Manchester City will have the chance to put daylight between themselves and their title rivals when the Premier League leaders try to cap a memorable week by beating Middlesbrough at Eastlands on Saturday.
City lead on goal difference from Arsenal and Liverpool, with Chelsea just a point further back.
Arsenal are not in action until Sunday when they face Tottenham Hotspur in the North London derby, with Liverpool also at home to Watford that day.
Tuesday finally saw City get the better of Barcelona as they beat the Spanish giants 3-1 in the Champions League.
It was a particularly sweet victory for City manager Pep Guardiola, who made his name as both a player and coach at Barcelona
The match also saw City fans’ favourite Sergio Aguero lead the attack after he was controversially left out of the starting side for the 4-0 loss in Barcelona a fortnight ago – a move that sparked concerns regarding his Eastlands future under Guardiola.
But the City boss has insisted he wants Aguero to stay and the 28-year-old Argentina forward said: “I’m never angry. I respect every manager’s decision.
“He said it was a tactical thing and I obviously respect that.”
Middlesbrough are managed by Guardiola’s fellow Spaniard Aitor Karanka and he for one was not surprised by City’s midweek win.
“They have amazing players and they have all the alternatives so (for them) it was just another game,” said Karanka, whose Boro side beat Bournemouth 2-0 last weekend.
Chelsea, fresh from a 2-0 win over Southampton and without the distraction of European football, will bid to keep pace with City at home to Everton.
Since reverting to a back three, manager Antonio Conte has seen his side keep four clean sheets but the Italian has no time for title talk at this stage of the season.
“In this moment it’s not important to look at the table. If you ask me a prediction of our championship now, it’s very difficult to talk about,” he said.
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