Leicester City vs Manchester City: Match preview and predicted line-ups
Leicester City host Manchester City on Saturday evening at the King Power Stadium with the reigning Premier League champions in significant danger of being sucked into a relegation battle at the bottom of the table.
Whilst Leicester have been sensational in the Champions League so far this campaign The Foxes have failed to replicate their European form in domestic competitions or reach the heights of their title-winning season. They have picked up just thirteen points in the Premier League and sit just two points clear of the relegation zone, but more concerning for Claudio Ranieri would have been the lack lustre performance his players produced in the defeat against Sunderland last weekend. The Italian maestro needs to find a winning formula, sooner rather than later.
Pep Guardiola’s side secured qualification for the Champions League knock out stages with a low-key 1-1 draw with Celtic in mid-week. Manchester City have stumbled somewhat in recent weeks in the Premier League and they will be without their leading goal scorer Sergio Aguero following his sending off in the defeat to Chelsea last weekend. However, Guardiola did field a team of fringe players and youngsters on Tuesday evening so you would imagine that there will be plenty of fresh legs available when Manchester City travel to the East Midlands.
Leicester City continue to slip and slide down the Premier League table and, despite a thoroughly impressive debut Champions League campaign, are in genuine danger of being pulled into a relegation battle. The Foxes have won just one of their last eight Premier League fixtures and have picked up just two points from their last five matches. Sunderland, West Brom and Watford have all beaten the reigning English champions in the last month and Claudio Ranieri will definitely be looking for some home respite at the King Power Stadium. Tellingly, the Leicester defence that was so formidable last year has conceded 13 goals in their last seven league contests.
After making a storming start to the new season Manchester City have been blowing hot-and-cold somewhat in recent weeks. Pep Guardiola’s side have won just four of their last ten fixtures in all competitions and have adopted a knack of drawing games 1-1. However, City still retain a favourable position in the Premier League, trailing leaders Chelsea by four points, and are easily capable of constructing a winning streak that will see them climb to the summit. Interestingly, they have won all three of their recent away fixtures in the league.
Claudio Ranieri may have to field a Leicester City side without iconic midfielder Danny Drinkwater this weekend. The one-time England international picked up a knock in The Foxes’ mid-week defeat in Portugal and it is unlikely that he will be available for selection when Saturday arrives. Goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel is closing in on a return after suffering a broken hand in early-November although it is expected that the star shot-stopper will not be involved for another week or two. Ranieri is expected to name a largely unchanged side to the team that lost 2-1 to Sunderland last weekend.
Manchester City will be without leading goal scorer Sergio Aguero and midfielder Fernandinho after they were both sent off in the 3-1 defeat to Chelsea last weekend. The Argentinian striker received his marching orders after an ugly challenge on David Luiz in the closing moments which led to a mass scuffle at the Etihad Stadium in which his Brazilian colleague also saw red after clashing with Cesc Fabregas. This leaves a rather substantial hole in City’s front line although Kelechi Iheanacho’s mid-week goal against Celtic will have provided Pep Guardiola with a timely reminder that the young forward may be ready to step into the breach. Vincent Kompany remains side-lined due to injury but The Citizen’s will be boosted by the return of Raheem Sterling who is expected to play some part in Saturday’s contest after recovering from a knee injury picked up in late-November.
Leicester City Starting XI
Manchester City Starting XI
Leicester City are struggling in domestic competitions at the moment and are in desperate need of a positive result to halt their slide down the Premier League table. However, Claudio Ranieri’s side are at their best when they are able to play on the counter and that is certainly how the game will play out considering Manchester City’s possession-based style. Pep Guardiola’s team will have all of the possession but will be caught out on the break. A tight draw.
Predicted Score: Leicester City 1, Manchester City 1
Featured Image: All Rights Reserved Alex Hannam (Alex Hannam)
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