Premier League preview: Manchester City v Reading
Champions Manchester City will be heavy favourites when they host struggling Reading in the English Premier League on Saturday.
After a last-minute 3-2 defeat to arch-rivals Manchester United, the defending champions responded in style last weekend, accounting for Newcastle 3-1 at St James' Park.
Roberto Mancini's men were back to their free-flowing best, with Ivory Coast midfielder Yaya Toure pulling the strings in a sublime performance which also yielded a goal.
The dominant victory ended a two-game winless run for City and showed just why they were crowned champions last season.
And while their unbeaten record at Etihad Stadium came to an end against United, City are well poised to run out winners in front of their home crowd.
Saturday's opponents, Reading, are in damage control as they continue to slip further adrift at the foot of the table.
A crushing 5-2 defeat at the hands of Arsenal on Monday has left the Brian McDermott's men with just nine points from 17 games and five points off safety after six successive losses.
That losing streak has also seen a total of 16 goals conceded and unless they improve defensively, a swift return to the Championship appears likely.
But despite Reading's dreadful run of results, McDermott is confident his team has enough quality to avoid the drop.
"We want to make sure we are in this league next season," he said.
"That's the most important thing and we need our fans to stay with us.
"There's no point in blaming or pointing fingers. You have to graft together as a group.
"My belief is that things will change. I'm not enjoying the results but I'm enjoying the challenge."
Reading emerged 2-0 home victors from their previous Premier League meeting with City in March 2008, while they also claimed a 2-0 win at the City of Manchester Stadium a season earlier.
There are some positives for Reading ahead of Saturday's match - City captain Vincent Kompany is in doubt with a hamstring injury, while Aleksandar Kolarov and Samir Nasri could also miss out.
Defender Micah Richards (knee) and midfielders Jack Rodwell and James Milner (both hamstring) remain sidelined
Reading are without goalkeeper Alex McCarthy, but defender Sean Morrison, midfielder Jem Karacan and veteran striker Jason Roberts could be available.