The following set of figures looks a lot like the form line of a horse that the Paddy Power Blog team would end up lumping on. After an initially good-looking ‘1’ at the start we’d fall in love the majestic beast and back it over and over again as it posts disappointing runs that edge it closer to the glue factory than the Cheltenham Festival. However it’s not a hairy pig feeding off our hard-earned cash, it is in fact the number of goals in each of the last eight clashes between Tottenham and Manchester City – a contest that has thrown up some delightfully high-scoring thrillers, with an average of 4.5 goals a game since August 2011.
A whopping 36 goals in eight games. That’s the kind of titillating stat that will warm your heart as you roll from the bed to the couch on a hungover Saturday morning to catch the early kick-off. But alas, we’re going to stamp on your dreams with the same force of Diego Costa crushing a toddler’s Tamagotchi.
Firstly these are the two strongest defences in the league this year. Tottenham have conceded four goals, while Manchester City have conceded just two and combined the two sides have eight clean sheets in 12 matches. Joe Hart and Hugo Lloris have had to do less work in the last two months than a supply teacher during the summer. Secondly, in the eight games previous to August 2011 there were just 20 goals between these two sides – an average of 2.5 a game, and two goals less on average than the more recent history suggests.
Plus Harry Kane’s goal drought has caused knee-jerk spasms across north London, as Tottenham fans class him worse than Roberto Soldado and Jeremy Kyle put together. It’s left Spurs with just five goals to their name this season, and only Liverpool, West Brom and Newcastle have scored less.
So where does that leave us for a punt? Well despite recent clashes suggesting a free-scoring thriller, we’re regressing to the mean and looking at a match that could be tighter than Arsene Wenger’s purse-strings.
Manchester City are to win the match and that’s a more than fair shout considering they’ve won seven of the last eight against Spurs. Forget last week’s blip against a ridiculously impressive West Ham side, City are the best side in the league and should out-muscle a good Tottenham outfit. Considering both team’s strong defensive records, goals may be in short supply so while under 2.5 goals is a skinny , we’re much keener on man City to win 1-0 at , with a cheeky saver on the 2-0 result at .
While our hearts long for a seven-goal thriller to blow away the cobwebs from Friday’s hangover, our heads suggest a far more reasonable narrow win for Manchester City. Either way, we’ll be content as long as there’s a bacon sandwich within reach.
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