Leicester City will move back to the top of the Premier League if they overcome the significant threat of a Manchester City side which has not won away since mid-September.
The game at Liverpool on Boxing Day provided the first few signs that the Foxes are feeling the effects of being the team to be shot at, as they were second best almost throughout and turned in a performance which was described as ‘nervous’ by manager Claudio Ranieri. However, their amazing unbeaten run on the road had to end somewhere, as perhaps did their record of scoring in every Premier League match this season. Unless it marks the beginning of a downturn in form, they will not be overly concerned.
As in most of their home matches this season against the so-called bigger clubs, Leicester can be expected to sit back here and allow their visitors to dominate the possession, but will retain a strong defensive shape and as ever will look to counter-attack in devastating fashion, with their outstanding attacking duo of Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy sure to test a Man City defence which has seemed decidedly shaky at times this season and is still badly lacking in leadership.
Aside from failing to keep their clean sheet intact, the only disappointment for Man City in their convincing Boxing Day victory over Sunderland was seeing captain Vincent Kompany hobble off with yet another injury barely 10 minutes after making his return from the bench. It was a sorry sight, but it gives Eliaquim Mangala and Nicolas Otamendi another chance to prove themselves as a pairing for a team which is the best the Premier League has to offer provided they are sound defensively.
Success over Sunderland came at a canter as they established a three-goal lead within the first quarter of the game, with Kevin De Bruyne at his magnificent creative best to invariably provide the assists. The Belgian then grabbed the fourth for himself to round off a superb individual display, clearly showing that he is thriving alongside fellow visionary David Silva. They will definitely be the men that Man City look to here as they attempt to penetrate that wall of Leicester resistance.
The home side have no new injuries to contend with, and may welcome back midfielder Danny Drinkwater following a hamstring problem.
Sergio Aguero should feature for Man City, but Fernando and Pablo Zabaleta will not yet be considered for a return.
Played for both – Paul Dickov: The Scot is best remembered for his six-year stay at Man City between 1996 and 2002, representing them in the top-flight in 2000-01. Later in his career he had a second spell at the club where he failed to score in 16 league games, while before that he had spent two seasons at Leicester, helping them to promotion but failing to help keep them in the Premier League the following season.