Top-of-the-table Manchester City host Leeds United at the Etihad Stadium in the Premier League on Tuesday night.
City have taken advantage of a favourable run of fixtures since the last international break, with victories over Everton, West Ham, Aston Villa, Watford and most recently Wolves.
A string of 6 wins on the spin in the top flight has elevated Pep Guardiola’s side to the summit of the standings in their bid to retain their Premier League crown, leapfrogging challengers Chelsea and Liverpool in the process.
The difference between the top three in the table is just two points as things stand, so there is no room for error in what is shaping up to be a gripping title race.
Plenty of eyes will already be drawn towards City’s clash with Chelsea on the 15th January, but with games against Leeds, Newcastle, Leicester, Brentford and Arsenal to come before then, Guardiola’s side have a decent chance of continuing their current hot streak.
Their latest test is against a Leeds side who made life difficult for one of City’s Premier League competitors last time out – Chelsea requiring a 94th minute Jorginho penalty to secure three points against the Whites at the weekend.
Marcelo Bielsa has been rocked by numerous injuries in his ranks right throughout the season so far and that has no doubt been a factor in Leeds’ current top flight placing of 15th, 5 points from safety.
Those injury woes will continue in to this game against the champions, with the influential trio of Kalvin Phillips, Patrick Bamford and Rodrigo all missing for the trip to the Etihad.
Liam Cooper and Pascal Struijk are also out, so too is Robin Koch with a bout of illness which has kept him sidelined for 10 days.
Manchester City’s selection issues are far fewer, with only Ferran Torres a long-term absentee with a fractured foot.
Ilkay Gundogan has been struggling recently with a back complaint, but it’s understood the German is in line to play against Leeds on Tuesday.
Joao Cancelo won’t play, however – he is suspended after picking up a 5th yellow card before the designated cut-off date of matchday 19 of the Premier League season.
Raheem Sterling scored his 100th Premier League goal from the penalty spot last time out against Wolves and is in line to start again against Leeds, whilst Kyle Walker is the obvious candidate to replace Cancelo at right back.
Manchester City v Leeds kicks off at 8pm on Tuesday 14th December