Goooood morning sports fans! Matchday 25 in the Premier League begins with an absolute corker as the top two do battle at the Etihad. LOADS to get through before kickoff in an hour, but let's start with the breaking team news...
CITY XI: Hart; Zabaleta, Otamendi, Demichelis, Kolarov; Toure, Fernandinho, Delph; Silva, Sterling; Aguero
Subs: Caballero, Clichy, Sagna, A.Garcia, Fernando, Celina, Iheanacho
LEICESTER XI: Schmeichel; Simpson, Morgan, Huth, Fuchs; Mahrez, Kante, Drinkwater, Albrighton; Okazaki, Vardy
Subs: Schwarzer, King, Gray, Ulloa, Dyer, Wasilewski, Chilwell
Starting with the home side, Manuel Pellegrini
makes four changes to his starting lineup from the midweek win at Sunderland. At full-back, Pablo Zabaleta and Aleksandara Kolarov come in for Bacary Sagna and Gael Clichy, while further forward it's Fabian Delph and Raheem Sterling for Jesus Navas and Kelechi Iheanacho.
Much more settled from Claudio Ranieri
, who picks the same XI that started Tuesday night's 2-0 home win over Liverpool.
So there we go, the two teams are in and you'd probably say that both are as strong as they could be. City are still missing captain Vincent Kompany and the league's top scorer Jamie Vardy
will be looking to thrive against the sometimes-shaky pairing of Nicolas Otamendi and Martin Demichelis.© Getty Images
STAT: Vardy has scored the opening goal of a Premier League game on eight occasions this season; more often than any other player.
The Englishman was at it again in midweek, netting both goals in a convincing win
over Liverpool. The first was undoubtedly a contender for goal of the season as Vardy volleyed spectacularly over Simon Mignolet from long range. What a season the former non-league frontman is having!
Anyone who says Leicester should not be top of the pile is barking up the wrong tree. We are 24 games into the season now and the Foxes sit three clear of their opponents today and an impressive 10 above Manchester United outside the top four. Just look at this passing from Tuesday's win!
As well as being able to see the full Premier League table if you click here
, you'll also notice the home and away tables if you scroll down a little. City have the best home record, Leicester the top away haul. This should
be an absolute belter today.
HOWEVER, everyone though the same when these two last met just over a month ago at the King Power and it was one of those games where both sides approached it quite cautiously and it ended in a drab 0-0 draw
HOME AND AWAY: City have won 16 of their last 19 Premier League games at the Etihad (W16 D1 L2), while Leicester have lost just one of their last 15 Premier League away games (W9 D5 L1). *licks lips*
Earlier this week it was transfer deadline day and although neither side made any last-gasp signings, it was City who stole all the headlines by announcing that Pep Guardiola
would replace Manuel Pellegrini
at the end of the season. HUGE news for the Premier League and City, who have undoubtedly secured the services of one of this generation's brighest managers.
Guardiola's impending arrival was the main point of discussion on The Dugout this week. Hit play below to have a listen, or find out how to subscribe so you never miss an episode here
As of today, Leicester have spent 47 days on top of the Premier League in 2015-16; only opponents Manchester City
have spent longer in first place this season (100 days).
The head-to-head record between these two suggests that it will be City who prevail today. The Citizens are unbeaten in their last nine matches against Leicester in all competitions (W5, D4) and the Foxes have failed to score in the last three league meetings.
After Chelsea (8), these two have the second and third-best unbeaten runs in the Premier League. City are without defeat in seven, while Leicester haven't lost in six.
It's a wet day in the North-West!
The reverse disappointed big time, but surely we'll get goals today? In Vardy, Aguero and Mahrez we have 45 of this year's Premier League goals, with Vardy having scored three in two and 12 of Aguero's 13 league goals coming in his last 10 appearances 🔥
Leicester will do well to stop Aguero and City today - only one team (Everton on 13th January 2016) have stopped them from scoring in the last 27 competitive matches at the Etihad Stadium - but the Foxes have conceded just one goal in their last six Premier League games. Ranieri's men struggled to keep teams out in the first half of the season, but they've been very solid of late.
PREDICTION: Right then folks, time to make my
sure-fire prediction with kickoff only 10 minutes away. Despite Leicester being top of the tree, City and Aguero should be too hot to handle and I'm backing the hosts to win 2-1.
It just can't be 0-0 again today!
Goodness me, the rain really is teeming down in Manchester as the two teams exit the tunnel. Leicester are in their all-black away kit today, with Anthony Taylor
the referee in charge of proceedings.
Just before we get underway, a reminder that Leicester start the weekend on 50 points, three clear of City, who will go top if they earn victory today. North London duo Spurs and Arsenal complete the top four and they are both on 45 points after 24 games.
KICKOFF! Leicester get us underway! Bring it on!
Excellent start from Leicester. Albrighton produces a fine cross from the left that Hart punches clear before Kolarov wipes out Mahrez just outside the right-hand side of the area. Excellent crossing position for the Foxes, with Mahrez, Fuchs and Albrighton all interested in taking it...
GOAL! MAN CITY 0-1 LEICESTER (ROBERT HUTH)
Wow! What a start for the visitors! It's Mahrez who dinks it into the middle and there is Huth to stab it home via a deflection off Demichelis. Incredible!
You have to wonder what City are doing defensively there. Mahrez's ball was allowed to come in pretty low along the six-yard line before Huth turned home.
We know that Leicester are one of the most dangerous sides on the counter-attack and that will be helped by scoring such an early goal. Kante surges forward here but loses his footing just as he was about to feed Mahrez down the right.
Schmeichel out quickly to beat Sterling to a through-ball as City look to respond. Aguero isn't happy after being trodden on a moment ago, but he should be able to shake that off.
CHANCE! The flag stays down as Albrighton dinks over the top for Vardy. The surface is so slippy out there so it quickly gets away from Vardy as he brings it down, so Hart is right there as he tries to stab home.
That free kick puts Mahrez into double figures in the assist column this season. He's got 13 goals as well.
CHANCE! Here they come again! This time it's Mahrez streaking forward on the break. He slips it through to Drinkwater, but once again Hart rushes out to meet the opposition and put it out for a corner.
Fuchs swings over the resulting corner and it reaches Fuchs again, but this time it takes him by surprise and it was on his weaker left foot. City clear.
City look SO nervous at the back. The ball almost breaks for Vardy in the box as City tentatively tip-toe around the Premier League's top scorer. Oh how the Citizens have missed Kompany this season. The Belgian had had a couple of shaky seasons but he looked back to his best this term before suffering his injury problems.
CLOSE! Leicester give Silva far too much space in the box and allow him to cut closer to goal on his right foot before his shot trickles wide of the target. The Spaniard wants a corner and you can see why watching the replay, but Taylor says goal kick.
Well at least we've had an early goal this time around. City are going to have to push for an equaliser and that should give Leicester the freedom they love on the counter. Will it be a case of who can outscore who?
Frenetic pace at the moment, it feels like it's 1-1 in the 89th minute on the last day of the season with both teams needing to win to stay up! Great stuff.
The Foxes celebrate Huth's third-minute strike at the Etihad© Getty Images
CLOSE! How close can you get? Vardy beats Otamendi for pace and crosses low for Okazaki, whose close-range effort on the stretch goes wide.
Free kick to City right on the edge of the box after Zabaleta was tripped. The hosts want a penalty, but it was so close and even hard to tell on the replay if it was in or not.
SHOT! It's wide on the right, but Kolarov can whip it with pace around the wall and it would be going on target but for Huth's superb flicked header to clear out for a corner.
Like a double espresso this is ☕️
Superb again from Huth as he gets the tiniest of flicks on Sterling's cross to take it away from Aguero, who was completely unmarked and ready to nod home.
So as things stand
Leicester are going six clear at the top and a whopping 13 points above Man Utd in fifth. Only an almighty collapse would deny the Foxes Champions League football next season, surely?
SHOT! Aguero shifts the ball to his right to earn half a yard of space and he quickly fires at goal, but Schmeichel does well to hold the ball, especially in the wet conditions.
One thing that is quite noticeable at the Etihad today is the amount of empty light-blue seats. This has been a great game so far between the Premier League's top two, so why is not selling out?
Haha! Kolarov likes to shoot and Leicester give him some space about 25 yards out, but this attempt is hilariously bad as he wildly slices it high into the stand.
Drinkwater wins the ball back off Silva high up the pitch and quickly finds Albrighton out on the left. The former Villa man cuts inside and has a go, but that's a weak effort and simple for Hart.
BOOKING! Leicester captain Morgan on the tightrope now as he goes through the back of Aguero.
Leicester continue to pressurise City without the ball and every time they win it back Vardy immediately spins off his man trying to get in behind.
Another shout for a City penalty as Albrighton bundles clumsily into Fernandinho. Taylor says no, but it certainly could have been given and completely unnecessary from Albrighton.
City ending the half well here as Kolarov's shot is blocked out for a corner after Taylor played an advantage that City might have preferred as a free kick given its proximity to the goal.
CLOSE! Awesome strength and awareness from Aguero as he stays on his feet and puts in a low cross-cum-shot that flies across the six-yard box and away.
Three minutes of added time. Can City equalise before the break?
Last-gasp corner for City, but it comes to nothing and that's that for the opening 45.
HALF-TIME: MAN CITY 0-1 LEICESTER
So it's Huth's scrappy early goal that has the Foxes in front and going SIX POINTS CLEAR at the top of the Premier League. Should be a cracking second half and we'll be back in a quarter of an hour to guide you through it. Don't go anywhere!
Welcome back one and all. Just the one goal in the first half and we're ready to go again in the second, with both teams out early for the second 45. Can City respond, or will Ranieri's Leicester write more headlines?
KICKOFF! Back underway at the Etihad, with no changes from either manager.
BOOKING! Second yellow card in the Leicester backline as Simpson upends Sterling.
CLOSE! Albrighton leads the Leicester charge, bringing the ball about 50 yards through the middle before feeding Vardy on the left. Vardy quickly returns it to his teammate, whose cutback fails to find a fellow black shirt.
GOAL! MAN CITY 0-2 LEICESTER (RIYAD MAHREZ)
Oh my word! Just like in the first half, Leicester score inside three minutes in the second and what a goal it is! Kante stays on his feet superbly in the middle before feeding Mahrez, who rides one challenge before producing a stunning step-over and right-footed finish.
Make that 14 goals and 10 assists for Mahrez this season. He's contributed to more goals than anyone else in the top flight this term.
CHANCE! Nearly three! Albrighton with one of his trademark inswinging crosses from the left that Okazaki gets a slight touch to. Any more than that and it was past Hart.
CITY SUBS: Pellegrini acts quickly, taking off Toure and Delph for Fernando and Iheanacho. The hosts have to go for it now.
SAVE! What a stop! Fernando meets Silva's corner and heads low to the corner where Schmeichel sticks out an instinctive leg to keep the Foxes two to the good.
Kante hesitant on the ball in the area and Sterling wins it back but then gets no power on his attempted shot.
GOAL! MAN CITY 0-3 LEICESTER (ROBERT HUTH)
UN-BE-LIEV-ABLE! Surely that's game over and top spot guaranteed for the weekend as Huth rises well at the back post to meet Fuchs's corner and head back across goal for his second goal of the game. This is incredible.
Replays show that the corner should not have been given, but there was no way that Taylor or the officials could tell that Okazaki made the last touch as he and Demichelis slid in to meet a cross from Vardy. You can't have any qualms about a decision like that.
"We want more!" chant the Leicester fans!
City surely need a goal soon if they are to stage an unlikely fightback and they have a pop at goal, but Fernando's shot is blocked.
CHANCE! Vardy gets in behind the City defence and it's a wonderful ball from Drinkwater. Hart out quickly and he closes down the space before making the save.
Jeers from the City fans as Albrighton comically slips and slices the ball away, but it was brilliant again from Leicester after winning it back. Even at 3-0 in front, Albrighton had three teammates up in support in the area. What a team!
BOOKING! Fernando cautioned for not letting Leicester take a quick free kick.
CLOSE! City know they are beaten and if one team's going to score any more it's Leicester. Fuchs whips it in and Vardy gets across his man before flicking a header wide of the target.
A reminder that City have won 16 of their last 19 Premier League games at the Etihad and only one team (Everton on January 13, 2016) have stopped them from scoring in the last 27 competitive matches at the Etihad Stadium!
A rare sight of goal for Aguero, but his first shot is blocked before he gets it back soon after and has another try deflected straight at Schmeichel.
SUBS: Both teams make a change, with Bersant Celina on for his Premier League debut in place of Silva for City, while Mahrez comes off for Demarai Gray for Leicester.
Albrighton's crossing has been excellent today and he's just produced another gem, this time from the right, that City just about survived. Gray prefers to play on the left, so that's why Albrighton has swapped wings.
CLOSE! Albrighton again delivers, this time low to the near post where Vardy slams it into the side-netting. No goal for Vardy today, but he has been excellent once again.
LEICESTER SUB: And a change up top for the visitors, with Okazaki off and Leonardo Ulloa on.
LEICESTER SUB: This game is well and truly over now as Ranieri makes his final change, swapping Albrighton for Dyer on the wing.
GOAL! MAN CITY 1-3 LEICESTER (SERGIO AGUERO)
Late consolation for the hosts as Celina crosses into the middle and Aguero thunders home a header for his 13th goal in 11 games. Watching it back, he looked clearly offside there.
CHANCE! Simpson doesn't see Aguero and plays a backpass straight to the striker, who touches it around Schmeichel but too far and he loses his balance before shooting wide.
A goal there would have made it VERY interesting in added time, of which there are four minutes.
Fernandinho with a cross to the back post that has Schmeichel back-pedalling, but it drops wide and surely that's that now.
FULL-TIME: MAN CITY 1-3 LEICESTER
What a win! The Foxes go six points clear
at the top of the table with a fully-deserved 3-1 win at the Etihad, where City are usually so formidable.© Getty Images
Thanks very much for joining Sports Mole this afternoon for yet another remarkable chapter in the story of Leicester City, edition 2015-16. I insist that you click around on site to find plenty more live Saturday-afternoon Premier League coverage. Enjoy!