Manchester City hosts Tottenham in Valentine’s Day clash

Two teams with Barclays Premier League title aspirations square off on Sunday at the Eithad Stadium when Tottenham visits Manchester City. Both teams are staring up the table at Leicester City, and with the league leaders heading to Arsenal a few hours earlier, it could be an opportunity for one of the sides to close the gap.

How to watch — NBC Sports Network, 11:15 a.m. (ET)

Table watch — Manchester City is in fourth place on 47 points while Spurs reside in second place with 48 points on goal difference over Arsenal

The man in the middle — Mark Clattenburg

Last time the sides metSpurs claimed a 4-1 win at White Hart Lane on Sept. 26. The home team went down after a Kevin De Bruyne goal, but rallied behind goals from Eric Dier, Toby Alderweireld, Harry Kane and Erik Lamela. It must be pointed out, however, that regular City keeper Joe Hart missed the match, and his replacement, Willy Caballero, didn’t exactly cover himself in glory.

Injury watch The BBC reports that Manchester City center back Vincent Kompany will be available, as will midfielder David Silva. The same can’t be said for Bacary Sagna (knee) or Fabian Delph (achilles). Samir Nasri, Jesus Navas, De Bruyne and Wilfried Bony are long-term injury victims. For Spurs, Dele Alli should be back, but defender Jan Vertonghen will likely miss out again. Clinton N’Jie is also recovering from a knee injury.

Coach speak, part one — “I think we are confident in ourselves but you know in football it can turn quick. We need to be very focused and try to improve. We are happy in the way we are, we need to keep working hard and be focused.” — Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino, on his team’s six-match winning streak

Coach speak, part two — “Like I said last week, it’s not a decisive game but a very important game — after we play for another 36 points. For our team, it’s important to try to return to the top of the table. Two or three teams are in front of us in this moment so we must try to reclaim the points.” — City manager Manuel Pellegrini, on the importance of this match

Tottenham player to watchHarry Kane: He’s the heart and soul of the Spurs’ attack, and he’ll either be going up against Kompany (who’s recovering from injury) or the same center halves he and his mates torched for four goals back in September. He has 15 league goals already this season, and he’ll be a big part of any success Spurs have on Sunday.

City player to watchRaheem Sterling: Sergio Aguero leads the team with 14 goals, but it’s Sterling that can open things up for him with a strong performance. Sterling has been a little up and down this season, but when he’s on form and running at defenders, City becomes all the more dangerous.

Prediction — If Leicester City drops points against Arsenal in the early match, this match will end in a 1-1 draw. Both teams will play not to lose, and it could get a little dull. If the Foxes win at the Emirates, both Spurs and City will really have no choice but to play for three points. Then, you get a little more excitement. In that scenario, I’ll take City, 2-1.

About Randy Capps

South Carolina native, Fulham apologist, writer and sports fanatic.