All eyes will be on the Etihad Stadium for Saturday’s early kick-off as Manchester City meet Leicester City in an eagerly anticipated showdown of the Premier League’s top two.
Despite it being a week that contained a transfer deadline and a full round of top-flight fixtures, the biggest news of the last few days came when Man City announced that Pep Guardiola would become their new manager in the summer. While that puts the club in a fairly unusual position, current boss Manuel Pellegrini will have his eyes set on ending his successful reign as strongly as possible, with his side currently fighting on all fronts.
There is a clear incentive for Man City to win this one as it would see them leapfrog their opponents into top spot, but it will be far from straightforward as their defence face up to the threat posed by Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy, who both appear to be back to their best form. It was a close run thing in their last game at Sunderland on Tuesday, where Sergio Aguero’s goal proved just about enough to secure victory amid considerable second half pressure.
While that was happening, Leicester were winning in utterly convincing fashion against Liverpool and in doing so they moved on to 50 points to continue their miraculous status as Premier League leaders, and more importantly they are showing few signs of relenting. If they can emerge from this match and the following trip to Arsenal still ahead of the rest, then there will surely be every reason why they can lift the trophy on May 15.
Mahrez was sensational and Shinji Okazaki produced his reliably energetic performance in the Foxes attack, but it was Vardy who condemned Jurgen Klopp’s team to their downfall with a superb all-round effort, the highlight of which was his stunning opener, which was undoubtedly one of the goals of the season so far. His pace will cause concern for Martin Demichelis and Nicolas Otamendi here, but Leicester will also need to rely on goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel to have a fine game at the other end against his former club.
The home side may have Fabian Delph back available, but have been dealt another injury blow as Jesus Navas has been ruled out for at least three weeks.
There are no new injury concerns for Leicester, who are still without Matt James and Jeffrey Schlupp. Recent signing Daniel Amartey awaits his debut.
Last Meeting: A goal late in the first half saw Man City take the lead against Leicester back in March as David Silva fired the ball in after his first effort had been blocked, but they were made to hang on for much of the second half as Andrej Kramaric saw a free-kick deflect narrowly wide and Riyad Mahrez hit a post. They held out, however, and sealed the win when James Milner tucked away a simple finish.