King Power Stadium, Leicester
December 17, 2013; 19:45 GMT
Leicester City are the only non-Premier League club remaining in this tournament and they host Manchester City at the King Power Stadium tonight in the Capital One Cup quarter-final fixture. The last meeting between these two sides came in 2011, in a FA Cup tie and the Citizens managed a 4-2 on the night as Carlos Tevez, Patrick Vieira, Adam Johnson and Kolarov got on the score sheet. This is the third meeting between these two sides in this competition though and City won the previous two matches held back in 1960s.
Leicester’s last win over Manchester City came in 2003, in a league meeting, as Jordan Stewart, Paul Dickov and Marcus Bent scored for the Foxes. But intriguingly Leicester haven’t won against City at home since 1988. Nigel Pearson will hope to break this streak tonight.
Team News and tactics
Leicester made a good start to their Championship campaign this season and are firmly in contention for the title and a promotion back to the Premier League. But the Blues have dropped points recently and have managed only two of their last six matches in the league. They are on a three match winless streak and are coming into this fixture on the back of a 1-1 draw against Burnley at home as David Nugent, who has been in brilliant form this season, scored from the spot. Leicester’s home form has been good this season and their only loss at the King Power Stadium came against Nottingham Forest last month.
Leicester reached the quarter-finals of the League Cup after a thrilling 4-3 win over Fulham back in October. Lloyd Dyer scored a later winner to win the game for the Foxes and ensure their seventh Quarter-final appearance in this tournament.
Nigel Pearson has few injury concerns at the moment as Irish defender Sean St. Ledger and Tom Hopper continues his spell on the side-lines. Pearson has confirmed that he will rotate his squad for this game as at the moment, the Championship remains his priority. He is expected make as many as six changes to the starting line-up he fielded against Burnley at the weekend. Ignasi Miquel, who is on loan from Arsenal, will replace Wes Morgan at the center of the defence, while Marcin Wasilewski comes in place of Ritchie de Laet at right back. Andy King and Dean Hammond will pair up at the center of the midfield as James and Drinkwater are rested. Gary Taylor-Fletcher and Jeffrey Schlupp will lead the attack upfront in a 4-4-2 formation.
Goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel will face his former side and will hope a memorable performance on the night. It will be interesting to see how Taylor-Fletcher and Schlupp lead the attack in the absence of Nugent, who has been one of the most influential players in the Championship this season. Moreover, with Manchester City in wonderful goal scoring form, Pearson will hope his defence can hold on against an excepted onslaught.
Expected starting line-up (4-2-3-1): Schmeichel (GK); Konchesky, Miquel, Moore, Wasilewski; Dyer, King, Hammond, Knockaert; Taylor-Fletcher, Schlupp
Manchester City made a relatively slow start to their campaign under their new manager Manuel Pellegrini, but are now firing on all cylinders at the moment. The Citizens currently have the most lethal attack in the league and are scoring for fun. City have already scored 50 goals at home in just 12 games in all competitions this season and Etihad has turned into a fortress for them. But it is their poor away form in the league, which has been their main concern. City have won only two of their eight matches on the road in the league this season and will surely have to improve that in order to lift the title. They are coming into this game on the back of a massive 6-2 win over Arsenal at the Etihad stadium and have cut down the lead at the top. They are currently fourth in the table and just three points behind the leaders.
In the last round Manchester City defeated Newcastle United away from home as Alvaro Negredo and Edin Dzeko scored in extra-time. This is their 15th League Cup quarter-final appearance and they along with Chelsea are now the favourites to lift this trophy this season.
Manchester City did pay a big price for their win over Arsenal as Sergio Aguero picked up a calf injury at the start of the second half and will now be side-lined for more than a month. He joins Stevan Jovetic, Micah Richards and Matija Nastasic in the injury list that Pellegrini has to contain with presently.
Pellegrini is expected to make as many as eight changes to the side he fielded against Arsenal at the weekend. Joe Hart will return in goal, while Joleon Lescott replaces Martin Demichelis at the center of the defence. Aleksandar Kolarov will start at left-back in place of Clichy, while Rodwell and Garcia form the pivot in front of the defence. Pellegrini will switch to a 4-2-3-1 formation for this game as he looks to rest Negredo. Dzeko will lead the attack with Navas, Nasri and Milner behind him.
Expected starting line-up (4-2-3-1): Hart (GK); Zabaleta, Kompany, Lescott, Kolarov; Garcia, Rodwell; Milner, Nasri, Navas; Dzeko
Players to watch out for: Lloyd Dyer (Leicester City); Jack Rodwell (Manchester City)
Prediction: Leicester City 1-2 Manchester City