Manchester City are badly in need of three points when they take on Tottenham Hotspur at the Etihad on Sunday.
Manuel Pellegrini’s were well beaten last weekend by Leicester City and find themselves fourth in the table, six points adrift of top spot.
Defeat to Tottenham would put their title chances in serious doubt.
Spurs arrive in second, with a strong belief that they could finally challenge for the Premier League title. The impressive Mauricio Pochettino has largely eradicated their inconsistencies, and they will provide a huge threat to City, who have looked vulnerable defensively for much of the season.
"Like I said last week, it's not a decisive game but a very important game—afterwards we play for another 36 points," Pellegrini told reporters on Friday.
"For our team, it's important to try to return to the top of the table. Two or three teams are in front of us in this moment so we must try to reclaim the points."
City have a superb home record against Tottenham, winning their last five against the North London side, and have scored 10 in the last two of those games—a 6-0 win in Pellegrini's debut campaign and a 4-1 victory last season.
However, in the reverse fixture earlier this season, Tottenham won comfortably, with their pressing game and quick passing too much for City to handle.
Date: Sunday, 14 February
Kick-off: 4 p.m. GMT/11 a.m. ET
TV Listings: Sky Sports 1/HD (UK) & NBCSN (US)
Live Stream: Sky Go (UK) & NBC Sports Live Extra (US)
MCFC) February 12, 2016
Manchester City 1-4 Leicester City
Sunderland 0-1 Manchester City
Aston Villa 0-4 Manchester City (FA Cup)
Manchester City 3-1 Everton (League Cup)
West Ham United 2-2 Manchester City
Tottenham 1-0 Watford
Norwich City 0-3 Tottenham
Colchester 1-4 Tottenham (FA Cup)
Crystal Palace 1-3 Tottenham
Leicester 0-2 Tottenham (FA Cup)
City welcome back Vincent Kompany and David Silva—two hugely important players who have suffered with injuries throughout the season. However, Fabian Delph is out for up to seven weeks, and he joins Kevin De Bruyne, Bacary Sagna, Samir Nasri, Jesus Navas, Wilfried Bony and Eliaquim Mangala.
Manchester City (from): Caballero, Hart, Wright, Clichy, Demichelis, Kolarov, Kompany, Otamendi, Zabaleta, Fernandinho, Fernando, Silva, Toure, A Garcia, M Garcia, Aguero, Iheanacho, Sterling, Celina.
Predicted XI (4-3-3): Hart; Zabaleta, Otamendi, Demichelis, Clichy; Fernando, Fernandinho, Toure; Sterling, Silva, Aguero
MCFC) February 12, 2016
Pochettino is without Jan Vertonghen and Clinton Njie but has a largely fit squad available to him.
Spurs (from): Lloris, McGee, Vorm, Alderweireld, Davies, Dier, Rose, Trippier, Walker, Wimmer, Alli, Bentaleb, Carroll, Chadli, Dembele, Eriksen, Lamela, Mason, Onomah, Son, Winks, Kane.
Predicted XI (4-2-3-1): Lloris; Walker, Alderweireld, Wimmer, Rose; Dier, Dembele; Eriksen, Alli, Lamela; Kane
Players To Watch
Manchester City: Raheem Sterling
With City suffering a number of injuries in attacking areas, the importance of Raheem Sterling has increased.
The 21-year-old forward has been excellent this season, with his pace and ability to run with the ball bringing added dynamism to City's attack.
He shown some inconsistency, which is expected from a youngster, but in terms of raw attributes, Sterling has everything he needs to go and become a top-class performer.
When he hits top form, there are few better young attacking players in the Premier League.
Tottenham: Harry Kane
Harry Kane's breakthrough season was, in the opinion of some, a one-off.
He scored 31 goals in 51 games last season and became an England regular. It was a sensational campaign that saw his stock rise rapidly.
He's continued it this season, scoring 18 in 33. But it isn't just goals he specialises in. Kane has a varied style, capable of influencing the game both inside and outside the area.
He has a wonderful touch, great vision and intelligence, and he can create for others.
He's the real deal, and England are fortunate to have him.
Sergio Aguero vs. Toby Alderweireld
Aguero always bears significant goalscoring responsibility, but even more so with City's injuries restricting their attacking options.
He was far and away their best player in January. He's scoring goals again and playing superbly.
Spurs are his favourite side to play against. He's scored 10 in eight games and always appears to enjoy himself.
It'll be down to Alderweireld to stop him on Sunday. He's been superb this season, and he's more mobile than many of the previous Tottenham defenders who have struggled so much against Aguero.
It'll be a fascinating battle.
Odds (via Odds Shark)
Manchester City: -147
MCFC) February 13, 2016
Rob Pollard is Bleacher Report's lead Manchester City correspondent and will be following the club from a Manchester base throughout the 2015/16 season. All quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Follow him on Twitter @RobPollard_.
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