santo and new managing director Fabio Paratici, the two men have other areas of concern with just a few weeks left in the window.
As yet, the club have brought in talented Spanish winger Bryan Gil from Sevilla, as well as Atalanta duo Cristian Romero and Pierluigi Gollini, the latter of whom should provide genuine competition to usual number one Hugo Lloris for the first time in a decade.
The major worry, however, for both the club and its supporters is how quickly those new additions can adapt to the top-flight, while there also remains the issue of further recruitment and strengthening.
Defence and central midfield still appear in need of bolstering, while the club are seemingly struggling to offload the likes of Harry Winks and Serge Aurier.
With Gareth Bale and Vinicius having returned to their clubs, Lamela having gone to Sevilla as part of the Gil deal, and with the doubts over Kane, the club are also seemingly in need of adding an attacker to their ranks, although the recent contract extension for the ever-impressive Heung-min Son is a major bonus.
As for this weekend’s clash, the big news is that the returning Kane could be available to play, although the extent of his involvement remains to be seen after his ‘delayed’ return to pre-season. Elsewhere the starting XI is likely to mirror the side that were 1-0 victors against rivals Arsenal at the weekend.
While all the attention will be on the aforementioned Kane and the fact that his future could lie in either camp, the champions will be more focused on getting their campaign off and running, having suffered a 1-0 defeat in the weekend’s Wembley curtain-raiser against Leicester City in the Community Shield.
That clash with the FA Cup holders saw £100m signing Jack Grealish make his debut for Pep Guardiola’s side, the Aston Villa captain becoming the most expensive signing in British football history.
Should he be joined at the club by international colleague Kane, City may well have the cutting edge required to go one better in the Champions League this term, having fallen at the final hurdle to Premier League rivals Chelsea in last season’s showpiece.
That being said, amid all the clamour for a replacement for Sergio Aguero among fans and pundits alike, the club more than managed without a recognised centre-forward for large parts of last season as they romped to the league title, a feat that they are no doubt favourites to repeat with or without the addition of Kane.
As Saturday’s loss illustrated, however, one potential stumbling block in the opening weeks could be the late return of a number of the club’s internationals, the likes of Kyle Walker, John Stones and Ederson only just returning to training, while by Guardiola’s own admission there are a few players who wish to leave the club this summer – notably Bernardo Silva.
That should see a far from first-choice lineup this weekend, with the young duo of Samuel Edozie and Cole Palmer potentially pushing for a start, particularly with both Phil Foden and Kevin De Bruyne currently out of action through injury.
Man City 1-0 Spurs, Carabao Cup Final, 25 April 2020
The big news surrounding the two sides’ last meeting was the shock exit of Spurs boss Jose Mourinho on the eve of the game, the Portuguese serial winner shown the door despite his super showpiece record.
That departure saw former player and academy graduate Ryan Mason take interim charge, the 29-year-old getting off to the perfect start with a first game win over Southampton, before taking on City a few days later.
As expected, it was City who dominated the proceedings at Wembley, albeit with Guardiola’s men being forced to wait until the 82nd minute to find the back of the net; defender Aymeric Laporte the unlikely hero.
That late winner ensured Tottenham’s wait for silverware would go on, while also confirming a remarkable fourth successive League Cup triumph for their opponents.
Spurs: Lloris; Tanganga, Dier, Sanchez, Reguilon; Hojberg, Skipp; Bergwijn, Alli, Moura; Son.
Man City: Steffen; Cancelo, Dias, Ake, Mendy; Rodri, Gundogan, Silva; Grealish, Mahrez, Torres.
Who is the referee?
What channel is it on?
UK and Irish readers can watch the match on Sky Sports Main Event.
What time is kick off?
Sunday 15 August, 16:30 BST
Spurs – 17/4
Man City – 3/5
Draw – 16/5
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Author: Robbie Walls