There are two games in the Premier League today. Tottenham host Leicester at 1:30 p.m. before Manchester City play Chelsea at the Etihad at 4 p.m. They could be two very good games. We’ll have a look at each.
Tottenham vs Leicester
Tottenham are third in the Premier League table, while Leicester are 12th. A Spurs win would move them back to within five points of leaders Liverpool. Leicester would move up to ninth if they pick up the three points today.
Tottenham are favourites today as they try to keep their outside hopes of a Premier League title alive. Some say they’re in with a chance; some say they’re not. But they’ll be happy enough if they’re not talked about too much and they can quietly go about their business. In each of their last three games, they looked like they would drop points, but they just keep finding a way to win. That’s very positive for them, as they’re winning without some of their best players. They certainly can’t be ruled out of a title challenge, but it will be difficult for them. A PremPlace poll on Twitter during the week showed opinion was split:
Tottenham fans – you trail Manchester City and Liverpool by just five points.
— PremPlace (@PremPlace) February 7, 2019
They can’t be too worried about going for the title though, and should just concentrate on winning game by game. At the start of the season, many predicted that they would struggle to finish in the top four because they didn’t strengthen their squad while all their rivals did. But that hasn’t been the case, and they’ve been really strong. They’re seven points clear of Chelsea, who are fifth: that could be extended to 10 points today.
Today’s game won’t be easy, though. Leicester are a good team, even if things have been a bit up and down for them this season. They have some good players that can hurt Spurs, and Mauricio Pochettino’s men will have to be at their best if they’re going to win this one.
Leicester were narrowly beaten 1-0 by Manchester United the last time out. And there were plenty of positives for them to take from that game, as they troubled Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s rejuvenated side. They put plenty of pressure on United and would have been disappointed that they couldn’t find an equaliser. Before that, they went to Anfield and got a positive draw. But that point was their only one in their last four games, as they’ve also lost to Southampton and Wolves.
Since beating Chelsea and Manchester City in consecutive games at the end of December, things haven’t gone great for Claude Puel’s men. There are plenty of positive signs there, though, and they can’t be far from going on a better run of form. Turning up to Wembley today and playing well could see them get out with something. Wembley hasn’t been a fortress for Spurs, who have been better away from home. The Foxes can’t be ruled out of this one just because of league position.
Youri Tielemans could be given a debut by Puel today. It would be great to see him start, as he is a very promising young player. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him named on the bench, though.
Dele Alli and Harry Kane remain out, while Eric Dier misses this game due to a virus. Ben Davies is also unavailable.
Leicester look set to be without Marc Albrighton for the rest of the season, as he requires surgery on a hamstring injury. Daniel Amartey remains out, while Puel didn’t give away whether Tielemans will start the game.
Man City vs Chelsea
Manchester City are second in the table but can go ahead of Liverpool and regain top spot on goal difference with a win today. Chelsea are fifth but can overtake Manchester United and regain fourth if they pick up three points. It’s a huge game for both.
Man City find themselves in a real scrap to retain their Premier League crown. After last season, when they won the title comfortably and picked up a record 100 points, it seemed they would be unstoppable again this season. But they haven’t been quite as good, and those fine margins make huge differences. Liverpool are now the leaders and the ones to catch. Even if City do go back top, the Reds will have a game in hand. With 12 games to play this season, we could be in for an amazing finish.
There is pressure on City to perform and pick up three points every time they play now, but they’ve managed to do that. They lost to Newcastle a few weeks ago, but that’s the only time they haven’t won in their last 11 games in all competitions. And, incredibly, they’re still in the hunt for four trophies. Talk about them winning all four is ridiculous though: that’s extremely unlikely.
Pep Guardiola’s men will be confident of winning today against Chelsea. They should have more than enough about them to beat Maurizio Sarri’s side, who have had an up and down season. But Chelsea could provide an upset, as they’ll now be stronger since they have a focal point in attack after the signing of Gonzalo Higuain. Man City will have to be very good today if they’re going to pick up all three points. Chelsea should provide a sterner test than Arsenal did last weekend.
As mentioned, Maurizio Sarri has had a mixed first season at the club. But criticism of him must be scaled back. He needs time to get Chelsea playing the way he wants them to and he needs money to build a squad in his image. Time isn’t something Chelsea are famed for giving managers, but they must be patient with Sarri. All things considered, this is a decent first season for him. And if they win any of the three cup competitions they’re still in, as well as finishing in the top four, it could be a really good season.
Chelsea bounced back from an embarrassing 4-0 defeat to Bournemouth by beating Huddersfield 5-0 at Stamford Bridge last week. But today’s game is a whole different prospect. It’s going to be a very difficult game as they come up against a Man City side that desperately need a win. But Chelsea could also do with one. They’re out of the top four and have a real battle with Manchester United – who beat Fulham 3-0 yesterday – and Arsenal – who beat Huddersfield 2-0 – to finish in a Champions League qualification place. It’s going to be very interesting to see how that goes.
The Blues will approach today’s game like any other. They’ll try to control the game from midfield, with Jorginho pulling the strings. But they need a plan B. When Jorginho is marked out of the game, they can find it difficult. And don’t be surprised if Guardiola tells somebody to follow the Italian everywhere when Chelsea are in possession. They can really struggle when there’s pressure put on him and the options around him. Arsenal put huge pressure on their midfield a few weeks ago and won the game 2-0. Chelsea really struggled.
They can’t be ruled out of this game, but they’ll certainly find it difficult. It would be an upset if they managed to get anything from the game, but you just never know.
Vincent Kompany and Benjamin Mendy remain out for Man City.
Antonio Rudiger should be fit for Chelsea. They’re monitoring Callum Hudson-Odoi and Gary Cahill, but both are expected to be fit.
We could be set for two very good games today. Tottenham and Man City are certainly favourites for both games, but there could be an upset. Let’s hope they’re two good games with plenty of goals!
The team news will be up here for both of these an hour before they kick off. There’ll also be an article on Claude Puel up here soon: that’ll be up sometime today. Enjoy the football, see you later!