Soccer Betting News - SA's Leading Soccer Betting Newspaper: Leicester City vs Manchester City Preview

Leicester City vs Manchester City Preview

Jamie Vardy and Kevin De Bruyne

The race for the English Premier League title is over. Liverpool will finish in pole position, currently 25 points ahead, and will inevitably be crowned champions. If we remove the champions from the equation, we have a fascinating race for the other three UEFA Champions League spots

However, last Friday night, UEFA announced that Manchester City have been banned from the Champions League for two seasons. The Arab-owned club must also pay a fine of 30 million Euros for breaching UEFA Financial Fair Play regulations. City will further appeal the sanction with the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

This has changed the fortunes of possibly seven or eight teams that are playing catch-up and are waiting in the wings for the teams above them to drop points. Supporters of the chasing pack of teams would love for this encounter to finish with both sides claiming a share of the spoils or a City win.

Just four days after this visit to the King Power Stadium, Pep Guardiola’s charges will face 13-times UCL winners Real Madrid in Spain. After back-to-back league titles over the last two seasons, the master tactician knows his priority is to now win the Champions League as this will probably be the club’s last chance for another few years.

It has been his main objective since being appointed manager in 2016. He will obviously have one eye on the first-leg encounter in his home land where he has beaten Real Madrid many times with Barcelona, but suffered a 1-0 loss the only time he visited with City.

Leicester come in to the clash with eight days rest, having previously played Wolves on Valentine’s Day, while City had to square off against West Ham United on Wednesday with only 48 hours to recover. 

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English Premier League
Saturday 22 February 
King Power Stadium 

To Win 
Leicester City 33/10
Draw 31/10
Manchester City 15/20

Leicester City

Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers has made some good decisions since joining the Foxes and the club are reaping the benefits of his genius. Signing midfielder Youri Tielemans on a permanent contract following his good showing while on loan the previous season was a stroke of brilliance. Many top teams were chasing the young Belgian’s signature but he chose to continue his development with the Foxes. 

Another acquisition that has been impressive is Ayoze Perez who is settling in quite nicely, already bagging seven goals and five assists in the league and Caglar Soyuncu who has seamlessly cemented his spot at centre-back that previously belonged to Harry Maguire. 

James Maddison is the creative wizard that can create clear-cut chances from open play and his delivery and shots from set-pieces have made many fans liken the young Englishman to David Beckham. 

Ben Chilwell and Ricardo Pereira bring another dimension at the full-back positions with five goals and five assists between them in the league. They are proper defenders that can hurt you on the counter-attack when given the license to bomb forward. 

They are all very important pieces of the Leicester puzzle but striker Jamie Vardy is still their main man. He’s proven it time and again, scoring 17 league goals so far this term.

Rodgers will be sweating on the fitness of Wilfred Ndidi who was recovering from a knee injury and is the obvious replacement for Hamza Choudury, who was sent off for two bookable offences against Wolves.

Expect the Foxes to be a tough nut to crack. They are completely focused on consolidating their current position as a Champions League team. Portuguese defender Pereira recently commented on the club’s official website, saying: “anything can happen in these couple of months, so it’s important to keep our feet on the ground and keep working.”

City have failed to beat the Foxes during their last three visits in all competitions, drawing twice and tasting defeat once. 

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Manchester City

Manchester City and Guardiola have become victims of their own extremely high standards. The Citizens have won seven of the last eight trophies available to English teams. The Sky Blues accumulated 197 points from a possible 228 points, scoring 211 goals over the last two seasons.

Their focus will be on the UCL after Guardiola claimed two weeks ago that City could sack him if he failed to beat Real Madrid in the Last 16 stage of the Champions League. He has failed to take his team past the quarter-final stage for the last four seasons of the tournament.

City have the most expensive and one of the most talented squads in the history of the Premier League, so any type of squad rotation still leaves their team with plenty of quality that is capable of scoring goals and winning football matches. 

The biggest problem facing the Citizens this season is the injury to defender Aymeric Laporte. A key player for Guardiola that has only completed three full league games at the start of the season. Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho has been filling in at central defence in his absence. It is very unlikely that Laporte will be risked if he is fit in time for this game. 

To compound City’s issues, Leroy Sane has also been missing in action since suffering knee ligament damage at the very beginning of the season. Raheem Sterling has also been affected with a hamstring injury and will be a doubt for this encounter.

Kevin De Bruyne is arguably the best player in the Premier League and will also be rested or given a 20 to 30-minute cameo along with David Silva if the team are trailing and need goals. Ilkay Gundogan is expected to start alongside Rodrigo and Phil Foden. Gabriel Jesus could also have a starting role ahead of Sergio Aguero, with the match against Real Madrid in mind.

Probable line-ups:

Leicester City: 4-1-4-1
Schmeichel; Pereira, Soyuncu, Evans, Chilwell; Ndidi; Perez, Tielemans, Maddison, Barnes; Vardy.

Manchester City: 4-3-3
Ederson; Cancelo, Otamendi, Stones, Mendy; Rodrigo, Foden, Gundogan; Mahrez, Bernardo Silva, Jesus.

Prediction: Half-Time/Full-Time: Draw/Man City (37/10)
It’s been difficult to beat Leicester on the own patch since the start of the season. However, the Foxes have only won once, drawn twice and lost twice in their last five home games in the league. Expect them to give nothing away in the first half – Leicester have gone into the half-time break all square eight times and have led three times from their 14 homes games. City should finish off Leicester in the second half. Back Draw-Man City in the Half-Time/Full-Time market.

Written by Bryan Naicker