Two weeks after suffering its first loss at Etihad Stadium to table leaders Manchester United, Manchester City will look to cut United's six-point lead in half when it faces Reading on Saturday morning.
City rebounded with a resounding 3-1 win against Newcastle United last weekend, a game that saw Blues midfielder Yaya Touré dictate the outcome, controlling the middle of the pitch and chipping in a goal of his own.
Reading, meanwhile, is fighting for its Premier League livelihood.
Last in the table with nine points, the Royals have lost six consecutive matches and sit six points away from safety.
On paper, this one looks like a massive mismatch, but that's why they don't play the matches out on paper—anything can happen in Premier League action.
Let's take a look at everything you need to know heading into Saturday's match.
Where: Etihad Stadium
When: Saturday, December 22, at 10 a.m. ET
Watch: Fox Soccer
Live Stream: Fox Soccer2Go
Top Storyline: Can Reading Contain Manchester City's Offensive Attack?
How will this one end?
Not only do the Royals sit at the bottom of the table, but their minus-15 goal differential is tied with QPR for the worst in the Premier League and a major reason why the club finds itself in relegation.
At the other end of the spectrum sits Manchester City, second in the Premier League with 33 goals scored and a plus-18 goal differential.
Four Blues: Carlos Tevez (seven goals), Edin Dzeko (six), Sergio Agüero (six) and the aforementioned Touré (four) have combined for 23 goals on the season—two more than the entire Reading squad.
No matter what changes the Royals make in personnel or strategy, keeping the Blues from scoring will be a tall task.
Manchester City Player to Watch: Yaya Touré
Touré has been a beast in the middle of the pitch for the Blues and we have yet to see an opponent figure out a way to completely neutralize the 29-year-old from impacting the outcome of the match in 2012.
Named the CAF African Player of the Year in 2012 (via FIFA.com's official Twitter account), if the Ivory Coast native is allowed to roam freely and dictate the flow of the game, Reading will be in for a very long afternoon.
How good has he been in 2012 for the Blues?
For that, we turn to the Twitter account of BBC Sporf, which spends its time spoofing the big sports stories of the day:
BREAKING: The British Army are set to bid £40 million for Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure, due to a shortage of available tanks.— BBC Sporf (@BBCSporf) December 15, 2012
With only a handful of Premier League matches left until he leaves for the African Cup of Nations—which he is expected to do following the Blues' FA Cup third-round match against Watford on January 5 according to Yahoo! Sports—Touré will be determined to continue asserting his dominance for City.
Reading Player to Watch: Adam Le Fondre
The 26-year-old forward has found the back of the net four times in his last seven Premier League games and his five goals on the season lead the Royals.
With Reading struggling to score, Le Fondre has been its offense for much of the past month, something that the Blues are undoubtedly well aware of.
Should Le Fondre struggle to get scoring chances—and continually fail to capitalize on those he receives—the Royals have virtually no chance of picking up much-needed points in this one.
What They're Saying
Reading forward Noel Hunt says that the Royals will not lay down and play possum in the face of superior competition (h/t Yahoo! Sports):
We know what we've got to do, we know we're right in the middle of it. But we're willing to fight. We can't give up, that's for sure.
We've got to go there with a big fight in us. We've got to got there with pride and no fear whatsoever. I've been at this club for a long time now and I'm a proud man. I'm proud of this club and for me, there's nothing left to do but fight.
That's an admirable attitude to have for sure, and nobody expected Hunt (or anyone else on the Royals squad) to come out and say something along the lines of "We don't have a chance of picking up any points in this one."
Unfortunately for Hunt and the Royals, it's going to take more than grit and determination to pick up any points against the Blues in this one.