Manchester City and Aston Villa both put their undefeated records on the line at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
While only goal difference is keeping Roberto Mancini’s men off the summit, Villa are some seven points further adrift, but will still be more than happy with their start under new boss Alex McLeish as they emerge as dark horses for a title tilt which they last won 30 years ago in 1981.
The game is the first time City have returned to home turf since the Carlos Tevez saga exploded in Munich late last month. The City boss thirty years ago was big John Bond and he most certainly wouldn’t have put up with the argentines prima donna antics.
Tevez has just returned from his club suspension, but disciplinary action is awaiting the Argentine after he allegedly refused to take to the field in Germany.
City did not let the situation get to them last time out at Blackburn as they strolled to victory at Ewood Park and they will be looking for more of the same.
Villa, though, look anything but a walkover and have suffered just one defeat in their last 15 Premier League games.
Villa have won once at the Etihad before, when they tasted victory in 2007.
Tevez is not in the squad, but neither is Sergio Aguero, who has an abductor strain and he is unlikely to be risked, as he is more likely to be saved for the midweek UEFA Champions League clash with Villarreal.
Mario Balotelli is in contention to start up front again after he shrugged off a back problem which meant he could not play for Italy.
Villa look likely to be unchanged from the side which defeated Wigan last time out with in-form Gabby Agbonlahor included after he was given the all-clear by a back specialist during the international break.
Young striker Nathan Delfouneso is out of the reckoning after he damaged a hamstring on duty with England Under-21 side.
Possible starting XIs:
Man City: Hart, Richards, K Toure, Kompany, Clichy, Barry, Y Toure, Nasri, Silva, Balotelli, Dzeko.
Aston Villa Given, Collins, Warnock, Dunne, Hutton, Petrov, Bannan, Delph, Ireland, Bent, Agbonlahor.