Leicester City will hope the focus is on the football this weekend as they travel to the Etihad Stadium to face Manchester City.
Claude Puel will reportedly be without star man Riyad Mahrez for the trip to Eastlands, with the Algerian being denied a move to the Premier League leaders during the January transfer window.
With the task already being monumental against the Citizens, it will surely be even more difficult against Pep Guardiola’s troops without the skilful winger.
The current Premier League leaders welcome the former champions in fine form. Since their 4-3 defeat at the hands of Liverpool, City have gone five games without defeat, winning four of those clashes. Their last clash in the Premier League ended in a stalemate however as a late equaliser from Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson ensured a 1-1 draw. As a result, the Sky Blues sit 13 points clear at the top of the Premier League table and look destined to lift their third title.
A huge reason as to why Guardiola’s men have stormed to the peak of English football this season is their form at the Etihad Stadium. The team have so far only dropped two points out of a possible 39 during the current campaign. They have also scored an eye-watering 45 goals on home soil since the start of 2017/18. As a matter of fact, they have only lost one of their last 35 games at the Etihad Stadium – a figure that will deeply concern the Foxes.
Long term absentee Benjamin Mendy remains out, alongside forward Gabriel Jesus. Leroy Sané is expected to be out for at least another month with an ankle injury. Phil Foden and Fabian Delph are both not ready to appear for the Premier League leaders. However, defender John Stones and David Silva could be ready to make their returns against Leicester.
The Foxes meanwhile will be looking to get back to winning ways after two disappointing results in the Premier League. Puel’s men lost 2-1 against Everton at Goodison Park before only managing to take a point from relegation-threatened Swansea City. The former champions now sit in eighth position in the Premier League table. Despite the recent results, their prospects still look promising this season having only lost one of their last eight games.
In order to get a result at the Etihad Stadium, they will need to improve their away form. In clashes away from the King Power Stadium, Puel’s men have lost three out of their last four games. Their last win away from home came in the form of a 4-1 thumping of Southampton in mid-December. The task being asked of them is even greater considering their form against the top-six. Leicester have not won an away game against any of the top six since their memorable 3-1 victory against Manchester City back in February 2016.
Riyad Mahrez will be missing for the Foxes after not training throughout the week. Skipper Wes Morgan is also ruled out with a hamstring injury. Shinji Okazaki has been consigned to the sidelines with a knee injury picked up in training.
Key Facts To Consider
- Manchester City have the far better all-time record between the two teams (W56, D29, L29)
- The Sky Blues have only lost once to Leicester on home soil within the last 15 years
- Manchester City won the last clash Premier League clash between the two 2-0 at the King Power Stadium
- The Foxes have scored nine goals in their last five clashes against Manchester City
- Leicester have only kept one clean sheet in their last 14 games against the Citizens
Leicester’s task is already huge, and without the sparkling talents of Mahrez, the Foxes will find it increasingly difficult to find a way past the runaway Premier League leaders. The Citizens’ home form should enable them to secure a simple victory. Sergio Aguero could be an excellent bet to open the scoring at the Etihad Stadium.
Whilst the Foxes should be in the contest, Manchester City should continue their relentless pursuit of the crown.
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