Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur will look to wash off their respective derby woes with a rebound win when they take on each other at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday evening.
The Citizens lost a 1-0 lead to lose 2-1 at Old Trafford, while Tottenham could not make their home advantage count against a high-flying Arsenal side and fell to a 2-0 loss.
Rarely will you see Manchester City losing back-to-back matches, but against Spurs, City will look to avoid a third successive defeat. After an EFL quarterfinal loss to Southampton, the Manchester derby loss against Man United has now pushed them eight points away from the top spot.
After a quiet first half, Pep Guardiola seemingly made a match-winning change in the second half.
Jack Grealish came on for Phil Foden and got his name on the scoresheet within minutes. But the hosts bounced back with goals from Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford to seal a memorable win in front of a raging Old Trafford crowd.
Man City could take the pitch sitting third on the table if Manchester United win against Crystal Palace on Wednesday.
Having dropped points against Brentford and Everton in their last two home games, Man City will look to arrest the slump with a convincing win against the Lilywhites.
Guardiola has confirmed that Rúben Dias is nearing a return, but it’s unlikely that the Portuguese centre-back will be ready for the Tottenham clash.
John Stones is struggling with a fitness issue, so Man City are likely to be without their first-choice centre-back pairing once again. İlkay Gündoğan and Jack Grealish might see their names in the starting lineup, as Guardiola is likely to shuffle the deck to cope with fixture congestion.
A hapless Hugo Lloris will have a hard time forgetting the howler he committed that gave away Arsenal’s first goal in Sunday’s North London derby.
He could not keep out a Bukayo Saka strike that was headed straight towards and fumbled it into the net.
Tottenham could not get back to the game after that point, and a few minutes before the half-time whistle, Martin Ødegaard gave Lloris a flashback of the Euro 2016 final as he beat the French custodian from a distance with a lower left corner strike.
Tottenham’s bid for a Champions Leauge position seems to be languishing at the moment as they find themselves five points adrift of the fourth place, despite playing a match more than fourth-placed Man United.
Antonio Conte’s side can ill afford another defeat on Wednesday evening.
Spurs can draw inspiration from their excellent recent record against Man City.
They won four of their last five meetings with the reigning Premier League champions. But the North London outfit has struggled against teams that sit above them in the standings this season. So, it’s difficult to anticipate a Tottenham win at the Etihad.
Conte might get back Rodrigo Bentancur, who had been nursing a groin issue.
Lucas Moura will be out with a tendon injury once again as the Brazil is set to see out the final months of his Tottenham contract and leave the club as a free agent on summer.
Teams with superior midfields did not have any issue cutting through the Tottenham midline like a knife through butter. Manchester City are likely to take advantage of Tottenham’s lack of midfield resilience and pick up three vital points.
We envision a 2-0 win for Man City.
Kick-Off: January 20, 1:30 AM IST
Venue: Etihad Stadium