Feb 6, 2016 at 12.45pm UK at ​Etihad Stadium
Man CityManchester City
1-3
LeicesterLeicester City
Aguero (87')
Zabaleta (69'), Fernando (72')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Huth (3', 60'), Mahrez (48')
Morgan (36'), Simpson (46')

Preview: Manchester City vs. Leicester City

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Premier League top-of-the-table clash between Manchester City and Leicester City at the Etihad.

First visits second in the Premier League this weekend as Leicester City travel to Manchester City in arguably the biggest game of the season to date.

The Foxes will enter Saturday's match three points clear of Man City at the summit and knowing that another positive result would further increase suggestions that they could secure their ever first Premier League title.


Man City

Outgoing manager Manuel Pellegrini watches on during the Premier League game between Sunderland and Manchester City on February 2, 2016© Getty Images

Pep Guardiola might be the future of Manchester City - with the Spaniard due to take charge of the English club at the end of the season - but Manuel Pellegrini has a job to do in his final months in the hot-seat. It has been far from a water-tight campaign for Man City, but with the finish line drawing ever closer, they are very much in the mix for the title.

Sergio Aguero's return to fitness and indeed form has been a timely boost for Man City, with the Argentine netting his 12th goal in his last 10 league matches against Sunderland on Tuesday to ensure that Pellegrini's side collected all the points and remained in second spot in the table. The focus here is on Man City and Leicester, but there are four teams currently in the title race, or indeed five if Manchester United, who sit 10 points off the summit, can find a run of form.

Just five points separate the leaders Leicester from fourth-placed Arsenal and Man City's superior goal difference means that they would take charge with victory over the Foxes this weekend. It will not come as much of a surprise that Man City have the best home record in the league this season, winning nine of their 12 matches and scoring 33 times in the process. Indeed, only one team (Everton) have stopped Man City from scoring in their last 27 competitive games on home soil.

Man City are also currently on a seven-game unbeaten run in the Premier League having not suffered a reverse since losing at Arsenal before Christmas. They have drawn three of their last six in the top flight, however, including a 0-0 draw when they travelled to Leicester on December 29. Away form has been a problem, but they have been strong at home.

No team has taken charge of the title race this season, but the next few weeks could be vital for Man City. After this one, their next league match is at home to Tottenham (February 14), before they travel to Liverpool at the start of March. A positive total from their next three would leave them sitting pretty ahead of back-to-back matches against Aston Villa and Norwich City.

Man City also have a very strong record against Leicester - winning four of the last five meetings between the two sides, including a 2-0 success at the Etihad last season. In fact, Leicester have not scored in their last three Premier League matches against Man City, but the Foxes are a different prospect this season.

Recent form: DWDWDW
Recent form (all competitions): DWDWWW


Leicester

Jamie Vardy is congratulated by teammates after scoring the goal of the century during the Premier League game between Leicester and Liverpool on February 2, 2016© Getty Images

Man City might have the best home record in the league this season, but no team has taken more points on the road than Leicester (25), who are enjoying an extraordinary season. It had been thought that the Foxes would fall away in the second half of the campaign, but with the home straight not too far away, they lead the division by three points.

It would still be a major surprise if they managed to take the title, but they are also 10 points clear of fifth-placed Man United in the race for fourth, which would be a remarkable achievement for a team that were almost relegated last term. Talk of the title has been banned from the Leicester training ground, but a positive result here and indeed in their next match against Arsenal would silence the doubters and leave the supporters dreaming.

Leicester have only lost twice in the league this season and have only been beaten in one of their last 15 away league matches, winning nine times in the process. There have been a number of impressive performers throughout the campaign, but the accolades will rightly go to Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez. Both were in fine form on Tuesday night as Leicester recorded a 2-0 win over Liverpool to ensure that they would enter this match top of the pile.

Indeed, without Vardy's 18 league goals this season, Leicester would be 18 points worse off. Mahrez, meanwhile, has scored 13 league goals and provided nine assists, including a sensational pass for Vardy's first against Liverpool at the King Power. The Foxes were last beaten in the league at Liverpool on Boxing Day, but since then, they have picked up 12 points.

As mentioned, Leicester's next match after this one is away to Arsenal. The next two could well determine whether Ranieri's side can win the title, but if they get through the next two unscathed, they have a very good run of fixtures. Their final three league games are very tough, however, travelling to Manchester United and Chelsea, and also hosting Everton.

Ranieri paid tribute to Man City at his pre-match press conference ahead of this match, claiming that the home side have 'a number of magicians' that are capable of deciding the outcome at any given moment. The Italian wants the Leicester supporters to "continue to dream", however, as they chase down what would be an incredible story in the English game.

Recent form: DDWDWW
Recent form (all competitions): DWDLWW


Team News

Sergio Aguero celebrates during the game between Man City and Crystal Palace on January 16, 2016© Getty Images

Pellegrini handed a rare Premier League start to Nigerian teenager Kelechi Iheanacho against Sunderland, but the 19-year-old is expected to drop out as the home side revert to a single-striker formation.

Aleksandar Kolarov is also expected to replace Gael Clichy at left-back, while Fernando could be introduced alongside Fernandinho, with Yaya Toure moving into a more forward position.

Raheem Sterling is also in line for a start ahead of Spanish international Jesus Navas.

As for Leicester, Ranieri revealed on Thursday that January signing Daniel Amartey is in line to make his debut, although that is expected to come from the bench.

The Italian has no fresh injury concerns from the Liverpool match, however, and is not expected to make too many changes, which should mean another start in the final third for Shinji Okazaki.

Man City possible starting lineup:
Hart; Sagna, Otamendi, Demichelis, Kolarov; Fernandinho, Fernando; Silva, Toure, Sterling; Aguero

Leicester possible starting lineup:
Schmeichel; Simpson, Morgan, Huth, Fuchs; Albrighton, Drinkwater, Kante, Mahrez; Vardy, Okazaki


Head To Head

In terms of the recent meetings between the two teams, Man City have won four of the last five matches in all competitions, including a 2-0 success at the Etihad in the league last season.

As mentioned, the points were shared in a 0-0 draw at the King Power in December, but Leicester have not beaten Man City since a Premier League clash in November 2003, when they recorded a 3-0 victory away from home.


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We say: Man City 2-1 Leicester

It is a very tough game to call as the best home record in the league meets the best away record. Leicester have shown their credentials as title challengers this season, but it is tough to back against Man City on home soil.

We are expecting it to be another close match between the top two teams in the division, but Aguero could make the difference in a narrow Man City victory, which would see them return to the top of the table.


Who will win Saturday's clash at the Etihad?

Man City
Draw
Leicester
Man City
53.7%
Draw
20.3%
Leicester
26.1%
Outgoing manager Manuel Pellegrini watches on during the Premier League game between Sunderland and Manchester City on February 2, 2016
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Arsenal00000000
2Bournemouth00000000
3Burnley00000000
4Chelsea00000000
5Crystal Palace00000000
6Everton00000000
7Hull City00000000
8Leicester CityLeicester00000000
9Liverpool00000000
10Manchester CityMan City00000000
11Manchester UnitedMan Utd00000000
12Middlesbrough00000000
13Southampton00000000
14Stoke CityStoke00000000
15Sunderland00000000
16Swansea CitySwansea00000000
17Tottenham HotspurSpurs00000000
18Watford00000000
19West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom00000000
20West Ham UnitedWest Ham00000000
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