After another round of seemingly pointless international fixtures, Tottenham return to action this Saturday in their biggest game of the season yet, home to Manchester City.
Spurs will be wanting to build on the momentum they had heading into the break, as Jose Mourinho’s men are currently on a three game winning streak – scoring six goals and conceding twice.
The Portuguese would have hoped to have the entire squad at his disposal for the upcoming set of fixtures, however Matt Doherty’s positive COVID-19 test has thrown a spanner into the works.
Doherty was one of two players to test positive after the game against Wales, along with James McClean.
He will now be forced to isolate away from the squad for ten days, ruling him out of Saturday’s clash with Manchester City and potentially Thursday’s Group J tie against Ludogoretes.
However Spurs did receive some good fortune as Welsh trio Gareth Bale, Ben Davies and Joe Rodon all tested negative for the virus.
Gareth Bale, who was pictured embracing his Tottenham teammate after the game against Republic of Ireland, admitted that he felt ‘concerned’ upon hearing the news.
“It’s a slight concern for everybody when you’ve been playing someone and you’re in close contact with them on the field, Bale said.
“Maybe you’re not long enough with them to catch it, but you’re a bit wary.”
Bale later gave an update on Doherty’s condition, as he and Ben Davies had spoken to the right-back.
“Me and Ben have spoken to him briefly and he’s doing fine, he’s just got mild symptoms.
“Hopefully he recovers fine, doesn’t have any problems and will be back playing as soon as possible.”
Tottenham vs Manchester City has fast become one of the most entertaining fixtures in world football, with classics such as their Champions League quarter final in 2019, which saw Spurs reach their first ever semi-final in the competition on away goals (4-4 on aggregate).
The Lilywhites were able to take the three points in their most recent encounter with City, as goals from Steven Bergwijn and Heung-Min Son resulted in a 2-0 victory at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Surprisingly, Spurs were able to remain undefeated against the Citizens last season, picking up four points from a possible six.
Heung-Min Son will be looking to build on the form which has helped him win Premier League Player of the Month for October. The winger has been directly involved in six of Tottenham’s ten goals over the course of the month – scoring four goals and assisting two.
The South Korean will also be looking to add to his impressive record against Manchester City, which boasts five goals in his last seven appearances.
Saturday’s game kicks off a tough set of league fixtures for Tottenham with the likes of Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Arsenal, Liverpool and Leicester City to be played in the next few weeks.
Having recently come away with a 1-0 victory against West Brom, Spurs currently sit 2nd in the table with just a point separating themselves from league leaders Leicester City.
Spurs have a record of five wins, two draws and a single loss in the Premier League this season but if they want to be viewed as title contenders, then this is the time to make their intentions known.
In contrast to Spurs, Manchester City come into this game off the back of a 1-1 draw with Liverpool.
Pep Guardiola’s men have not lived up to their pre-season expectations so far and currently find themselves in 10th position, having only won three of their first seven fixtures in the league.
A win for City could see them jump to fifth in the table, depending on other results going in their favour.
Tottenham team news:
The absence of Matt Doherty has put Serge Aurier in prime position to make a return to the starting line-up. Aurier has seen his playing time reduced since the arrival of Doherty, only appearing in two of Spurs’ opening eight league games.
Versatile defender Japhet Tanganga has missed the majority of the season through injury, but is now in contention to be included in Jose Mourinho’s squad.
However Steven Bergwijn is not expected to feature, having returned to Spurs early into the international break due to a groin injury.
Erik Lamela remains out as he continues to rehabilitate from a foot injury.
Predicted XI: Lloris, Aurier, Dier, Alderweireld, Reguilon, Hojbjerg, Ndombele, Sissoko, Son, Kane, Bale.
Manchester City team news:
Sergio Aguero is unlikely to feature, as he recovers from a hamstring injury.
Raheem Sterling is expected to make an appearance, despite damaging his calf whilst on England duty last week. The forward was released from the camp early in order to undergo fitness testing with Man City.
Predicted XI: Ederson, Walker, Dias, Laporte, Cancelo, Rodri, De Bruyne, Gündoğan, Torres, Sterling, Jesus.
By Reece Coughlan
Edited by Joey Pickthall