Manchester City v Tottenham preview: Mauricio Pochettino prepared to face 'best team in Europe'
Last Updated: 16/12/17 8:46am
Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino says Premier League leaders Manchester City are the "best team in Europe" ahead of their match on Saturday.
Pochettino's side travel to face a City team who have won 15 straight league games, so the Argentine knows Spurs will need to be at their best.
"We're going to play, for me, the best team today in Europe, not only in England," Pochettino said.
"It's not that we need to be brave - we need to behave like always, we need to think like always.
"Then it's about playing and try to dominate and try to play in the way that sometimes you can. We're going to play in a way that we believe we can win."
Pep Guardiola looks set to be without skipper Vincent Kompany, who was injured in the Manchester derby, so will have to decide who will partner Nicolas Otamendi.
On a more positive note, Kyle Walker and Leroy Sane will both be available for City after missing the midweek win over Swansea.
Manchester City captain Kompany is unlikely to return as the Premier League leaders host Tottenham.
The Belgium defender missed the midweek trip to Swansea with an unspecified muscle problem but the club are hopeful he can feature next week.
Former Spurs right-back Kyle Walker and winger Leroy Sane are set to return after being rested but defenders John Stones (hamstring) and Benjamin Mendy (knee) are still out.
Dele Alli is likely to be recalled for Tottenham's crunch visit to Manchester City.
Alli was rested for the win over Brighton in midweek and is expected to return but Davinson Sanchez remains suspended as he serves the last part of a three-match ban.
Toby Alderweireld (hamstring) and Victor Wanyama (knee) both remain sidelined.
Manchester City are winless in four Premier League games against Spurs (D1 L3) since a run of four consecutive victories between November 2013 and May 2015.
Spurs have won more away Premier League games at Manchester City (10) than they have at any other club.
The last time a team beat each of Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham in a top-flight league season before the New Year was 1953-54, with Wolves and West Brom doing so - Manchester City could replicate this with a victory in this game.
This Manchester City winning run (15 in a row) is still four wins away from Pep Guardiola's best-ever winning run as a manager in league competition. He won 19 in a row between October 2013 and March 2014 as Bayern Munich boss in the German Bundesliga.
Since Mauricio Pochettino's first season as Tottenham Hotspur boss in 2014-15, Spurs have spent six days top of the Premier League during a season, compared to Manchester City's total of 267 days (on the day of this game) over this period.
Since 2011-12, Sergio Aguero has scored 35 goals in 52 Premier League games against "big six" opposition - his goals have contributed towards 29 per cent of Man City's 119 goals in these games over this period.
Harry Kane's Premier League goal tally in 2017 stands at 33 goals in 33 appearances - just three goals away from equalling Alan Shearer's record in the competition of 36 goals back in the calendar year of 1995.
Kevin De Bruyne has now been involved in 13 goals (five goals, eight assists) in his 14 Premier League appearances since the start of September.
David Silva has been involved in 13 Premier League goals in 17 games this season (five goals, eight assists) - already more than in the whole of 2016-17 (11 goal involvements in 34 games).
If Tottenham had their best team out they would give them a game but I don't think they will do it with the defenders they have out. Toby Alderweireld is probably the best defender in the world in my opinion and he is badly missed. And Davinson Sanchez is out along with Victor Wanyama, so they are missing big players. Otherwise it would have been game on.
I do think we are getting a bit carried away with City though. It's great what they are doing but great teams win things and they haven't won anything yet. They will win the league, but we have short memories of how great Manchester United were and also the Arsenal 'Invincibles' team.
City are playing great, don't get me wrong, but you have to remember that 10 years ago anybody could beat anybody. The gap between top and bottom now is enormous, whereas 10 years ago a team like Stoke could be bottom of the league and you would go there and it would be one of your hardest games of the season. That's not the case now.
PAUL PREDICTS: 3-1 (10/1 with Sky Bet)