Leicester City vs. Man City
Venue: King Power Stadium
Kick off: 6:30PM
Third will welcome second in the Premier League this afternoon as Manchester City prepare to make the trip to Leicester City for what should be a fascinating contest.
Man City beat West Ham United 2-0 on Wednesday night to move four points clear of third-placed Leicester, who are nine points ahead of fourth-placed Chelsea in England’s top flight.
At one stage, it did appear that Leicester were in a Premier League title race, but Liverpool’s stunning form this season has seen the Reds leave the rest of the competition behind.
The Foxes have enjoyed a very impressive campaign to date, though, and are in a strong position when it comes to securing Champions League football for the 2020-21 campaign. Indeed, they are comfortably third at the moment, nine points clear of fourth-placed Chelsea, who are struggling for form.
Brendan Rodgers’s team sit 10 points clear of Tottenham Hotspur in fifth, meanwhile, demonstrating their strength when it comes to the Champions League spots.
It is almost one month since Leicester last won a game, though, which came away to Brentford in the FA Cup. Since then, they have lost to Aston Villa in the second leg of their EFL Cup semi-final, in addition to drawing back-to-back Premier League matches with Chelsea and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
The Foxes have not actually won in the league since beating West Ham United 4-1 on January 22, while they have been victorious in just one of their last eight games with Man City, suffering seven defeats in the process.
Indeed, Pep Guardiola’s team recorded a 3-1 victory in the reverse game at the Etihad Stadium back in December, but Leicester ran out 2-1 winners when they last locked horns at the King Power Stadium in December 2018.
Leicester will follow this game with a trip to the league’s basement side Norwich City on February 28 before welcoming Birmingham City in the FA Cup on March 4. Rodgers’s team are certainly capable of winning England’s biggest cup competition this season, and it will be fascinating to see how they perform in the latter stages of the tournament.
Pipping Man City to second spot would represent a wonderful campaign for Leicester, and they will certainly be the fresher of the two teams considering that the reigning champions played on Wednesday night.
Indeed, having seen their clash with West Ham earlier this month postponed due to bad weather, the fixture was rescheduled for Wednesday. It was the first time that the Citizens had taken to the field since news of their two-year Champions League suspension had been revealed.
The Hammers never threatened to make it an uncomfortable night for Guardiola’s team, though, with Rodri and Kevin De Bruyne finding the back of the net in a 2-0 win.
The victory was important for Man City considering that they had entered the Premier League winter break off the back of a 2-0 defeat to Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham in the English capital.
It remains to be seen what happens with the club’s European suspension and subsequent appeal, but the players must remain focused as they will follow this weekend’s clash with a European tie against Real Madrid.
Indeed, the English champions will travel to the Bernabeu on Wednesday night for the first leg of their last-16 clash in the Champions League. When the draw was made, Man City would have fancied their chances, but Madrid are currently top of La Liga and have Eden Hazard back from injury.
The Citizens will then open March with the EFL Cup final against Aston Villa before visiting Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup three days later. It is a very, very busy period of the season for the Manchester giants, who could still enjoy a brilliant campaign on the field despite concerns behind the scenes.
There is no getting away from the fact that the team have been short in the Premier League, though, having dropped points in nine of their 26 matches to sit 22 points behind leaders Liverpool in the table.
It is only a matter of time before Jurgen Klopp’s team are crowned champions, but the race for second is very much open, and a poor result for the visitors this weekend would open the door for Leicester to pounce.
Leicester possible XI: Schmeichel, Ricardo, Evans, Soyuncu, Chilwell, Perez, Tielemans, Praet, Maddison, Barnes, Vardy.
Man City possible XI: Ederson, Cancelo, Otamendi, Fernandinho, Zinchenko, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Rodri, Mahrez, Aguero, Bernardo.