Phil Foden and Kevin De Bruyne set for return to squad – Leicester City vs Manchester City Preview
Leicester City take on Manchester City at the King Power Stadium this Saturday. Kick-off is 3 pm BST and you can follow all the action as it happens on our Twitter page @cityreport_.
Manchester City head to a hostile and buoyed King Power Stadium this weekend as Pep Guardiola's title-challenging blues face Leicester City, a side who have given Pep some of his darkest days as City boss over the years. It was a 5-2 thrashing by the visitors in a cold, empty Etihad Stadium this time last year - can City state their title intent in a bubbling King Power Stadium against an injury-ravaged Leicester this time around?
Pep Guardiola has an immense record against the Foxes during his tenure with City with the Blues winning nine of the last thirteen games although two of the four games the Blues have lost are two of the worst during Pep's time at the club - a 4-2 loss in 2016 and a 5-2 home loss in 2020, Pep's biggest home loss in his managerial career. Guardiola has won five of his last seven fixtures at the King Power, can he add to that impeccable record with another win on Saturday?
The Opposition: Leicester City
League position: 9th
Previous result: W 1-2 v Norwich (Vardy, Albrighton)
Top scorer: Jamie Vardy (2)
Leicester City have had a mixed start to the new campaign with Brendan Rodgers' side winning the Community Shield and their opening league game before a thumping defeat at the hands of an inspired Michail Antonio and West Ham in their second game of 21/22. After that 4-1 loss the Foxes did bounce back before the international break, winning 2-1 in a raucous Carrow Road to hand Norwich their third successive defeat.
Jamie Vardy has started the season in electric form with the striker netting twice in his opening three games, with Ricardo Periera supplying the assist for both. The Englishman has tormented City over the years and has already netted two hattricks against Pep Guardiola's side - one in the 4-2 win in 2016, where he scored four - and another in the 5-2 demolition at the Etihad only last season. Timothy Castagne from wing-back was a huge supplier for Vardy's success in that thrashing and with Ricardo supplying the assist for both of Vardy's goals this season, City will have to be wary of Leicester's wide threat as much as they have to be wary of Vardy.
Jamie Vardy has hit the ground running this season netting twice in Leicester's opening three games. He has nine goals against City and will be looking to add to that on Saturday.
Rodgers' defence has been marred by injuries to start the season though with Jonny Evans missing all three games alongside centre-back partner Wesley Fofana, who broke his leg in pre-season, and new signing Jannik Vestergaard from Southampton who has yet to make his debut for his new side.
Vestergaard and Evans are progressing well now though according to their manager and the Foxes will also be boosted by the return of Ryan Bertrand and potentially Ricardo Periera, who is back in training after coming through a training 11v11 last week. James Justin and Wesley Fofana are both still out with long-term injuries.
OUT - James Justin (knee)
OUT - Wesley Fofana (leg)
OUT - Ayoze Perez (suspension)
Questionable - Jannik Vestergaard
Questionable - Johnny Evans
Questionable - Ryan Bertrand
Questionable - Ricardo Pereira
Potential XI: Schmeichel (c), Pereira, Soyuncu, Evans, Thomas, Albrighton, Tielemans, Ndidi, Maddison, Barnes, Vardy.
Referee: Paul Tierney
Assistants: Constantine Hatzidakis, Neil Davies
Fourth official: Andy Madley
VAR: Andre Marriner
AVAR: Richard West
The Last Time: Leicester City 0-2 Manchester City (Gabriel Jesus)
The last time these two sides faced in the Premier League was in March of last season, where a Manchester City side heading closer to the Premier League put on a defensively acute masterclass to send them three points closer to the crown. Aymeric Laporte and Ruben Dias kept Vardy at arm's length throughout but it was Kevin De Bruyne who came up with the highlight of the game - a pinpoint defence-splitting through ball that fed Gabriel Jesus through on goal. The Brazilian played a cute one-two with Raheem Sterling before firing into the back of the net to secure a dominant victory.
The Home View: Manchester City
It was only four weeks ago when a new-look Manchester City, headlined by summer signing Jack Grealish, stepped out on a hot summer's day in London to face Tottenham Hotspur in a game where Pep Guardiola was once again left scratching his head. How could it have happened again? City had all of the possession but barely broke a sweat on that lazy Sunday afternoon where things just didn't seem right. Fans were left unhappy and as the players in sky blue shirts looked up at a clear sky wondering how it had happened again on a patch of turf where they have had such little success, it felt like a real blow early on in the campaign. This was compounded by convincing victories for all of City's title rivals.
Fast-forward to now and optimism is bristling around East Manchester. Two dominant 5-0 wins over Norwich and Arsenal have left the Blues 7th in the Premier League and another victory would only add to this surge of momentum in the team at the moment. It did look bleak at a point though when stories broke that City's Brazilians would not be able to play this weekend, but now that seems like it won't be the case, Gabriel Jesus and co will be able to kick on from where they left off before the international break.
Pep Guardiola does have a huge selection dilemma heading into this one though. Raheem Sterling silenced a cauldron of racists in Hungary a week ago with a scintillating show of character, discipline and ability whilst Riyad Mahrez has come off the bench to marvellous effect in City's last two games, assisting in both. Gabriel Jesus seems to be the standout on the right for now though, with his goal and assist against the Gunners the latest show of his talents.
At the back, the combination of Aymeric Laporte and Ruben Dias has kept successive clean sheets which means the only positions in defence up for grabs are left-back and right-back, spots occupied by Kyle Walker and Joao Cancelo against Arsenal.
The English full-back was shaky though in his first 45 minutes against Arsenal and he was substituted at half-time for Alex Zinchenko. Whether it was the obvious lack of width and build-up trouble that forced that change or the multiple lazy mistakes Walker was making, it could mean Zinchenko regains his place this weekend.
City's midfield triangle of Ilkay Gundogan, Bernardo Silva and Rodri has been exceptional over the last few weeks but Kevin De Bruyne is returning which means one of those spots could be up for grabs this weekend or next, but Ferran Torres could be feeling the heat of De Bruyne's return too if Guardiola opts to keep the midfield the same. Phil Foden may also see a return to action after his recovery from a long-term foot problem.
OUT - Zack Steffen (COVID-19)
Questionable - Phil Foden (foot), Kevin De Bruyne (ankle)
Potential XI: Ederson, Walker, Dias, Laporte, Cancelo, Rodri, Gundogan, Bernardo, Jesus, Torres, Grealish
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