Manchester City v Tottenham Saturday 12:30, Sky Sports Premier League Match Odds: Man City1.30, Tottenham 12.00, The Draw 6.80
Just three days after an absolutely ludicrous Champions League second leg which featured seven goals and a last-minute eighth disallowed, Tottenham Hotspur are back at the Etihad for Saturday lunchtime kick-off.
Fatigue will play a big role
After such an intense and draining encounter, it's difficult to imagine that either side will be particularly fresh for this game, and you have to think the minimal turnaround time benefits Manchester City, the side with far more capacity to rotate. Pep Guardiola has been accused of overthinking the Champions League tie and meddling too much with his starting XI, but if he does the same thing again this time around, it will be about fitness rather than tactics.
It seems likely that John Stones will return in defence, with Danilo or Fabian Delph likely to start on the left with Benjamin Mendy probably not being risked for a second game. Kyle Walker and Aymeric Laporte are more likely to retain their places, with Ederson continuing in goal.
De Bruyne likely to continue
Fernandinho was only used in the second half on Wednesday night and could return in place of Ilkay Gundogan, or alternatively it could be David Silva - perhaps feeling the effects of a long season - dropping out, and Gundogan moving forward, or Bernardo Silva coming inside from the flank to play his preferred central midfield role. Kevin De Bruyne, outstanding in the second half, will surely continue.
In the final third, it would be a huge surprise if Leroy Sane doesn't return on the left flank, with Raheem Sterling - nearly the hero in midweek - probably reverting to the right. Gabriel Jesus could replace Sergio Aguero, who doesn't look right after his recent injury problem, and could do with a rest.
Pochettino to switch system?
Tottenham have serious injury problems. Serge Aurier, Harry Winks and Harry Kanewere already out of contention, and there is now a serious doubt about Moussa Sissoko, who limped off in the first half. Eric Dier and Erik Lamela seem unlikely to be available either.
But Mauricio Pochettino must surely rotate. The availability of both Davinson Sanchez and Juan Foyth means Pochettino could switch to a three-man defence, simply because he needs to play eleven fit players in a proper system, rather than because the move makes sense tactically.
In midfield, Spurs are struggling for numbers if Sissoko is out. It would be a surprise if Victor Wanyama is selected for another game so quickly, so Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli may have to play deeper roles, perhaps supported by youngster Oliver Skipp.
Son and Lucas to lead the attack?
Going forward, the introduction of Fernando Llorente eventually proved crucial in Spurs' midweek triumph, but the Spaniard slowed Spurs' play and denied them counter-attacking chances. He's another who probably won't be able to manage 90 minutes, so it makes more sense to use Lucas Moura and Son Heung-min as a purely counter-attacking front two, making runs into the channels.
It's difficult to escape the feeling that this will be a slow-burning game. The tremendous ferocity with which the game in midweek started surely won't be possible with both sides somewhere between 'exhausted' and 'rotated'.
It also feels inevitable that Manchester City will benefit from the unusual nature of the fixture. Ultimately, Guardiola is able to bring in fresh attackers like Sane and Jesus, whereas Pochettino is almost forced into considering using Llorente from the start here.
This game will probably be about freshness rather than tactics - and, perhaps, the fact that City want revenge and know dropping points here could be fatal for their title hopes, while for Spurs the game is less decisive. I'll back Man City / Man City at1.90 in the Half-Time / Full-Time market.
The Betfair Trader's view - Al Thompson
Wednesday night was certainly something special, I am not sure we will see four goals in the first 11 minutes and we certainly won’t see VAR playing any part. But the stakes are just as high as midweek, as Spurs look to spoil Manchester City’s Premier League dreams just as they extinguished their Champions League ones.
The positive of going out of the Champions League (if there is one) is that City can give maximum attention now to winning the Premier League, the FA Cup won’t be a distraction for these players and can be dealt with after the title race is run.
This is also a critical game for Tottenham as they currently occupy third place but are just three points clear of Manchester United in sixth with Arsenal and Chelsea in between. However, I just can’t see how Spurs will be able to get anything this time around, their squad is depleted and Wednesday’s efforts must have taken plenty out of them.
City have been making rapid starts to games all season, 18 of their goals have come in the opening 15 minutes of their games (the next best in this timeframe is Arsenal with 11). I can see them wanting to get out the traps early again in this, and I know it’s going to be odds-on but for my main bet, I will be backing Man City / Man City in the Half Time / Full Time market at anything around1.90.
I want to have a flutter on Raheem Stirling scoring the first goal. He was a whisker away from putting City through on Wednesday and bagging another hat-trick in the process. You should be able to get at least 5.50 before kickoff and hopefully we won’t need to wait too long to get paid.
Michael and Alan: Back Man City / Man City at 1.90 in the Half-Time / Full-Time market. next :