Leicester v Man City – Preview, Predictions and Best Bets
By BET Contributor
Leicester host Man City at the King Power Stadium in the Premier League on Saturday evening. The first meeting between these sides this season saw The Foxes win 5-2 at the Etihad in a superb performance featuring a Jamie Vardy hattrick. Pep Guardiola’s team are looking for his 15th consecutive away victory in all competitions but will need to be wary of Leicester’s speedy striker who has eight goals in nine Premier League matches against City.
Brendan Rodgers’ side have been in decent form with seven wins in their last 12 matches since losing at home to Leeds in January. That run has seen impressive 3-1 wins at Anfield as well as beating Man Utd 3-1 at home in the FA Cup in their last match.
Since being knocked out of the Europa League by Slavia Prague and losing 3-1 to Arsenal three days later, Leicester have hit back and have won three matches in a row – 2-1 at Brighton, 5-0 versus Sheffield United and then their FA Cup quarter-final victory.
Leicester Team News
The Foxes will still be without James Justin and Harvey Barnes for this match with the latter hopeful of a return in around four weeks but the former is out for the season. James Maddison and Ricardo Pereira have had the international break to get over their injuries but are still doubtful for this game.
Rodgers has been playing a 3-4-1-2 shape of late to make space for in-form Kelechi Iheanacho to partner Jamie Vardy. The Nigerian has seven goals in his last four matches and is certain to start. Dennis Praet is now back after injury to give competition to Ayoze Perez for the role behind the front two.
Leicester will be fully focused and motivated on this match in their pursuit of a top-four finish. Rodgers has been savvy with his tactics this season and this match is one where he is almost certain to sit back with a 5-3-2 setup out of possession before hitting Vardy in the channels on the counter attack.
The Foxes know that they can’t take City on in the possession stakes so could be quite happy to cede the ball and sit in a solid shape. A draw would be a pretty good result and one Rodgers is likely to settle for pretty early on in the second half if the scores are level.
Man City Form
City are in superb form with 29 wins in their last 33 matches having seen a 21-match winning run ended by Manchester United recently. With 22 clean sheets in those 33 games, the side have swept away all before them and are on the verge of regaining their league title.
On their travels, Guardiola’s side have won 14 matches in a row, an English football record and their travels in the league have seen just eight goals conceded all season. Their last two matches were a comfortable 2-0 home win against Borussia Monchengladbach to progress to the Champions League quarter-finals, and a 2-0 away win at Everton to progress to the semi-finals of the FA Cup.
Man City Team News
Guardiola has no injuries to worry about for this match and no suspensions. He can pick the side that is freshest after the international break and that he feels is best placed for the requirements of this match. He is also certain to have one eye on Dortmund on Tuesday.
Kevin de Bruyne was only a substitute against Everton in the FA Cup and should start this match whilst it remains to be seen if the announcement of Sergio Aguero’s departure in June will see him get increased minutes. The FIFA break would have been a chance to build up his fitness so a decent substitute outing is expected
Man City Motivation
City will play to dominate and to win this match. However, with a big UEFA Champions League quarter-final on Tuesday, some of their attention could be on that clash. Guardiola may tailor his team selection for Leicester based on who he wants to select in Europe against Dortmund.
Knowing the threat posed by Vardy and his record against City, Guardiola may set up with more players behind the ball and he may not be too unhappy to leave the King Power Stadium with a point and no injuries. This is not a must-win match.
Leicester have lost 1 of their last 8 PL matches (W5, D2)
The Foxes have lost 6 of their last 13 home PL matches
Leicester have seen over 3.5 goals in their last 4 home PL matches
City have lost just 1 of their last 33 matches (W29, D3)
City have won their last 14 away matches in all competition (an English football record)
Man City have conceded just 8 goals on the road in the PL this season
Jamie Vardy has scored 8 goals in 9 PL matches against City
This should be a good game with Leicester and City both expected to play with predictable strategies. It will basically come down to whether City can score first and then keep more men behind the ball to guard against Vardy. An away win is the most likely outcome.