Sitting three points clear of their title rivals, Leicester City head into the highly anticipated encounter with a psychological advantage over Manchester City, who could be in real problems if they fail to win on Saturday. With Spurs and Arsenal also in the mix, this is clearly no longer a two-horse race.
Having failed to secure much needed silverware at the Etihad, Manuel Pellegrini will make way for Pep Guardiola at the end of the season, but he has a chance to prove the club chiefs wrong by lifting the Premier League trophy this term. His side have been far from impressive so far, with Kevin De Bruyne clearly the only summer recruit who has lived up to the billing, but the Citizens still hold matters in their own hands, sitting two points clear of Arsenal and heading into the Leicester clash with an opportunity to leapfrog the Foxes in the overall standings. That will be no easy task considering that Claudio Ranieri’s side have proved to be lethal on the counter-attack, meaning that Man City cannot afford to go all guns blazing at the opposition since that could end up costing them dearly. The Citizens have been pretty impressive on home soil, winning seven of last eight games at Etihad, but having already lost three games there, it is no as if they can be regarded hot favourites to win this match. The reverse fixture between the two sides ended as a goalless draw, but both teams had quite a few opportunities to break the deadlock.
It remains to be seen whether Kelechi Iheanacho will continue up front or whether Raheem Sterling wil return to the starting line-up at his expense.
Meanwhile, the hosts are still without Vincent Kompany, Kevin De Bruyne, Wilfried Bony, Eliaquim Mangala and Samir Nasri.
Leicester City are definitely not alone in their unlikely challenge to win the Premier League title as most neutral fans are rooting for Claudio Ranieri and his men to cross the line first come end of the season. Even though many expected the Foxes to fail, they have shown plenty of character as well as quality to ward off challenge from more illustrious sides such as Arsenal and Manchester City, and they head into the final stretch of the season three points clear at the league summit. Leicester City have got plenty of reason for optimism at the moment as star players Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy have rediscovered their form, with the duo combining to score one of the best goals of the season in the 2-0 triumph over Liverpool. And having previously hammered Stoke City 3-0, the Foxes are clearly on top of their game at the moment. And even though the clash at Etihad will be a whole different ball game, we are not prepared to write them off just yet.
It remains to be seen whether Jeffrey Schlupp will make the long awaited return to the squad, but Matty James is still on the sidelines.
Following the thoroughly impressive display against Liverpool, Claudio Ranieri is highly unlikely to make changes to his starting line-up.
Key Factors to Consider
- Leicester are winless in last nine meetings with Man City (D4 L5)
- The reverse fixture at King Power Stadium ended all squared (0-0)
- The Foxes won two of last five away games vs Man City (D1 L2)
- Man City won seven of last eight fixtures at Etihad
- Leicester have five wins in last seven away matches
On paper, Manchester City may be the better side, but they have not exactly proved that on the pitch, and we are backing Leicester City to extend the impressive run and keep their title bid on track. The Foxes’ counter-attacking approach is perfectly suited for this game, and don’t be surprised if the likes of Vardy and Mahrez wreak havoc on City’s makeshift defence, with N’Golo Kante expected to play a key role in the middle of the park.
Verdict: Leicester not to lose
Best Odds: 3/2