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Preview: Manchester City vs. Leicester City

Sports Mole previews Man City's Premier League visit of Leicester as the champions look to bounce back from a disappointing week to keep themselves in the title race.

Manchester City's Premier League title hopes are hanging by a thread ahead of Wednesday's visit of Leicester City.

The champions are five points behind leaders Chelsea, who have a game in hand, having missed the chance to cut the gap in defeat to Liverpool over the weekend.

Amid criticism of his tactics, Manuel Pellegrini claimed that only "two beautiful goals" were the difference as the Reds emerged 2-1 winners at Anfield.

However, City once again left themselves too open and exposed their lack of pace and energy as they failed to learn from the mistakes that they made against Barcelona in the Champions League only five days earlier.

Their 2-1 home defeat to the Spanish giants and their setback on Merseyside leave the Citizens facing the very realistic possibility that they end the season trophyless, although Pellegrini may be able to take respite in their upcoming fixtures.

City follow up their match against the bottom-of-the-table Foxes with a trip to relegation-threatened Burnley and games against West Bromwich Albion and Crystal Palace, so will expect to still be in the title race come April.

Leicester are fighting on a completely different front and are at risk of being cut adrift after picking up just one point from a possible 15 - a 2-2 draw against Everton in which they were denied victory by a late own goal.

Nigel Pearson's side had the weekend off and so an unchanged side could head refreshed to the Etihad Stadium for the reverse of December's tightly-contested encounter in which Frank Lampard's goal was enough for City.

The visitors have shown that they will not roll over for the top sides - they are yet to lose by greater than a two-goal margin this season - and will be hoping that the luck that has eluded them at times could help towards another famous Manchester scalp.

The experience of the fit-again Matthew Upson and January signing Robert Huth will be valuable in their newly-adopted back five, behind whom Mark Schwarzer will continue to deputise for the recovering Kasper Schmeichel.

David Nugent and Jamie Vardy both made an impact as substitutes against the Toffees, but may have to settle for places on the bench again as Pearson keeps faith with £10m club-record buy Andrej Kramaric in attack.

Pellegrini's 4-4-2 formation has worked perfectly well against the division's lesser sides and therefore the City boss could again partner Sergio Aguero with Edin Dzeko, although Wilfried Bony is pushing for a full debut.

The inclusion of the Ivorian, who arrived from Swansea City for £26m in the winter transfer window, could be the only City change, with Fernandinho anchoring a midfield also consisting of Yaya Toure, David Silva and Samir Nasri.

Man City:

Form in Premier League: LDDWWL
Form in all competitions: DDWWLL

Possible starting lineup: Hart; Zabaleta, Kompany, Mangala, Kolarov; Nasri, Toure, Fernandinho, Silva; Aguero, Bony


Form in Premier League: WLLLLD
Form in all competitions: WLLLLD

Possible starting lineup: Schwarzer; Simpson, Morgan, Huth, Upson; Konchesky; Mahrez, James, Cambiasso, Schlupp; Kramaric

Sports Mole says: 2-1


Who will win Wednesday's Premier League clash between Man City and Leicester at the Etihad Stadium?

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Liverpool's English midfielder Jordan Henderson celebrates after scoring the opening goal of during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Manchester City at the Anfield stadium in Liverpool, north west England, on March 1, 2015
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