Manchester City welcome Fulham to the Etihad Stadium in the teams’ first game after the international break.
Before the short hiatus, the Champions looked a different side to that which strolled to Premier League glory last season, only just scraping passed a dogged Newcastle United side with a 2-1 win courtesy of a wonder strike from full-back Kyle Walker.
And having failed to beat newly-promoted Wolves in the previous match, there are signs that all is not as it seems in the City camp.
But having dismantled Huddersfield Town 6-1 in their previous home game, City are in formidable form on home turf.
After beating Burnley 4-2 at Craven Cottage in August, Fulham picked up a point in their 2-2 draw at Brighton, having led 2-0 deep into the second half.
This highlights that, although they can play some sumptuous football at times, their leaky defence is always liable to concede. If they try to outplay Manchester City and don’t focus on improving their defensive shape they really could be in for a hiding on Saturday.
Having scored the opening goal against Newcastle, Raheem Sterling was unavailable for both England’s 2-1 defeat to Spain and the 1-0 victory over Switzerland and it is unclear as to whether or not the winger will be at Pep Guardiola’s disposal for the visit of Fulham.
The same can be said for Germany forward Leroy Sané who, after being left out of Guardiola’s squad for the win over Newcastle, left Joachim Löw’s Germany camp to be present for the birth of his daughter. With dwindling attacking options, beating Fulham may be harder than first imagined.
Judging by their brilliant attacking style, Slaviša Jokanović is expected to field the same starting XI that played so well at Brighton before the international break.
And having saved a penalty in the game, Marcus Bettinelli was called up into the England squad last week, with manager Gareth Southgate openly stating how impressive the goalkeeper’s shot-stopping is.
With a number of other players enjoying success with their respective countries, mood in the West London camp will be high and they travel to Manchester with a full arsenal to choose from. Especially with striker Aleksandar Mitrović in fine form after scoring for Serbia in a 2-2 UEFA Nations League draw with Romania just a week after netting at the Amex.
Manchester City (4-3-3): Ederson; Walker, Stones, Laporte, Mendy; Fernandinho, Mahrez, D. Silva; B.Silva, Jesus, Agüero
Substitutes: Muric, Kompany, Otamendi, Gündogan, Delph, Sterling, Foden
Fulham (4-3-3): Bettinelli; Fosu-Mensah, Odoi, Mawson, Le Marchand; Anguissa, McDonald, Seri; Vietto, Mitrovic, Schürrle
Substitutes: Fabri, Bryan, Chambers, Christie, Johansen, Sessegnon, Kamara
PREDICTED RESULT: 3-1