Preview: Everything you need to know, Predicted XI – Manchester City vs Leicester City
Manchester City return to Premier League action against Leicester City on Saturday afternoon, where Pep Guardiola's side will have the chance to move just three points behind table-topping Arsenal. The fixture kicks off at 17.30 (BST) and will be broadcast live on Sky Sports in the United Kingdom.
City came out of the midweek mauling of Bayern Munich unscathed. Despite an injury scare for Kevin De Bruyne, he carried on and was later substituted 'for tactical reasons' anyway, but Guardiola hasn't said anything about any lasting impact or injury.
The only expected absence is Phil Foden, who is still recovering from appendicitis and surgery, and according to Guardiola, he's still at home with no timeline given for his return.
As for the XI he could pick for Saturday's fixture, perhaps it might be time to slightly rotate what has been a very consistent selection in recent weeks, bringing the likes of Aymeric Laporte or perhaps Kyle Walker into the backline. Guardiola previously spoke about Walker's inability to fulfil the inverted role we've seen John Stones playing, so it's more likely to be Manuel Akanji missing out for Walker or Nathan Ake taking a game off for Laporte on the other side of the back three.
Further up the pitch, Jack Grealish and Erling Haaland continue to pick themselves, and I'd expect Kevin De Bruyne as well to continue, despite the game-changing impact Julian Alvarez had against Bayern. A return for Riyad Mahrez at right wing would be timely, too, meaning the final slot is a choice between Ilkay Gundogan and Bernardo Silva. I think the energy of Bernardo would be more useful in midfield for a game like this, where you can have Grealish and Mahrez dictate tempo from wide to stop problems in transition, as Guardiola has mentioned all season.
Ederson; Akanji, Dias, Laporte; Stones, Rodri; Bernardo, De Bruyne; Grealish, Haaland, Mahrez
With new interim boss Dean Smith in place, Leicester City are hoping the ex-Aston Villa and Norwich boss can save the Foxes from the perennial threat of relegation. Seen as too good to go down the last time these two sides faced each other; it's only gotten worse for Leicester.
19th in the table with 25 points, and no win in any competition since February 11, it is clear to see why the club finally pulled the plug on Brendan Rodgers, but it does feel too little too late. A 1-0 loss to fellow relegation strugglers Bournemouth under club staff caretakers did little to shift the mood, and it looks likely to be a second relegation from the Premier League on Dean Smith's record, despite praise from Guardiola in his pre-match presser.
In terms of team news, things look a little brighter for Leicester. Kieran Dewsbury-Hall is available after his suspension in the last game, and Youri Tielemans has returned to training after an ankle injury in February. However, Harvey Barnes did go off with a hamstring issue in last weekend's game and is expected to be unavailable for the trip to the Etihad.
The last fixture between the two was in October, where City won 1-0 thanks to an early second-half free kick from Kevin De Bruyne.
Referee: Darren England
Assistants: Eddie Smart & Nick Greenhalgh
Fourth Official: Jeremy Simpson
VAR: Jarred Gillett
Assistant VAR: Lee Betts
Written by: @olimccoole
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