Darren Lewis: Spurs could be the first club to take points off City this season
The Mirror sports writer says that Tottenham are consistent enough to beat Pep Guardiola's high-flyers...
Mauricio Pochettino was a happy man in the Arena CSKA press room in Moscow on Tuesday night.
And not just with the three points that breathed new life into Tottenham’s Champions League bid.
He was most delighted with the fact that a plan had come together.
In beating the Russian champions without five key men - and with a clean sheet, if you don’t mind - Spurs had shown that they now have depth.
They have a squad of players capable of coping with the loss of key components. They have the pool of talent that can deal with balancing a top flight and European challenge.
No Harry Kane? Step forward Son Heung Min. No Eric Dier? Slip Victor Wanyama in there. No Danny Rose? Ben Davies will do a job.
Remember too they were without their £30million summer signing, Moussa Sissoko, and arguably their most influential midfielder, Mousa Dembele.
It is, of course, early days, but there is room for optimism at White Hart Lane.
Just like last season - when they progressed under the radar with the focus on the Manchester clubs, Arsenal and Chelsea - Spurs are at it again.
They will never be as spectacular as City are showing themselves to be under Pep Guardiola. Sergio Aguero is one of the best strikers in the world, let alone the Premier League.
Rampant Raheem Sterling has rediscovered his stride having been reinvigorated by the arrival of Manuel Pellegrini’s successor.
Young John Stones has slipped seamlessly into the high-pressure environment of coping with a challenge for top honours.
And Ilkay Gundogan looks as though he has played for City all his life.
Guardiola’s team play with the same fearlessness away from home as they do in front of their own fans at the Etihad.
But Tottenham's consistency and a discipline will again stand them in good stead.
They know that it doesn’t have to be pretty.
But they also know how to see it out. How to get the job done. How to put the emphasis on the points first and the performance second.
Sunday’s contest will see the irresistible force meet the immovable object.
Pochettino’s Tottenham enjoyed the joint-best defensive record in the Premier League last season. They are at it again this time around.
City are already the top flight’s leading goal-scorers, having racked up 18 goals in their six games so far.
But it will be a surprise if they dominate the powerful Spurs midfield in quite the same way that they have outmanoeuvred so many others.
Pochettino also has weaponry of his own with in-form Son Heung-Min, Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen all capable of finding a way past the City backline.
A compelling contest is on the cards in north London.
But with many of their big guns back this weekend, Spurs could become the first club to take points off the current Premier League leaders.