Second place Leicester City will travel to the Etihad to face third place Manchester City, in the penultimate home of match of 2019 on Saturday evening, as City go in search of their 1000th top-flight home victory.
In a week in which the Blues booked their places in the last four of the Carabao Cup for a third successive season, it was matters off the field that stole the headlines. Pep Guardiola’s right-hand man, Mikel Arteta, completed a move to North London to manage Arsenal. Rodolfo Borrell, who is already part of Guardiola’s staff, is rumoured to be promoted to the role of assistant manager following Arteta’s departure.
Manchester City have been handed a major boost ahead of the weekend’s fixture as Sergio Aguero could make his return, after training with the rest of the squad following a thigh injury in last month’s win over Chelsea. John Stones could also return to the match day squad after recovering from a hamstring injury. City will remain without club captain David Silva as well as defender Aymeric Laporte and winger Leroy Sané.
Brendan Rodgers doesn’t have any new injury concerns, with Matty James the only Leicester player unavailable for the game.
Head to Head
City have won six of the last seven matches against Leicester in all competitions, and four of their last five in the Premier League. The most recent exception was Boxing Day of last year, when the Foxes came from behind to win in what was a frightful festive period for the Blues. However, the last time City hosted Leicester, a wonder strike from Vincent Kompany put City within three points of retaining the Premier League title.
Overall, there’s been 118 meetings, with City winning 59, drawing 29 and losing 30. The Blues have a far superior goal record in matches against Leicester, having scored 222 times compared to their 160.
A win on Saturday would put City within one point of second place Leicester, but leave the potential for a 13 point gap between leaders Liverpool and the chasing pack. Guardiola’s side have already lost four times as many games as they had at this stage last season, with three wins from their last five league matches – the latest victory being a Kevin De Bruyne masterclass at the Emirates last weekend.
Leicester City have had their best ever start to a season and have four wins from their last five games. They have suffered draws to both Norwich and Everton in the past week, despite eventually winning on penalties in the League cup on Wednesday. Rodgers has the league’s top scorer in Jamie Vardy, and also the best defence, with seven clean sheets so far.
Pep Guardiola will likely ring the changes from the League cup quarter-final against Oxford on Wednesday, but may also reverse back to a 4-3-3 style formation compared to the 4-2-3-1 used by Pep at Arsenal – which allowed for De Bruyne to play in a more attacking role. Leicester enjoy playing in a slightly abnormal 4-1-2–1-2 formation, which allows for stability and numbers at the back, but also pace and width coming forward.
Mike Dean will take charge of his 496th Premier League match on Saturday and will be joined by assistants Darren Cann and Dan Robathen. Andrew Madley, who took charge of the midweek cup tie at Oxford, will be the fourth official, while Andre Marriner and Andy Halliday will be at the VAR hub at Stockley Park.
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