Defending champions Manchester City take the field on Saturday against Leicester City, who are going through a topsy-turvy phase in the Premier League. City, who slumped to their first defeat of the season against Liverpool in their last away trip, will not be fazed by this fixture as much. Interestingly, Manchester City have won just a single game in their last four outings across all competitions.
Manchester City’s season has been headlined by Erling Haaland, who has been scoring goals for fun. Kevin de Bruyne has been doing a terrific job as well this season. The 31-year-old has made a whopping nine assists in 11 games and for the fourth season running, he has an eye on Thierry Henry’s all-time record of 20 assists in a season, a record he equalised once but never managed to break.
The Mohamed Salah winner at Anfield saw Manchester City slip four points behind table-toppers Arsenal, but after the Gunners dropped points against Southampton, which brings back the deficit to two points. Before all the players disperse and join their respective national teams for the World Cup, Manchester City will be playing five games across all competitions in a short space. However, they do boast of a squad depth that can topple any team in the world, let alone a Premier League team in the bottom half of the table.
City have an away trip to London in the League Cup and a home fixture in the Champions League against Sevilla, which remain the only tricky challenges for Guardiola. Their goal-scoring and defensive exploits have been second to none this season, with the side scoring 36 goals (best in the league) and conceding just 11 (second best in the league).
Brendan Rodgers was on the verge of getting sacked after Leicester City had just one point in their opening seven games. But the perseverance seemed to have paid off a little, as they Foxes went on a purple patch after a disastrous start.
Their campaign started to open up a little after an impressive 4-0 win against Nottingham Forest, who at that point were 19th in the table and Leicester were 20th. In the four games that followed, they lost just once to a spirited Bournemouth unit away from home, and picked up seven points in their last three games. They thumped Wolves 4-0 at the Molineux in a result that will give the 2015-16 champions a lot of confidence.
Leicester City find themselves just two points above the relegation zone after spending a lot of time at the foot of the table. With 10 points taken of a possible 15 in the last three weeks, their immediate concern will be to ensure they increase the gap between the sides that are under them. It will not be an easy task though, as the blues of Manchester look as devastating in every aspect as they have ever been.
Leicester City lost nine of their last 11 outings against Manchester City in the Premier League. Manchester City have managed to win on their last three trips to the King Power Stadium in the league and haven’t conceded a single goal in the said time period.
However, the one redeeming stat in Leicester’s favor is that no team has managed to score more goals against Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, than the Foxes of the East Midlands. They smashed 17 goals against Guardiola’s side in the league since the beginning of the 2016/17 campaign, which was the Spaniard’s first season in England.
Manchester City have been struggling a bit on the road away from home, winning just two of their last six away matches. Both these teams have been involved in a lot of goals, whilst for Man City it is a lot of scoring, for Leicester, it is a bit of both. Manchester City scoredd 36 and conceded 11 (total of 47), whilst Leicester have scored 21 and conceded 24 (total of 45). These two sides account for the highest goal involvements this season.
LEI vs MCI, Premier League 2022/23
Date: 29 October, 2022
Time: 5 PM IST
Venue: King Power Stadium, Leicester
Leicester City Premier League form:
Manchester City Premier League form:
Manchester City form (all competitions):
Leicester City wins: 32
Manchester City wins: 64
Leicester City Team News:
Ryan Bertrand and Riccardo Pereira remain out of contention for selection for the hosts. Wilfred Ndidi is back in the training after recuperating from his hamstring tear but is unlikely to make it to the starting XI.
Midfielders Youri Tielemans and James Maddison were on the scoresheet against Wolves and pick themselves in the playing XI. It will be interesting to see if the manager might want to tinker with the position of Dewsbury-Hall, but it doesn’t seem likely.
Jamie Vardy ended a 11-match streak without goals in the Premier League against Wolves, his longest since Leicester were promoted back to the top division in 2014-15. The striker managed to score his 100th goal after turning 30 and it is imperative to note the sensational record he has against big six teams. Against Manchester City, Vardy has eight goals, which could earn him a start ahead of Patson Daka.
Manchester City Team news:
The massive worry for Pep Guardiola will be the injury concern for Erling Haaland, who was spotted limping away from the ground. It is highly likely that the Argentine Julian Alvarez takes his place in the XI in the company of Phil Foden and Jack Grealish.
Despite an illness, Joao Cancelo might start as Kyle Walker continues to remain in the medical room. There will ne change in the midfield, with Guardiola’s first choice picks in Rodri, Bernardo Silva and Kevin de Bruyne starting the game.
The concern for Guardiola will be that their wingers have not accounted for a lot of goals recently, with Riyad Mahrez once again missing a penalty for City at the Westfalenstadion in the midweek. Phil Foden’s start to the season though, has been thoroughly impressive and one can expect the footballer to produce great exploits in this game.
Leicester City possible starting lineup:
Ward; Castagne, Faes, Amartey, Justin; Soumare; Maddison, Tielemans, Dewsbury-Hall, Barnes; Vardy
Manchester City possible starting lineup:
Ederson; Cancelo, Dias, Akanji, Laporte; Silva, Rodri, De Bruyne; Foden, Alvarez, Grealish
Manchester City enter the game as favourites against any team in the world right now. Their attacking strength, defensive stronghold and bench strength can be matched by no other club in the world and they continue to dominate English football. Despite being four points down, they are still one of the favourites to win the Premier League, even more so than Arsenal according to multiple bookies, because of their bench strength.
For Leicester to do anything noteworthy in this fixture is an achievement. However, Rodgers will not be settling for anything less. Despite the side not playing up the standard they can this season, he will make sure that the players thrive on the confidence they have picked up from the last three games. Without a doubt, there is great potential here going forward and against a team like Manchester City, who can leave spaces for quick transitions, Leicester might have a few moments in sunshine.
However, the onus lies on whether or not Leicester can make it to the opposition box and do something meaningful, an area where they were dreadful this season, conceding a whopping 25 goals. Manchester City will be looking to re-consolidate their authoritative start and will go all-out against the Foxes.
There is a good possibility that Leicester might spring a few surprises with their attacking strength, but it might be the defence that might let them down. They have been inconsistent throughout the tournament and this of all fixtures might not be the one where the King Power picks up its lost voice. Manchester City are expected to emerge victorious by a three goal margin.