Manchester City Hosts Leicester After Riyad Mahrez Transfer Deadline Drama

Man City had made a play for the Algerian but was rebuffed by Leicester prior to the transfer deadline.
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Runaway leaders Manchester City entertain Leicester City at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday looking to consolidate, or even extended, their 13-point lead at the top of the Premier League table.

Pep Guardiola's side will have one eye on Tuesday's Champions League clash with Basel, but will be keen to avoid complacency against a Foxes side who are former Premier League winners themselves.

The Citizens slipped up at Turf Moor last Saturday, as Sean Dyche's Burnley grabbed a late equaliser to earn a well deserved point.

Leicester will be looking to put the Riyad Mahrez transfer fiasco to one side and focus on matters on the pitch this weekend. 

The Algerian midfielder has missed the last couple of matches after seeing a Deadline Day move to City fall through, and has subsequently missed a handful of training sessions in protest.

The Foxes earned a point in his absence last time out, but will have been frustrated in their inability to overcome Premier League strugglers Swansea at the King Power Stadium. 

Claude Puel's side took the lead through Jamie Vardy, but were unable to capitalize on their dominance, with Federico Fernandez's equalizer earning the Swans a point.

The two teams last encounter came back in November, with Guardiola's side in irrepressible form. City ran out comfortable 2-0 winners, as Gabriel Jesus and Kevin De Bruyne secured three points for the visitors.

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Classic Encounter

Manchester City have tended to get the better of this fixture, winning six out of their last 10 matches against the Foxes. Our classic encounter takes a look at the opposite end of the spectrum, on a day that many Leicester fans will remember for many years to come.

In the midst of a remarkable and highly unexpected charge towards the Premier League title, Claudio Ranieri took his league leaders to the Etihad in February 2016 more in hope than expectation.

City lay just two points behind at kick off, with many expecting the Citizens to burst the Leicester bubble with a convincing home performance.

What ensued, was one of the most sensational away performances in Premier League history, as Ranieri's men sent shock waves around the world.

The opening goal came after just five minutes, as Robert Huth glanced home Riyad Mahrez's free-kick to give the visitors a shock lead. City looked toothless in attack and worryingly fragile in defence, with their vulnerability ruthless exposed in the second half.

First, a trademark counter attack saw the superb Mahrez race through to make it two, before Huth fired home from Christian Fuchs corner to give Leicester a shock 3-0 lead after an hour.

Sergio Aguero's late goal was scant consolation for a humbled City side, who would go on to see Leicester amazingly lift the Premier League trophy at the end of the season.

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Recent Form

Manchester City's charge towards the title has slowed down in recent weeks, with the festive fixture pile up perhaps taking a toll on Pep Guardiola's men.

City had won a staggering 18 games in a row earlier in the campaign, but have won just three out of their last six, with a shocking defensive display at Liverpool in amongst their recent dip in form.

The draw against Burnley last week was the first time City had failed to win after scoring first in 25 games, a run dating back to April last year. Injuries to key players Gabriel Jesus and Leroy Sane have taken their toll, with City's pursuit of Mahrez in January perhaps indicative of their desire to increase their strength in depth.

Claude Puel's men have emerged from a difficult Christmas period with some better performances of late, though they remain troubled on the road.

The Foxes have only claimed one point on the road in their last four away games, with victories at Newcastle and Southampton now a distant memory.

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Team News

Manchester City have a number of injury concerns, with Pep Guardiola missing some of his best attacking talent.

Gabriel Jesus and Leroy Sane will both miss the game, with David Silva still to prove his fitness after a recent abdominal injury. Benjamin Mendy and Fabian Delph are ruled out, whilst John Stones is struggling.

Big money signing Aymeric Laporte could return to the starting line-up after watching last week's draw with Burnley from the substitutes bench.

Claude Puel has close to a fully-fit squad to choose from, though troubled Riyad Mahrez will not make the journey north after refusing to train this week.

Skipper Wes Morgan has not played since limping off against Huddersfield on New Year's Day, with Aleksandar Dragovic set to continue partnering the impressive Harry Maguire in central defence.

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Predicted Man City Lineup: Ederson, Walker, Laporte, Otamendi, Danilo, Fernandinho, De Bruyne, David Silva, Sterling, Bernardo Silva, Aguero

Predicted Leicester Lineup: Schmeichel, Simpson, Dragovic, Maguire, Fuchs, Ndidi, Adrien Silva, Albrighton, Diabate, Okazaki, Vardy

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The Citizens will be keen to put in a dominating display in order to raise confidence ahead of their midweek trip to Basel.

Pep Guardiola's side have proved unbeatable at home this season, winning 12 out of 13 Premier League games played at the Etihad so far this season. His side have scored 45 goals, averaging well over three goals per game.

Leicester have a decent away record this season, but will find it extremely difficult to get a result against the runaway leaders. Riyad Mahrez will be a big miss, and Leicester can expect to give up plenty of possession throughout the match. Class is likely to shine through in another City home win.

Prediction: Manchester City 3-1 Leicester