If Liverpool could’ve picked a Premier League fixture to take place while they’re off trying to become world champions in Qatar, then this would be it. Whatever happens here, one or two of their only rivals for the league title will drop points. Though as Jürgen’s boys are 1/9 for the title while the champions are 13/2 and Leicester are 22/1, are City and the Foxes even in with a realistic shout?
This game certainly has the potential to be a pre-Christmas cracker. Pep Guardiola’s side are looking to bounce back from their defeat to Manchester United in their last match at the Etihad. The last time they lost two home league games in a row, Pep was at Bayern and one of the defeats was to a Leicester side which went on to win the league.
As for the Foxes, they are on a cracking run away from home. They have won their last four league games on the road by an aggregate score of 17-1.
Brendan Rodgers’ team also undoubtedly have the tools to hurt City. Since the start of 2017/18, Leicester have scored 21 counter-attacking goals in the Premier League, the most of any side. Wolves won at the Etihad by successfully hitting City on the break, and Jamie Vardy and co. are more than capable of doing likewise.
However, despite their capability for countering, the Foxes don’t have a great record when travelling to face the big six sides. There’s no shame in that, they’ve been better in such games than Arsenal since August 2015, and only 0.17 points per game worse than Chelsea. But with 15 points culled from their 27 away games against the top teams in the last five seasons, can we bank on Leicester to get something on Saturday evening?
The underlying nerdy numbers rate the Foxes’ chances a little higher than Paddy does, but with City having a largely impeccable home record against the league’s ‘other 14’ teams – with 29 wins from 33 matches since the start of 2017/18 – the smart money has to go on City here.
The corresponding fixture last season was a tight affair. Vincent Kompany scored midway through the second half, before former City man Kelechi Iheanacho wasted a clear-cut chance three minutes from time which would surely have handed the title to Liverpool.
I can’t, for the life of me, think why he missed.
That game was unusual for matches between the Cities of Manchester and Leicester though. Five of the previous six clashes saw at least three goals and both sides getting on the scoresheet, with the preceding three at the Etihad seeing a total of 13 goals. That’s standard form at City’s home too. Since August 2017, 37 of the 46 league games in the blue half of Manchester have paid out on over 2.5 goals, mainly as City are usually battering whoever has turned up this week. It’ll be more of the same here.
Bet: Over 2.5 goals @ 2/5
Bet: Manchester City to win and both teams to score @ 7/5
Two seasons ago, this fixture was 1-1 at the break. While enjoying a half time orange, Sergio Agüero decided it would be fun to score four goals, so he did. However, that game aside his record against the Foxes reads one goal in six matches, so he might not be as missed here as you might assume.
The champions have been sharing the league goals around at home this season, with eight players aside from Agüero getting on the score sheet so far and none of them having more than four to their name. You might think Raheem Sterling would be the next cab off the rank, but Bernardo Silva and Kevin De Bruyne both have more Etihad league goals this season. The Belgian Tintin look-a-like has six goals in his last seven matches and was imperious at the Emirates last weekend.
Hey, Paddy. I’ve hit my word count. Can I just put ‘Jamie Vardy’ in this section?
Manchester City’s uncharacteristically shaky backline will have Vardy licking his lips. Please accept my sincere apologies for conjuring that mental image. The 11/8 favourite for the Golden Boot has already scored eight away league goals this season, which is just three shy of his personal best for a Premier League season. When it comes to picking a scorer for Leicester, it’s………. Jamie Vardy. No Instagram traps required.
- Over 2.5 goals at 2/5
- Manchester City to win and both teams to score at 7/5
- Kevin De Bruyne to score anytime at 12/5
- Jamie Vardy to score anytime at 15/8