Manchester City welcome Tottenahm to the Etihad on Saturday evening in what is set to be a mammoth clash between two serial winners in Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho.
The contrast in mood between the two camps is stark as things stand, with Guadriola’s side progressing to the FA Cup quarter-finals with a comfortable win over Swansea in what was a record-breaking 15th straight victory, while Tottenham were dumped out by City’s last-eight opponents Everton.
City’s 4-1 win over Liverpool at Anfield last weekend gave them breathing at the top of the Premier League, while they have also qualified for the final of the Carabao Cup and the knockout stages of the Champions League.
Indeed, it will be Tottenham who meet them in April’s cup final, while they have also progressed to the knockout stages of the Europa League. However, their league form has taken a drastic dip in recent weeks and months, now sitting in eighth place having won just three games from their last 10.
Mourinho got the better of Guardiola in the reverse fixture at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium in November, but it looks set to be a far more challenging proposition this time round.
With the intriguing match-up looming, Sportsmail takes you through the talking points and the important information you need to know.
Jose Mourinho (R) has the chance to silence the doubters against Pep Guardiola’s (L) City
Pep Guardiola vs Jose Mourinho
In any occasion where Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola go head-to-head, it’s always an intriguing watch.
Not just because the teams they manage are generally in direct competition with each other, but due to the vastly contrasting styles the pair operate with.
Guardiola teams are known for their fluidity and flair in a highly-orgnaised but free-flowing, possession-based system, while Mourinho opts for a more defensive, counter-attacking approach.
Though Guardiola certainly receives more praise – particularly in recent years – for his stylish manner of football, who is to say which approach is more pragmatic, with both managers boasting an incredible haul of trophies.
But in terms of their head-to-head stats, it’s Guardiola who has the edge over Mourinho, having won 11 of their 24 meetings, while losing seven and drawing six.
Though Tottenham were far more expansive in their FA Cup defeat to Everton, they were also highly vulnerable at the back, conceding five goals.
Mourinho will undoubtedly return to a more defensive set-up against City, with the approach serving Tottenham well against the top teams on numerous occasions this season.
City will have the vast majority of possession, and Tottenham’s defence will have a lot of work to do, but after their torrid display on Wednesday night, you’d think Harry Kane and Heung-min Son are going to need their finishing boots on.
Manchester City vs Tottenham: Team news
Sergio Aguero is back in Manchester City training and could play against Spurs on Saturday
Harry Kane has scored two in two since returning from injury and will likely start on Saturday
The big news for Manchester City this week is that Sergio Aguero is back in training and could be in line to play against Tottenham.
Guardiola revealed on Friday that the Argentinian has trained twice with the team this week, while also stating Ruben Dias and Rodri could both be fit to play.
City will not have Fernandinho available, however, while Nathan Ake and Kevin De Bruyne remain out.
Tottenham were delighted to welcome Harry Kane back to their starting line-up against West Brom last week, as he made a scoring return from a worrying double-ankle injury.
Kane was left out of the eleven for Tottenham’s midweek trip to Everton with one eye on City, however, but the England captain was made to play 60 minutes regardless, with the north London club eventually bowing out 5-4 after extra time.
Mourinho has confirmed the 27-year-old will be fit to start from the off against City, though he will be without Giovani Lo Celso and Sergio Reguilon, who are both suffering with long-term injuries.
Meanwhile, Mourinho also confirmed that Gareth Bale will be involved if he feels ready, while Serge Aurier is a doubt after missing the Everton game.
What next for Gareth Bale?
Gareth Bale missed Tottenham’s game against Everton after complaining of discomfort
Gareth Bale has endured a difficult start to life back at Tottenham, with his season-long loan from Real Madrid not yet going to plan.
The Welshman – who is yet to complete a single 90-minute match in the Premier League this season – suffered a further set-back as he missed Tottenham’s FA Cup game with Everton on Wednesday.
This is despite training the day prior, with Mourinho since revealing he had personally requested to see the sports scientists after complaining of discomfort.
Mourinho has been angered by a post from Bale’s Instagram account on the night of the Everton match, which told his followers ‘good session today’.
The incident was addressed after the game by Mourinho, who spoke on the topic once again in his pre-match press conference, saying: ‘There was a contradiction between the post and the reality.
‘Since the beginning of the season, in relationship to everything, I’ve tried to be very private and keep everything indoors but I felt I needed to address the situation.’
Mourinho has confirmed that Bale will be selected against City if he feels physically ready, however.
‘He was not ready for the [Everton] game,’ he said. ‘It is as simple as that. If he is ready for tomorrow, he is selected for tomorrow.’
Manchester City vs Tottenham: How fortunes have changed
Remarkably, when the two clubs last met in November, Tottenham’s comfortable 2-0 win put them top of the table with 20 points from nine games.
On the other hand, defeat for City left them in 11th place and eight points off the top – albeit with a game in hand.
Three months later and the tables have completely turned, with City now top of the league, while Tottenham are struggling in eighth.
It shows just how quickly things can change in this unpredictable season – and it should come as a stern warning to City, who cannot take anything for granted despite their form.
Manchester City vs Tottenham: The key stats
League position: 1st
Top league scorer: Gundogan (8)
Most league assists: De Bruyne (10)
Goals scored: 43
Goals conceded: 14
Last six league matches: 6W, 0D, 0L
Goals from counter attacks: 1
Clean sheets: 13
League position: 8th
Top league scorer: Kane, Son (13)
Most league assists: Kane (11)
Goals scored: 36
Goals conceded: 22
Last six league matches: 2W, 0D, 4L
Goals from counter attacks: 4
Clean sheets: 7
Manchester City vs Tottenham: How to watch
Manchester City’s crucial encounter with Tottenham – which kicks off at 5.30pm on Saturday, February 14 – will be shown live on Sky Sports Premier League and Main Event.
Sky Sports subscribers can also watch the game online by streaming it on Sky Go.
Viewers can also buy Sky Sports day pass from NowTV for £9.99, with a month pass at £33.99.
Manchester City vs Tottenham: The odds
Having won 15 straight matches in all competitions, it comes as no surprise to any that Manchester City are the heavy favourites in Saturday’s match-up against Tottenham.
Guardiola’s men are favoured at 3/10 to win, while Tottenham are at 17/2, with a draw at 9/2 (odds courtesy of Betfair).
With Sergio Aguero possibly in line to return, he comes in as the favourite to score first at 3/1, while Harry Kane is at 17/2.