Manchester City, who are looking for their eighth Premier League victory in a row, will face Leicester City on Boxing Day, hoping to extend their winning streak even further.
While the champions are now favourites to retain their title after a stunning run since early November, their inconsequential opponents arrive at the Etihad Stadium after losing in the EFL Cup quarter-finals.
Given their top-flight rivals’ current struggles, City appear to be relatively unaffected by injury or illness, with only two players expected to miss Leicester’s visit.
Kyle Walker might return to the bench after missing the triumphs against Leeds and Newcastle last week, while Ferran Torres – who is still healing from a foot ailment – is still out, despite the Spain forward’s move to Barcelona being close to completion.
Despite Pep Guardiola’s preference for rotation, the hosts could remain mostly unchanged, with Riyad Mahrez partnering Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus in attack, where he scored his 50th Premier League goal last time out.
Meanwhile, Ayoze Perez, Ademola Lookman, Kelechi Iheanacho, and Jannik Vestergaard have all recently tested positive for COVID-19, albeit they were all back on the bench in midweek. At the Etihad Stadium, however, Harvey Barnes and Timothy Castagne are expected to miss out.
Due to the absences of Jonny Evans (hamstring) and Wesley Fofana (ankle), Brendan Rodgers may elect to play Wilfred Ndidi in the back four once more, especially if Vestergaard requires more time to heal and Caglar Soyuncu is ruled out.
The Foxes’ Turkish centre-back limped off early against Liverpool, raising fears that he may have aggravated a hamstring ailment from which he has just recently recovered. Leicester’s defense is set to be severely depleted at the worst conceivable time, considering City’s goal-scoring proficiency.
Manchester City possible starting lineup:
Ederson; Cancelo, Dias, Laporte, Zinchenko; Gundogan, Rodri, De Bruyne; Mahrez, Sterling, Jesus
Leicester City possible starting lineup:
Schmeichel; Albrighton, Vestergaard, Ndidi, Thomas; Dewsbury-Hall, Tielemans, Soumare; Maddison, Daka, Lookman