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Other SportsLuton v Manchester City: Preview, expected line-ups, how to watch and prediction

Luton v Manchester City: Preview, expected line-ups, how to watch and prediction

The State of Play

Does this constitute a crisis? A winless Premier League run stretching to four games would be merely a blip for most clubs but for Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, it should be viewed as being potentially significant. City have looked a long way short of their best for much of the season, perhaps not surprising with key midfielder Kevin De Bruyne missing since the opening day and Ilkay Gundogan and Riyad Mahrez moving on over the summer.

They have had a tough run of fixtures recently – Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham and Aston Villa would test any team – but there’s no doubt City have looked uncharacteristically vulnerable.
Prior to the Villa game which they lost 1-0 on Wednesday night, Guardiola stated that he thought his side would still win the league for a record fourth successive time but, to do so, they need to return to winning ways and quickly.

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That Luton were so obviously devastated by their last-gasp defeat to Arsenal on Tuesday spoke volumes as to how far they have come. Manager Rob Edwards has built on last season’s play-off final win and continued to mould a team that is difficult to play against with their intense press and excellence at set-pieces.
Kenilworth Road will be at its most hostile for City’s visit and it will be a fascinating test of aggression versus artistry.

Team News

The good news for Guardiola is the returns of Rodri and Jack Grealish from suspension. Rodri, in particular, was a notable absence at Villa Park with City pushing John Stones into midfield – an experiment that didn’t really work.
Grealish is also likely to start at Kenilworth Road if Jeremy Doku cannot prove his fitness.
Stones will likely revert to a more customary central defensive role at the expense of either Josko Gvardiol or Manuel Akanji.

Albert Sambi Lokonga may return for Luton but Tom Lockyer, Cauley Woodrow and Marvelous Nakamba are unlikely to be fit. Edwards will likely choose from the same squad that performed so well in midweek.

Expected line-ups

Luton: Kaminski; Kabore, Mengi, Osho, Bell; Townsend, Mpanzu, Barkley, Doughty, Brown; Adebayo

Manchester City: Ederson; Walker, Stones, Dias, Akanji; Rodri, Silva; Foden, Alvarez, Grealish; Haaland

What they said

Guardiola on the how their recent winless run could be a good thing
“For everyone at the club, it’s a good thing that we are living, it is necessary.
“For a long time, we have looked at how good we are. Maybe we need this to say ‘guys, this is business, it’s terrible, we are not able to win one game.
“For myself first, maybe I need that challenge to prove I am a good manager to help the players overcome this challenge. And for the players it’s a good challenge, for them to say ‘my God, Aston Villa were much better than us’.
“And even the club, the whole organisation, we can be out of the Champions League next season. We need to work hard after what has happened over the last few years.

Edwards on his admiration for Guardiola
“Man City are amazing. I’ve got such admiration for Guardiola as a manager, wherever he’s been he has been a winner and they have built this football club over the years, it’s incredible to see the culture they have built with the players they have.
“To continuously evolve them and keep winning, including the treble last season, everyone will now be trying to knock them off their pedestal, so it’s a big challenge for them.
“They’ve been in tight games where they could have won all of them, we know how tight games are and that’s just the nature of the Premier League.”

When and how to watch

The match takes place at Kenilworth Road, with a 2pm kick-off. It is being screened live on Sky Sports Main Event, Sky Sports Premier League and Sky Ultra HD as part of Super Sunday.

Prediction

Luton proved against Arsenal they can give any team problems, particularly from set-pieces. And with the likes of Ross Barkley in midfield they can now add brains to their obvious brawn.
I’d still take City to win, and end their run of poor form, but it should be a real test of character for the European champions.

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.
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