Manchester City find themselves in an unusual position at the moment.
Not only are last season's treble-winners fourth in the table, a rare predicament for Pep Guardiola's side, but they have now gone four Premier League matches without a victory.
Draws with Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur were followed by a 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa in midweek, with Unai Emery's men simply outclassing the reigning champions. The last time that Man City went four games without a win was back in 2017.
While the Cityzens always tend to turn it on during the second half of the campaign, often making slow Premier League starts, recent performances have been out of character, something which will undoubtedly concern Guardiola.
Watch out for set pieces
While it would be easy to assume that Man City will steamroll Luton on Sunday, the Hatters have impressed against Tottenham, Liverpool and Arsenal at Kenilworth Road this season.
Declan Rice's last-minute header for the Gunners on Tuesday robbed Luton of a hard-earned point, but Rob Edwards' side still managed to score three goals in a thrilling encounter.
Man City will have to be wary of the attacking threat that Luton do pose, especially from set pieces. The newly promoted side have often utilised their superior physical and aerial advantage this term, scoring six goals from set plays.
Only three teams - including City - have scored more from dead balls and Luton will be keen to flood the box on Sunday as they attempt to pull off a mighty shock.
City do have plenty of height themselves, especially when they use the likes of Josko Gvardiol or Nathan Ake at left-back. In fact, they have conceded just two goals from set pieces, with only Fulham having let in fewer this season.
However, they must be vigilant. If Luton can get themselves in front at Kenilworth Road, they will simply sink deeper and deeper, making life much more complicated for Guardiola's side.
Get Erling Halaand more involved
The Norwegian colossus has been in surprisingly wasteful form of late, spurning some big chances against Spurs and rarely testing Emiliano Martinez in City's trip to Villa Park. However, the former Borussia Dortmund man's droughts, if you can call them that, rarely last for very long.
Man City need to find a way to get Haaland more involved in proceedings, the striker having just 30 touches at home to Spurs and only 17 against Villa. If City can find a way to move play through him in the final third, they will undoubtedly find more joy.
Even if Guardiola can't fiddle with his system in a way that offers Haaland more opportunities on the ball, he can overload the pitch with creative players capable of supplying him. By using Jeremy Doku's pace, Phil Foden's quick feet and Bernardo Silva's ingenuity, City should be able to create plenty of chances for their number nine despite Luton's tight man-marking and low block.
Don't overreact to recent results
The underlying numbers suggest that Man City remain one of the best teams around and they could have quite feasibly won several of their recent matches. They might have toppled Spurs, Liverpool and Chelsea in Games of fine margins and the narrative surrounding the Cityzens would be vastly different if they had managed to edge proceedings in recent weeks.
Man City still have the joint most goals in the division, while they also boast one of the sternest defences. In terms of expected points this season, Man City should be top with a total of 31.45, ahead of Liverpool, Arsenal and Aston Villa (per UnderStat).
It's easy to be reactionary after a few disappointing results, but Man City will be just fine. They don't need to make too many amendments moving forward, with Guardiola able to field two sides capable of dismantling Luton this Sunday.
All in all, as we have come to expect pre-Christmas, this is just a blip for the champions.
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