A place in the Carabao Cup semi-finals will be on the line when Manchester City lock horns with Leicester City at the King Power Stadium on Tuesday.
The Carabao Cup is down to its last eight participants, with the four quarter-final fixtures set to be played this week. Holders Manchester City are one of the clubs still in the competition, and will be vying for a place in the semi-finals, when they pay a visit to Leicester City at the King Power Stadium on Tuesday.
Leicester City reached the Last 8 stage courtesy a win over Southampton in the penalty shootouts following a goalless draw in regulation time. The Foxes’ form though, has taken a tumble in recent weeks and three games without a win has seem them fall down to 12th on the Premier League table.
Manchester City, on the other hand, are yet to concede a single goal in the Carabao Cup, having beaten Fulham 2-0 in the Round of 16 stage last time out. The holders will fancy their chances of upstaging Leicester as well, having impressed in their last two fixtures following the shock 2-0 win at the hands of Chelsea.
Coincidentally, Leicester City and Manchester City had also clashed in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals at the King Power Stadium last season, with Pep Guardiola & co. getting the better of the Foxes in a penalty shootout. Ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter.
Team News & Tactics
Claude Puel has a few pressing concerns hampering his preparations for the crucial Carabao Cup tie against Manchester City. On Tuesday, the Leicester City boss is set to be without as many as five first-team players due to injuries or suspension.
The likes of Matty James and Daniel Amartey are long-term absentees, while Ben Chilwell is short of match fitness, and will miss Leicester’s second successive game. Jonny Evans is also unavailable due to suspension, after picking up a booking each against Southampton and Wolves.
Meanwhile, Puel has hinted that he could rest Jamie Vardy, with the striker still not completely recovered from his groin injury. If the former English international does not start, former Manchester City striker Kelechi Iheanacho or Shinji Okazaki could get the chance to lead the line for Leicester.
Playing the support role to the striker should be James Maddison, who was taken off early in the Foxes’ 1-0 loss to Crystal Palace this past weekend. Marc Albrighton though, could be replaced by Rachid Ghezzal, with Demarai Gray keeping his place on the left flank.
In midfield, Wilfred Ndidi is a certain starter, with the player likely to be tasked with breaking up the Manchester City attacks. Giving the Nigerian company in the middle of the park should be Vicente Iborra, who will aim to facilitate smooth transitions from midfield to attack.
There could be a few changes in order at the back as well, with Danny Simpson and Caglar Soyuncu likely to replace Ricardo Pereira and Harry Maguire, while Danny Ward could take Kasper Schmeichel’s place in the Leicester City goal.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Ward; Simpson, Morgan, Soyuncu, Fuchs; Iborra, Ndidi; Ghezzal, Maddison, Gray; Iheanacho
David Silva’s short-term absence due to a hamstring injury remains a major concern for Pep Guardiola, while Benjamin Mendy and Claudio Bravo have played for the final time in 2018. But, the Manchester City boss will be glad to welcome Kevin de Bruyne and Sergio Aguero back into the fold when his side pay Leicester City a visit on Tuesday.
With de Bruyne notching up a few minutes under his belt this past weekend, and Aguero completely rested, one can expect the star duo to feature from the get-go in the Carabao Cup quarter-final tie.
Guardiola is likely to make some shuffles to the rest of his side as well, with the likes of Leroy Sane, Bernardo Silva and Fernandinho expected to be given a rest. In their stead, Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden and Fabian Delph should take up the vacant slots, with Riyad Mahrez likely to keep his place against his former employers.
Brahim Diaz could be an option in place of Mahrez as well. But, it will be interesting to see if the Spaniard features at all, with his future at Manchester City being up in the air.
The back four though, could bear a completely new look. Vincent Kompany was not a part of the matchday squad against Everton, while Stones did not feature either. The two should line up at the heart of the Manchester City defence.
Oleksandr Zinchenko is likely to be named as the left-back, with Delph moving into midfield and Mendy unavailable. Kyle Walker could be rested as well, with Danilo available to take his place on the right. In the Manchester City goal, Arijanet Muric is set to be handed another chance to impress in the absence of Bravo.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Muric; Danilo, Kompany, Stones, Zinchenko; de Bruyne, Delph, Foden; Mahrez, Aguero, Sterling
- Leicester have been eliminated from all four of their previous League Cup meetings with Manchester City, including a penalty shootout defeat in the very same round last season.
- Manchester City have gone on to win the League Cup the last two times they’ve faced Leicester in the League Cup – knocking them out at the quarter-final stage in both 2013-14 and 2017-18.
- Leicester are looking to reach the League Cup semi-finals for the first time since 1999-00, when they went on to win the competition.
- Both Manchester City and Leicester City are yet to concede a goal in this season’s Carabao Cup.
- Leicester’s last two Carabao Cup games have been decided on penalties – only Liverpool and Stoke City in 2015-16 and Cardiff in 2011-12 have had three games go to penalties in a single edition of the competition.
Player to Watch
With Manchester City yet to face Leicester City in the Premier League this season, an intriguing return has been put on hold for quite some time. Riyad Mahrez exited the King Power Stadium after a long battle to join the Carabao Cup holders, following the failure of a move in the January transfer window.
Back to his old stomping ground, the Algerian could be given a jarring reception by the Leicester City faithful, and it will be interesting to see how he reacts. Mahrez’s settling in period at Manchester City has been quite a stretched one. But, the Carabao Cup tie against his former employers might just be the catalyst to spring him into life in Pep Guardiola’s side.
Leicester City 1-2 Manchester City
As has often been the case with Pep Guardiola in cup competitions, the Manchester City side should be a much changed from the one that started against Everton. But, with Sergio Aguero and Kevin de Bruyne in tow, and with the likes of Phil Foden and Riyad Mahrez aching to make a point, the visitors might just be comfortable for large parts of the game.
Leicester City though, are no pushovers, although their recent form is a bit of a concern heading into the Carabao Cup quarter-final tie. This could be a compelling contest, with the hosts being egged on by a raucous King Power Stadium. But, Manchester City should have enough quality to notch up a narrow win and progress to the semi-finals, once again at the expense of the Foxes.