Premier League football is back at long last with the 2021/22 season opening on Friday 13 August. Fans hope to enjoy a season with fans in attendance throughout the year and we’re delighted to see stadiums full for the first game back. We’ve all come a long way and battled through difficult times over the last year or so due to the impact of coronavirus. Still, followers of the beautiful game now hope to get back to doing what they love best – cheering their favourite teams and players to victory.
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The season opens in London on Friday evening when newly-promoted Brentford, who came up from the Championship in spring, make their top-flight debut against an Arsenal side who are under real pressure to break back into the top four. The schedule then presents us with seven games on Saturday, including the welcome return of 3.00 pm kickoffs. On Sunday, it’s a doubleheader as Newcastle, and West Ham meet at St James Park before the big one – Tottenham versus Manchester City in London. That’s the game of the weekend and is the focus of our team of football writers who excitedly preview the main event.
These teams met three times last season in the Premier League and EFL Cup, and the head-to-head stats show Man City claimed two wins with Tottenham on one. The spare victory for Spurs did come at this venue last November when Spurs romped to a 2-0 win thanks to goals from Son and Celso. Man City then claimed their revenge with a 3-0 win at the Etihad Stadium earlier this year before winning 1-0 at Wembley in the EFL Cup thanks to a winning goal scored by Laporte with 82 minutes on the clock. Will this match live up to the hype and produce another exciting 90 minutes?
Santo hoping to bring back the glory days
The pressure is on Tottenham to improve on last season’s efforts and finally scrap their way back into the top-four. Spurs missed out on the riches of the Champions League last season, failing to build on their near-miss when reaching the final only to be beaten by Liverpool. They have parted company with two managers since the runners up finish in UEFA’s main competition, and fans now want to see a bit more stability at the club. Jose Mourinho has made way for Nuno Espirito Santo, who worked wonders at Wolverhampton Wanderers. Will the new gaffer be able to handle the pressures of performing at one of England’s biggest teams?
When looking back at the previous season, we note Tottenham finished a disappointing seventh in the table, which earned them a place in the Europa Conference League playoff round. From going close to winning the Champions League to having to fight for a place in UEFA’s new third-tier competition is embarrassing for Tottenham, but the club must take it on the chin and use that pain to battle back. Everyone at the London club is under immense pressure to get things right this year, and although fans have been locked out of the stadium for so long, they won’t be happy to sit back and endure another poor season.
Tottenham enjoy the home advantage for this match, and although there are certainly easier games they could have been handed than an opener against the champions, Spurs enter in high spirits. The best time to play Man City is early in the season when their big-name players are still getting up to speed. Tottenham’s best chance comes from catching their visitors cold, although a draw and share of the spoils wouldn’t be the worst start.
Man City out to defend their crown
Manchester City start as defending champions and are out to defend their crown to make it two league titles on the bounce. Pep Guardiola’s dominance of English football was briefly interrupted by Liverpool’s surprise league win, an upset that stopped the Cityzens from earning a stunning three league championships in a row. The Reds were then expected to kick on and enjoy a period of dominance, but their time at the head of English football proved to be short-lived, and they were rather fortunate to finish in the top four last term.
The visitors won the league trophy at a canter back in spring, ending with 86 points on the board, leaving them well clear of Manchester United in second place and the chasing pack. Their form finished with 27 wins and five draws against six defeats, scoring 83 goals and conceding 32. They were worthy winners of the title, no football fan could argue otherwise, but last season’s success doesn’t guarantee they will be back in form this term. The slate has been wiped clean, and the champions must begin again.
This season isn’t just about defending the Premier League trophy. Manchester City must also build on last season’s runners up finish in the Champions League when they were beaten 1-0 in the final by Chelsea. The club’s wait for a European crown rumbles on, but the group stages of the Champions League don’t start until next month, allowing everyone to focus on getting their league defence off to the perfect start.
Tottenham v Man City prediction
Tottenham have the home advantage, which will be seen as a positive by the players but playing at home when things aren’t going well comes with its own problems. The supporters will be eager to get behind their new manager, but they also won’t sit quietly if the players aren’t seen to be pulling their weight. Everyone at Spurs will be well aware of that.
Manchester City face a tough opening match away to Spurs, where they lost last season. They could lose this game again and still go on to win the league, nothing will be decided here, but the Cityzens will want to start their season on the right foot. They’ll want to lay down a marker for the campaign, and the best way to do that is with three points.
Premier League odds
The pre-match betting available at 22bet on this match has Tottenham priced at 5.4 with Man City 2.14 and the draw 2.36.
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