Manchester City vs Leicester City preview: Champions aiming to reclaim top spot against in-form Foxes
Ben Chilwell competes with Bernardo Silva for possession | Photo: Getty/ Manchester City FC

Manchester City vs Leicester City preview: Champions aiming to reclaim top spot against in-form Foxes

Pep Guardiola's men could take another step towards retaining the Premier League crown as they take on Leicester City at the Etihad Stadium.

Daniel Orme

Manchester City take on Leicester City on Monday night at the Etihad Stadium looking to regain top spot in the Premier League table. 

The title race is guaranteed to go to the final day of the season following Liverpool's late win over Newcastle United on Saturday, however a victory over the Foxes could go some way in making sure the title heads back to Manchester. Reds' fans then will be looking on with intrigue to see if former boss Brendan Rodgers can do them a favour in the battle for title. 

However, the Foxes will have their own targets as they head up to Manchester. Leicester still have a chance to finish in seventh in the Premier League table and potentially earn a place in next season's UEFA Europa League so will be keen to claim three points.

Key Battle

Two young players in particular could decide the outcome of this match. Raheem Sterling, recently named the PFA Young Player of the Year, is enjoying the season of his life having scored 23 goals and provided 17 goals assists in all competitions. A threat on both flanks, the 24-year-old has been causing plenty of problems for defences around the country this year. 

His direct competition is likely to be Leicester's young defender Ben Chilwell. The left-back has managed to shake off the challenge of Christian Fuchs and is now the first-choice at the King Power Stadium. Capable in defence but also confident when going forwards, leading to links earlier this season with a move to this Monday's opponents, Chilwell has been one of the breakout stars of the season.

The 22-year-old will be given a severe test going up against Sterling throughout the 90 minutes but should he succeed, then the Foxes might have a great chance in picking up a positive result.

What happened last time?

Leicester have already got the better of Manchester City once in the league so far this season, winning 2-1 at the King Power Stadium back in December during Claude Puel's tenure in charge. Coming together on Boxing Day, the Citizens needed to cut the gap back to Liverpool having lost their last game to Crystal Palace.

It looked like Guardiola's troops were in for a relatively straight-forward evening as Bernardo Silva gave the visitors an early lead by slotting home. However, Leicester were level only five minutes later as Marc Albrighton guided an excellent header home.

They snatched a late winner as full-back Ricardo Pereira picked up a loose ball on the edge of the penalty area and smashed home a stunning strike beyond Ederson to claim the three points. City were reduced to ten men late on as Fabian Delph crunched in on the Portuguese defender and earned his marching orders.

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Team News

Guardiola could be missing a few key players for the match. Midfielder Fernandinho is suffering with a knee injury and is a doubt to make the matchday squad. Kevin De Bruyne, who has had a hand in five goals in his last seven games against the Foxes, is definitely out with a hamstring injury. Long-term absentee Claudio Bravo also remains on the sidelines.

Elsewhere, Rodgers only has only one injured player to concern himself with for the trip up to the Etihad Stadium. Daniel Amartey, who broke his ankle back in October, is still out and remains unlikely to make an appearance for the rest of the season.

Meanwhile, Jamie Vardy will once again hope to have an impact on this game. The English striker has already hit 18 goals in league so far this season and has five strikes in his last seven games against the Citizens so will hope to add to his count again. 

Managers' Thoughts

Despite the Citizens' pushing for a title, City boss Guardiola believes Rodgers' side will not be push overs on Monday evening and praised the job that the Northern-Irishman has done at the King Power Stadium since arriving from Celtic

Talking in his press conference, he said: "Brendan shows his incredible qualities as a manager that in two months his team already play the way they want to play.

"They have incredible quality, they are so fast. I saw the last three games and I was really impressed. The players know it is an incredible task but it is a final for us. Hopefully the people can help us to make a good performance."

Rodgers has suggested that the fact that Leicester managed to overcome the Citizens earlier in the season could give them a boost. 

He said: "You have to work and promote the idea that every result is possible and the team showed that earlier on in the season when they won 2-1.

"Psychologically it's huge for the players to know they can win. But they also know it's another game, a different game and we need to embrace and enjoy the challenge of looking to get the result."