Pablo Zabaleta says Tottenham is the biggest and most important game of the season so far.
The Argentine defender, who is well on his way to reaching the 150 appearances-mark for the Blues, is in no doubt the North Londoners represent a serious test of City’s 100% Premier League home record this season.
“I think Tottenham are one of the best teams in the Premier League at the moment, they're doing very well this season,” he said.
“When they play with a strong side they look like a really solid team. It's a crucial game for both sides but one we need to try and get three points from to stay at the top of the table.
“The lads are all in great spirit and we know that we will have to be at our very best against Spurs and can’t give anything silly away. It will be fast, competitive but, obviously our way is to try and play attractive football and move the ball around quickly, so we won’t change our style.”
After remaining unbeaten at home for a year, City have lost back-to-back defeats against Manchester United and Liverpool in cup competitions recently – Zabaleta says a third home loss on the bounce is unthinkable.
“We can’t let that happen,” he said.
When we play at home we feel more comfortable and with our fans behind us, it makes the team stronger and that's maybe why we get more points at home
“I think Spurs have a team capable of winning the title. They have a strong side and they have the same chance as the three or four teams fighting for the title have.
“The media have been talking about it being only between United and City, but that’s not the case and Tottenham are right in there and are serious contenders.”
Whether Zabaleta starts or is on the bench, he is well aware of the threat Spurs’ wingers pose, but will be ready to go head-to-head with whoever he is asked to mark.
“Everybody knows that Gareth Bale is one of the best left wingers – not just in in England, but in the world,” he said.
“He's been doing well for many seasons at Tottenham and many top teams have been looking at him but they will keep him and try to kick on.
“One of the keys to beating them is to try and stop their wingers and Aaron Lennon is a very dangerous player, too. They have very quick, fast players and whoever plays at full-back on Sunday will have to stop them.
“Having said that, I think they're going to miss Emmanuel Adebayor because he has been part of the reason they have done so well. We will be focused and ready – it should be a fantastic game.”