Manchester City are set to embark on their most important game of the season so far when they meet Leicester City, with a win needed to keep pace with Liverpool.
Liverpool’s last-gasp win over Newcastle United took the Premier League title race into the final matchday of the season, even though Manchester City are yet to play their game of the matchweek. Pep Guardiola’s men are two points behind Liverpool at the summit and know very well that a result other than a win will be completely unacceptable.
City have been on an incredible winning run in the league, with 12 consecutive wins. This run has helped them take control of the title race as Liverpool dropped points to hand City the initiative. However, an unfortunate result against Brendan Rodgers’ men would prove fatal for their title hopes because as things stand, City’s fate remains in their own hands.
Leicester City, on the other hand, would come into this clash with the reigning champions on the back of an impressive 3-0 win over Arsenal in the last matchday. Brendan Rodgers has helped develop a different style of attacking football with the Foxes and will be relishing the challenge posed by Manchester City.
Leicester are still somewhat in the hunt for the seventh spot on the table, which could possibly allow them the luxury of European football next season. They remain five points behind seventh-placed Wolves, with a game in hand. Leicester will be hoping to spoil City’s title challenge, although it will be a difficult task given the form Guardiola’s side are in currently.
Team News & Tactics
Kevin De Bruyne is out for the home side as he continues his injury-affected season at Manchester City. Guardiola will be hoping the Belgian is fit for their final encounter which could possibly decide the Premier League title.
De Bruyne’s void in midfield could be filled by Bernardo Silva as he has done so many times this season from a central midfield position. Bernardo’s move to midfield might open up space for another attacker to start, with the likes of Leroy Sane and Riyad Mahrez all pushing for a place.
Fernandinho is also a significant doubt for City and could be replaced by Ilkay Gundogan in the holding midfield position. Additionally, Benjamin Mendy is subject to new fitness problems, and he may not play again this season. Either way, City have Oleksandr Zinchenko to play at left-back, and the Ukrainian has played admirably this season.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Ederson; Walker, Stones, Laporte, Zinchenko; B.Silva, Gundogan, D.Silva; Sterling, Aguero, Sane
Brendan Rodgers has a clean bill of health in his squad as Daniel Amartey is the only injury absentee. A full-strength squad generally would mean a selection headache, although Rodgers could take a cue from his last lineup that comfortably beat Arsenal.
One of those hoping to retain their place from the last game would be Hamza Choudhury, who played rather well against Arsenal. But it will be upto Rodgers to decide his position as the midfielder only started his first game since January.
In defence, Wes Morgan is reportedly back in the squad, but Rodgers will likely continue with Jonny Evans in his place after the Northern Ireland defender was rock solid against Arsenal. In attack, the likes of Demarai Gray and Harvey Barnes will be hoping to get a spot in the starting lineup and could be selections if Rodgers decides on shuffling his pack from the last game.
Probable Lineup (4-5-1): Schmeichel; Pereira, Evans, Maguire, Chilwell; Albrighton, Tielemans, Ndidi, Choudhury, Maddison; Vardy
- Manchester City have won three of their last four Premier League meetings with Leicester, though they did lose the reverse fixture 1-2 back in December.
- Leicester are looking to complete the top-flight double over Manchester City for the first time since the 1986-87 campaign, while they’re also looking to do the double against the reigning top-flight champions for the first time since 1985-86 against Everton.
- Manchester City have won three of their last four Premier League home games against Leicester, having lost their first three such games against the Foxes.
- Manchester City have won each of their last 12 Premier League games – it’s the fifth run of a team winning 12+ games in a row in the competition’s history, with Man City the only side to have done so twice.
- Leicester have never won away from home on a Monday in the Premier League, drawing three and losing eight of their 11 such matches.
1. Manchester City vs. Leicester – Manchester City Asian Handicap – 1.5 @ 1.500
2. Manchester City vs. Leicester – Both Teams to Score – YES @ 1.80
Player to Watch
The Argentine striker has been a decisive figure at Manchester City for as long as he’s been here. But this season is different from the ones that he starred in, helping City win three Premier League titles before. This is the tightest title race in more than five years, and Aguero will be expected to rekindle the spirit of City’s first ever title win.
The striker is also very much in the race for the Golden Boot, although he finds himself behind Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah and on par with Sadio Mane with 20 strikes this season. City need Aguero to be at his best, and the Argentine has rarely failed to deliver when it matters. Will he be decisive against Leicester and if City wins against the Foxes then on the final day as well?
Manchester City 3-1 Leicester City
Leicester were a thorn in Manchester City’s challenge against Liverpool earlier in the season when they recorded a terrific victory over Guardiola’s team. That loss for City opened up the title race, and Liverpool took due advantage of the situation. This time, however, the stakes are really high that Guardiola will be expected to deliver the goods under enormous pressure.
City will be expected to win by a decent margin by their own standards and Leicester, although their apparent quality will not be able to match their opponents. Three points on the cards for Manchester City is what we predict, with the home side likely to score more than two goals in this game.