The Premier League title has enthralled us for nearly the whole season and Manchester City can take it to the final day and put one hand on the trophy with victory over Leicester. Liverpool snuck a barely deserved win against Newcastle to keep the race alive but six more points will give City the trophy and they have the quality to get past the Foxes.
At this stage of the season some games will inevitably become tight nervy contests where mental resilience counts for just as much as the skill of the teams involved. Manchester City have already been through a couple of those games, with plenty of grit needed to see out 1-0 wins against Tottenham and Burnley. Against Burnley, they were frustrated for long periods before Sergio Aguero’s 64th-minute goal – bundled in and was given after a goal-line technology decision despite Matthew Lowton’s attempted clearance. They didn’t have their usual fluency but they found a way to get through and if anything, this game might suit them more.
Leicester have had a revival since the astute signing of Brendan Rodgers as manager with five wins in eight games, giving them an outside chance of seventh, even though they will have to win both today’s game and their last one against Chelsea. They were extremely impressive against Arsenal in a 3-0 win even allowing for the visitors terrible away record and the early red card they suffered.
Rogers has bright prospects for next season with James Maddison on the left flank mixing well with Jamie Vardy who has 18 goals in the Premier League – the most of any striker not playing for a top six team. An active midfield with Hamza Choudhury – unfairly singled out for things he said when he was young and foolish – Youri Tielemans and Wilfred Nidid have as much energy as any top half side, and Marc Albrighton and Ricardo Pereira give them width down the flanks too. They also have better defenders than most, with Jonny Evans and Harry Maguire ahead of Kasper Schmeichel, so they do have the quality to cause City issues.
However, their attacking nature should be music to Guaridola’s ears, as this promises to be a more open game than their 1-0 win against Burnley, and the prospect of a top half finish should bring them forward at some stage.
Guardiola is without two of his key weapons in Kevin De Bruyne, and probably also without Fernandinho, but in an end to end game Bernardo and David Silva should thrive, and Leroy Sane, brilliant in the Manchester Derby, will love running at Leicester’s defence.
Man City v Leicester City
20:00 Sky Sports Premier League / Sky Sports Main Event / Sky Sports Ultra HD
HEAD TO HEAD RECORD
(Maximum 10 matches, from past 10 years)
DEC 2018 PREMIER LEAGUE Leicester 2-1 Manchester City
DEC 2018 CARABAO CUP Leicester 1-1 Manchester City
FEB 2018 PREMIER LEAGUE Manchester City 5-1 Leicester
DEC 2017 EFL CUP Leicester 1-1 Manchester City
NOV 2017 PREMIER LEAGUE Leicester 0-2 Manchester City
MAY 2017 PREMIER LEAGUE Manchester City 2-1 Leicester
DEC 2016 PREMIER LEAGUE Leicester 4-2 Leicester
FEB 2016 PREMIER LEAGUE Manchester 1-3 Leicester
DEC 2015 PREMIER LEAGUE Leicester 0-0 Manchester City
Along with Sergio Aguero, that’s enough firepower to overwhelm the Foxes at some stage regardless of tactics and the Citizens have won all their home games against top-half teams while Leicester have lost six of their nine away days against top-six teams. One of those exceptions was a 1-1 draw against Liverpool which has proven to be a crucial pinched point in the season but the hosts missed a number of good chances when on top early there and City can prove to be sharper.
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