- Oli Coulson
Everything you need to know, Predicted XI – Leicester City vs Manchester City Preview
Manchester City travel to Leicester's King Power Stadium to face Brendan Rodgers' struggling side in the early kick-off (12:30 pm BST) on Saturday 29th October, as they hunt down top-of-the-table Arsenal in the Premier League. The game will be broadcast live on BT Sport in the United Kingdom.
Team News and Predicted XI
In his press conference, Pep Guardiola said Erling Haaland is feeling better but would be assessed before training later on, after taking a knock to his foot and then being subbed at half-time in Dortmund. So for this preview, we'll work on the assumption he'll be fit enough to start. However, if he is not, Guardiola confirmed that Julian Alvarez would be first choice to start up front, and has no worries about his impact.
"If Haaland doesn't play, then he [Julian] is the natural first option to replace him... I don't judge Julian on how many goals he has scored. Play 90 minutes every game and he will score goals, maybe not like Erling but he will score"
As for other absences ahead of the trip to Leicester, Guardiola said that whilst Kyle Walker (groin) and Kalvin Phillips (shoulder) were 'getting better' after their surgeries, they will not feature here. He did note, however, that City are 'surprised' by how quickly Phillips is recovering and that he is back training with the ball, so a return for the World Cup is still possible.
Ederson is set to return to the XI after Stefan Ortega made his competitive debut in midweek.
With John Stones now back and playing, Guardiola is left with decisions at the back. This is the first time that all five of his central defenders are available together, likely meaning that one of Manuel Akanji or Stones will continue in the makeshift right-back role. Guardiola's necessity for a left-footer in the central pairing means Cancelo will continue at left-back, and I think Stones and Aymeric Laporte can rekindle their previous world-beating partnership, with Akanji at right-back.
As for further forward, despite Rodri going down after a nasty challenge, he finished the game and will surely continue here too, alongside the rested in midweek Kevin De Bruyne. I'd expect Bernardo to join them after only coming on off the bench in midweek, and pairing his hardworking nature and energy against a somewhat resurgent Leicester, with their own strong midfield, will be important.
As for up top; Haaland if he's fit, Alvarez if not, flanked by Phil Foden – who didn't play against Brighton last weekend – and Jack Grealish, who was a late sub in Germany. For my money, they are our best wing pairing and make a deadly front three regardless of whichever striker is through the middle.
Ederson; Akanji, Stones, Laporte, Cancelo; De Bruyne, Rodri, Bernardo; Foden, Haaland, Grealish
Leicester City are not what they once were in terms of challenging for European spots, especially after their dreadful start of the season when manager Brendan Rodgers was facing the sack and the Midlands club lurked at the bottom of the table. Now 17th after a resurgence of sorts, things are looking up at the King Power, but their only three wins this season have come from the teams below them.
In their last outing, a 4-0 demolition of manager-less Wolves at Molineux, they scored with every shot on target from four different goalscorers, with James Maddison continuing to impress as he hunts down an unlikely place at the World Cup. He has undoubtedly been their star of the season with six goals in 10 and a couple of assists too.
It's not scoring goals (21 in the league) that Leicester have struggled with, outscoring all but five teams (Liverpool, Fulham 22; Tottenham, 23; Arsenal 25; City 36), but defending. They've conceded 24 goals in the Premier League, the second most. The decision not to replace goalkeeper and captain Kasper Schmeichel in the summer is hurting them, as well as the £80m departure of centre-back Wesley Fofana to Chelsea. Despite the acquisition of promising central defender Wout Faes from Reims, Leicester do concede easily (1.92 goals per 90), with set pieces continuing to be a real area of concern like last season.
As for their team news, Rodgers has largely lined his side up in a 4-1-4-1 with star man Maddison coming in off the right and Patson Daka as the first-choice striker. In the absence of Wilfried Ndidi, who's a doubt with a thigh injury, Boubakary Soumare has been the holding midfielder with Youri Tielemans and Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall ahead.
Regular City tormentor Jamie Vardy scored his first goal of the season in their last game but like the team, has struggled. However, if picked to start, his threat is not to be ignored as the form book is usually chucked out the window when these sides meet. Anything from edgy tight 1-0s to a crucifying 5-2 loss for the Blues a couple of years ago and not forgetting the 6-3 last season, where Guardiola's side led 4-0 at half-time before a dangerous comeback by the Foxes.
Predicted XI: Ward; Castagne, Amartey, Faes, Justin; Tielemans, Soumare, Dewsbury-Hall; Maddison, Daka, Barnes.
The previous fixture between the two sides was City's 6-3 win on Boxing Day 2021 at the Etihad Stadium with goals from Kevin De Bruyne, Riyad Mahrez, Ilkay Gundogan, Aymeric Laporte and a brace from Raheem Sterling.
Referee: Robert Jones
Assistants: Eddie Smart & Nick Greenhalgh
Fourth Official: Graham Scott
VAR: Chris Kavanagh
Assistant VAR: Simon Long
Written by: @olimccoole
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