Aiming to extend their lead in the Premier League in their penultimate match of 2021, reigning champions Manchester City welcome Leicester City to the Etihad Stadium on Boxing Day having won seven straight top-flight games.
Considering the illnesses and injuries afflicting other clubs during the festive season, Pep Guardiola will have the rare luxury of a nearly full squad to choose from on Sunday.
The City coach’s main injury concern relates to full-back Kyle Walker, who could miss out again this week, having been absent against Leeds and Newcastle.
In addition, Ferran Torres – out since October with a foot injury – remains sidelined, and the versatile forward is nearing a transfer to back to La Liga with Barcelona in any case.
Guardiola has been particularly vague about any confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Citizens’ camp, but Jack Grealish and Phil Foden may remain out in the cold after the pair were dropped at Newcastle due to ‘behaviour issues’ before the game.
With a fixture at Brentford to come in midweek, the manager may opt for some rotation up front, but top scorer Riyad Mahrez will hope to join Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus in an attacking trident once again.
Bernardo Silva started last week despite being replaced at half time against Leeds, so the champions’ midfield maestro – who had previously played every minute of every game since the beginning of November – may finally be rested.
If so, Ilkay Gundogan would come in to a side which has the chance to move six points clear at the top now that Liverpool’s clash with Leeds has been postponed.
Manchester City possible starting lineup: Ederson; Cancelo, Dias, Laporte, Zinchenko; Gundogan, Rodri, De Bruyne; Mahrez, Sterling, Jesus