EPL

Big Match Focus: Manchester City v Leicester City (Saturday 17:30 GMT)

By Sports Desk December 18, 2019

Manchester City bounced backed from the misery of their derby defeat to Manchester United with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Arsenal on Sunday.

Pep Guardiola's two-time defending champions have the opportunity to reduce the gap between themselves and Premier League leaders Liverpool, who are away at the Club World Cup in Qatar.

However, standing in Manchester City's way are Leicester – four points above them in the table in second place and playing with the kind of freedom that won them the title in 2015-16.

With Manchester City in such inconsistent form, can Leicester enhance their own title ambitions and register their first win at the Etihad Stadium since February 2016?

 

RODGERS' FOXES HOT TO TROT 

Brendan Rodgers' Leicester team have taken an impressive 39 points from 17 Premier League games this season and with a hungry and talented squad got their supporters buzzing again.

That is their best ever total at this stage of a top-flight campaign and one point ahead of their title-winning campaign in 2015-16 when they had 38 points after 17 games.

The Foxes have won four consecutive Premier League away matches, after losing consecutive away trips to Manchester United and Liverpool. 

Rodgers' side – led by league top scorer Jamie Vardy – have netted 17 goals in those four away games, two more than in their previous 11 combined when they bagged 15.

Manchester City will be favourites to take the points and do seem to rise to the occasion.

Guardiola's men have won five of their past six Premier League games against teams that started the day above them in the table, the only exception being a 3-1 loss to Liverpool in November.

A Leicester win would put them seven points ahead of Manchester City and see them possibly become Liverpool's only rival for the title.

HEAD-TO-HEAD: KEVIN DE BRUYNE V JAMES MADDISON

Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne gave a masterclass in their victory over Arsenal as he scored two goals and created another.

The impressive numbers produced by the Belgium international have put him on course for the most productive season of his career.

De Bruyne has nine assists in this campaign, and responded to Guardiola's request to get more goals for City with six to his name so far with 48 shots in total. 

James Maddison fulfils a slightly different role for Leicester than De Bruyne and has five goals and three assists this Premier League season, playing second fiddle to the goalscoring prowess of Vardy.

Maddison has attempted more dribbles (57) than De Bruyne (40) and made more tackles (36) than his Manchester City counterpart (19).

Manchester City's defenders will have to be on the guard with Maddison's quick feet in dangerous areas. He has won more fouls – 50 – than any of his team-mates.

FORM GUIDE

Manchester City's defence looks unusually leaky on home turf at the moment. Guardiola's side have conceded six goals in their past five Premier League home matches, one more than they had shipped in their previous 12 such games.

What is almost certain is City are more than likely to score on their own patch. Only once in the past 39 home league games have they not found the net and are the league's top scorers with 47 this season.

Leicester are, though, unbeaten in their past nine in the league. Only Liverpool are currently on a longer such run with 34 matches without losing.

The Foxes have won eight of those games and conceded just four goals in the process, although Rodgers' side were held to a 1-1 draw by Norwich City last time out.

This will be Manchester City's first time in front of their own fans since their derby defeat, having won away to Dinamo Zagreb and Arsenal in their past two fixtures.

HISTORY SAYS

Manchester City have won four of their past five Premier League meetings with Leicester, losing the other 2-1 in December last season at the King Power Stadium.

Leicester have lost their past three Premier League away games against Manchester City, having won four of their first five visits to their opponents.

History suggests Leicester will need to keep it tight. In all competitions, the Foxes have lost five of their past six away games against Manchester City, conceding 14 goals in those defeats.

In fact, Leicester have kept just one clean sheet in their past 11 matches against Manchester City in the Premier League, drawing 0-0 at the King Power Stadium in December 2015.

However, this will be the first Premier League clash between the two sides where Leicester will start the day above Manchester City in the table since February 2016, when the Foxes picked up a 3-1 win at the Etihad.

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