The Premier League’s top two meet in an intriguing lunchtime kick-off at the Etihad, with City needing a win to go level on points with Leicester at the top of the table.
City stole the headlines on deadline day with news of the impending arrival of Pep Guardiola, but for now the focus must remain on winning a second Premier League title under the management of Manuel Pellegrini; a victory over their nearest challengers this weekend would go some way to improving their chances of doing just that.
Pellegrini’s side are unbeaten in seven matches since Christmas, and their home record makes for impressive reading; no team has picked up more points on their own turf than Manchester City (28), whilst they average nearly three goals a game at the Etihad.
They also have an impressive recent record against the Foxes; they haven’t lost in the last nine meetings between these two teams, with Leicester’s last win coming back in 2003, when Paul Dickov and Marcus Bent were amongst the scorers in a 3-0 win.
An inspired performance from talismanic striker Jamie Vardy saw Leicester beat Liverpool in midweek in what was regarded as the first of a trio of games that would determine whether their title challenge could last the distance; having overcome the first hurdle, tricky matches at the Etihad and the Emirates now follow.
Despite their poor record against this weekend’s opponents, Ranieri’s side held their own in the goalless draw between the two in December and whilst City have the best home record in the league, no-one can match Leicester on their travels; the Foxes have picked up 25 points on the road this season.
Vardy’s brace against Liverpool took him to 18 league goals for the season, and if he continues at this rate he could become the first Englishman to hit 30 goals in a Premier League season since Kevin Phillips at the turn of the century.
Jesus Navas picked up a knock in City’s midweek win at Sunderland, and the Spanish winger is a doubt for Saturday’s top-of-the-table clash. Kevin de Bruyne, Vincent Kompany, Samir Nasri, Eliaquim Mangala and Wilfried Bony are also out, but Fabian Delph is in contention to return.
For the visitors, only long-term absentees Matty James and Jeffrey Schlupp remain on the treatment table, whilst Ranieri will decide whether to call up Daniel Amartey, the Ghanaian midfielder signed from FC Copenhagen in January.
League Positions: Manchester City – 2nd (47 pts); Leicester – 1st (50 pts)
Previous Meeting: Leicester 0-0 Manchester City – December 29, 2015
League Form: Manchester City – DWDWDW; Leicester – DDWDWW
Key Players: Manchester City – Sergio Aguero; Leicester – Jamie Vardy
Shoot Says: Manchester City 2-1 Leicester