Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur will go head-to-head on Monday evening in a clash at Wembley which provide the league leaders with one of their sternest tests of the season.
Pep Guardiola’s men are on course to emulate their monumental achievement of reaching 100-points last season, but the City boss is no fool and he won’t be counting his chickens at this stage in the season.
City go into the tantalising fixture with a strong headwind after picking up maximum points in all but one of their Premier League matches this season, although Tottenham have been quietly keeping pace with the champions without setting the world alight.
Although Mauricio Pochettino would prefer his side to be free-scoring and winning by comprehensive goal scoring margins, he will be pleased that his side are showcasing the trademark of potential champions by grinding out victories.
The backbone of both City’s and Tottenham’s defensive unit have provided the foundations for the respective successes of the two clubs so far this season, but which individual defender is the most impressive?
Well, ahead of the clash a handful of Sky Sports pundits delivered their verdict on who they would rather have in their starting eleven if they were given the choice between Toby Alderweireld and John Stones, and the response was overwhelmingly in the Belgium international’s favour.
Paul Merson, Charlie Nicholas, Matt Le Tissier and Phil Thompson all voted for Alderweireld, and the former was particularly lavish in his praise for the Tottenham enforcer.
‘I think Alderweireld is one of the best defenders in the world. I never see him get the run-around and he always looks solid.
‘Stones has still got a ricket in him. He does not need to do some of things he does – he could have eight solid games on the trot but before long he will give you a chance.
‘Alderweireld is the complete defender, plus, he has more experience which is key for a centre-back.’
It’s a verdict which the Citizens faithful are unlikely to agree with following a string of fine performances from the England international, but it’s difficult to argue with Merson’s assessment.
Stones still has something to prove at the top level, although it must be noted that he is on the brink of becoming one of the world’s best, whereas Alderweireld has consistently demonstrated his class for Tottenham in his three year stint in north London.
Ultimately, the pundit’s have made their decision based on age and experience – two qualities which are vital for central defenders – but Stones has the perfect opportunity to make them eat their words on Monday evening at the home of English football.
And after Alderweireld’s glaring blunder which gifted Hirving Lozano the opener in Tottenham’s 2-2 draw with PSV yesterday evening, the selection of pundits might already be starting to question their initial prognoses.
Man City and Tottenham fans – thoughts? Let us know below!