- Manchester City have another chance to wrap up the 2017-18 Premier League season against Tottenham Hotspur this weekend
- Can the Citizens put their bad week behind them and get back to business?
- After a thrilling 4-4 Revierderby, the upcoming clash between Schalke 04 and Borussia Dortmund promises fireworks
We’ve got an interesting weekend of European football ahead of us. A deflated and demoralized Manchester City returns to the Premier League for a match against Tottenham. A win would clinch the title for the Citizens, but in order to grab the necessary three points, they’ll have to break free from their losing streak. Over in Germany, FC Schalke 04 and Borussia Dortmund clash for another Revierderby. The last time the two sides faced, we witnessed one of the most thrilling games in recent memory.
Tottenham Hotspur (+145) vs Manchester City (+170), Draw (+255)
Saturday, April 14th at Wembley Stadium
Sports fans are a fickle bunch, aren’t we?
Last week, we were comparing the current Manchester City (27-3-2, 84 points) to the great Premier League sides of yesteryear. Now, three losses later, Man City have been labeled a failure and Pep Guardiola a fraud. They head to Wembley Stadium this weekend to face an in-form Tottenham Hotspur (20-7-5, 67 points).
Throughout this entire season, Manchester City have been unstoppable. They steamrolled through the Premier League, establishing a 20-point lead over their domestic competitors, and were regarded by many as the favorites to win the Champions League. Their lead of over 20 points still stands, but their Champions League campaign came to an abrupt end after they lost both quarterfinal legs to Liverpool.
Nested between the two Champions League defeats is a humiliating 3-2 loss to city rivals Manchester United. The Citizens entered the second half with a comfortable 2-0 lead, and the Premier League leaders were set to comfortably end the title race. But then they completely capitulated. Paul Pogba netted two goals within two minutes, and Chris Smalling scored the winner shortly after.
Against Liverpool, they lost 3-0 at Anfield and 2-1 at the Emirates. The Reds benefited from some questionable refereeing, but they were undeniably the better side over both legs. In the short span of a week, we saw Man City crumble under the pressure not once, not twice, but three times.
Tottenham’s Champions League season ended early when they were outclassed by Juventus in the Round of 16, but domestically they’ve been spectacular. They’re currently on a 14-game unbeaten run in the Premier League, and have won their last six straight league fixtures.
Their run includes wins over Chelsea (3-1), Arsenal (1-0), and Manchester United (2-0). Even without Harry Kane, their leading goal scorer and star striker, they managed to pick apart a full-strength Chelsea. This is a Spurs side to be reckoned with.
Do we pick an in-form Spurs with a pretty good roster, or a star-studded Man City squad currently undergoing a slump? Last time these two clubs faced, City dismantled Spurs 4-1 at the Emirates. To write off this Man City team after a handful of losses is ridiculous. They remain one of the strongest sides in Europe and have had one of the most dominant seasons we’ve ever seen in the Premier League. At +170, the value pick is with Manchester City.
Pick: Manchester City (+170)
FC Schalke 04 (+160) vs Borussia Dortmund (+160), Draw (+240)
Sunday, April 15th at Arena AufSchalke
Bayern Munich may have already wrapped up the Bundesliga title, but the rest of the league remains quite competitive. The Revierderby, a bitter rivalry between Dortmund (14-9-6, 51 points) and Schalke (15-7-7, 52 points), is now essentially a battle for second place. Only one point separates the Ruhr region clubs, and the match this weekend could ultimately decide which club ends the season on top.
Schalke were on a six-game winning streak before losing to bottom-placed Hamburger SV last week, handing Hamburg their first win in 15 league fixtures. It was an embarrassing loss that allowed Hamburg to finally escape 20th place.
Speaking of embarrassing losses, Dortmund was recently annihilated 6-0 by Bayern Munich, with five goals arriving in the first half. They bounced back nicely with a 3-0 win over VfB Stuttgart last week, but the drubbing at Allianz Arena has to still haunt them.
The last Revierderby was one for the books. Dortmund established a four-goal lead in the opening 25 minutes and the derby appeared well and truly over by the end of the first half. But Schalke rallied and managed to net three goals by the 90th minute. Then, in the dying minutes of added time, Schalke defender Ronaldo Naldo scored a fourth goal to tie the game. It was a stunning comeback from Schalke and a dismal collapse from Dortmund.
The bookmakers have the upcoming Revierderby as an even race, and for good reason. Very little separates the two clubs. Both are capable of top-notch football, but both are also woeful on a bad day. When it’s this close, I have to pick the home side. FC Schalke 04 to win their first Revierderby since 2014!
Pick: FC Schalke 04 (+160)