With the final international break of the season now out of the way, Manchester City return to action as they travel to the King Power Stadium to face Champions League-chasing Leicester City.
Pep’s side needs to win just five of their remaining eight matches to secure the league title and victory over Brendan Rodgers’ in-form side would further tighten their grip on a third title in four years.
Both City and Leicester were in great form before the international break and both sides will be eager to extend their respective winning runs given each team's ambitions for the season. But as the Foxes possess a quality-laden side and are led by a top-quality manager, City will need to be at their very best to defeat Brendan Rodgers’ impressive side.
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the game...
The Blues head into the fixture with a fully fit squad, but as City are set to play Borussia Dortmund just three days after the Leicester clash, it's reasonable to anticipate Guardiola selecting a line-up with Tuesday’s Champions League tie in mind.
I'd expect Pep to start some of the players who are unlikely to feature on Tuesday as well as several players who did not feature during the international break such as Fernandinho, Aymeric Laporte and Gabriel Jesus,
Guardiola may also consider fielding the likes of Nathan Aké and Ferran Torres, who are unlikely to feature in Tuesday’s Champions League tie but are more than capable of doing a job against the Foxes. The legendary Sergio Agüero is also in contention to start given the likelihood that he will not feature against Dortmund.
Leicester meanwhile are set to be without Harvey Barnes, James Justin, Cengiz Ünder and Wes Morgan. But on a positive note for the Foxes, James Maddison has been declared fit and with his place in the England squad in jeopardy, he will be determined to impress against City. Ricardo Pereira has also been deemed fit for Saturday and is set to feature after recovering from a hamstring injury.
Head To Head:
Saturday evening will see the 122nd meeting between Manchester City and Leicester City. Historically, the Blues have fared much better in the fixture having emerged victorious on 61 occasions, whilst Leicester have won 31 meetings and the two sides have drawn on 29 occasions.
The Blues’ have won eight of the previous 10 meetings between the two sides but were soundly beaten 5-2 by Brendan Rodgers’ side in September, although it is worth noting that the game took place before the arrival of Ruben Dias and that three of Leicester’s goals came from the spot.
City head into Saturday’s fixture in emphatic form having remarkably emerged victorious in 25 of their previous 26 fixtures - with the Derby day loss being the only recent blotch on that record. Pep’s side has averaged 2.66 goals per game over the last six fixtures and have registered consecutive clean sheets in their last three matches.
Brendan Rodgers’ side also go into Saturday in decent form having won their previous three fixtures whilst averaging 3.33 goals per game in that time. Rodgers' side, however, has been uncharacteristically vulnerable lately with the only clean sheet in their last seven matches coming against the impotent Sheffield United.
Leicester have occupied the Champions League places for most of the season and Rodgers' will be keen not to bottle a place in the top four as they did last year. But a tough run-in - along with several key injuries - means that the Foxes will need to salvage every point possible and Leicester will be determined to take points from City as they did earlier this season.
Paul Tierney will officiate the clash at the King Power Stadium, and Saturday evening will see the second time that he's overseen a City match this season with the previous occasion being February’s 3-0 victory over Spurs. Tierney will be joined by Simon Bennett and Simon Long as linesmen whilst Peter Bankes will serve as the fourth official. As usual, VAR will be in operation and VAR will be overseen by Michael Oliver and Timothy Wood.
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