English Premier League Preview: Leicester City v Manchester City – King Power Stadium – 10 December 2016
Leicester City v Manchester City Preview
Leicester will be back from their UEFA Champions commitments against Porto to host Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City at the King Power stadium on Saturday for a Premier League clash. Claudio Raineri’s men are currently on the 15th spot and just three points away from relegation, making them the worst-performing reigning champions ever in the Premier League. Last weekend they had to face the ignominy of losing 1-2 to minions Sunderland, who are on a run of three wins from four outings.
Last season’s hero, Jamie Vardy, is on a sixteen match Premier League goal-drought and there have been murmurs about replacing him. But there’s not much talent on the benches for a replacement. The defensive foursome of Simpson, Morgan, Huth and Fuchs are on a nightmare run and even a team like Sunderland managed 22 shots on goal, the highest they have managed against any team this season.
While the Foxes have been disastrous on the road having lost five of their last six away games, their record at home is comparatively better. Their only loss at King Power was to West Bromwich Albion in early November.
Manchester City will be the second top-drawer opposition Leicester will taking on at home this season having faced off Arsenal in a goal-less draw earlier in the season in August. Manchester City are not without their problems.
City’s prime scorer, Sergio Aguero, will be for four games, thanks to a red card earned in his team’s outing with Chelsea last Saturday. Although Guardiola will find it impossible to replace the Argentine striker with someone of his quality, he may have to settle for the 20-year old Nigerian forward, Kelechi Iheanacho. Iheanacho has already got into the act, getting his side’s lone goal in the 1-1 draw against Celtic in a UEFA Champions Group clash on Tuesday.
Leicester strikers would look to capitalize on the kind of uncertainty shown by the City back line of Otamendi, Stones and Kolarov in their 1-3 capitulation to Chelsea. While the Foxes have men like Riyad Mahrez, Shinji Okazaki, Islam Slimani and Jamie Vardy who have the ability to score, their erratic form could nullify the opportunities they may find to put the ball at the back of the net on Saturday.
Except for a 0-2 loss to Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane in early October, Guardiola’s men have swept aside all opposition in away games. Saturday’s clash may see more of the club veteran, Yaya Toure, being introduced and playing a more important role in the central midfield, what with Fernandinho, too, being red-carded in the Chelsea game. De Bruyne, David Silva, Leroy Sane (who was so impressive in Tuesday’s Celtic clash) along with Ilkay Gundogan are likely to spearhead the pressing game that Guardiola so likes.
The Foxes only option will be to hit on the breaks, but given their recent form, how far they will succeed is a matter of doubt.
Bookmakers odds are very much on for a Man City win at the King Power Stadium on Saturday. A surprising outcome could be a draw with a scoreline reading like 2-2. But already having slipped to third on the table, Pep Guardiola’s men are not going to take any chances and vie for the full three points.