Leicester City v Manchester City: Guardiola shake-up could lead to a lively game

Claude Puel's Leicester had an off-day at the weekend
Claude Puel's Leicester had an off-day at the weekend
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All-conquering Manchester City are hoping to clinch a place in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals on Tuesday evening, and Kevin Hatchard thinks Leicester City may give them a few problems.

"Manchester City have only kept one clean sheet in seven games, and they are likely to reshuffle their defensive unit, which could give Leicester City opportunities to exploit."

Back Both Teams To Score at 1.84/5

Leicester City v Manchester City
Tuesday 19 December, 19:45
Live on Sky Sports


Chastened Leicester keen to bounce back

It had all been going so well. Manager Claude Puel's new broom was sweeping all before it at the King Power Stadium, with the rejuvenated Foxes chasing a fifth consecutive win at the weekend against a Crystal Palace team that hadn't scored a single goal on the road in the Premier League all season.

I don't think anybody reasonably expected Palace to run out 3-0 winners, but that's exactly what happened. Key players like Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez failed to make an impact, and Palace (inspired by Wilfried Zaha once again) had far more devil about them in attack.

Puel admits it was an off-day, with a lack of aggression and intensity costing his team dearly in the first half. The French manager must now switch his attention to trying to reach the final of the League Cup for the second season running. He led Southampton to Wembley last term, only to lose to a Zlatan Ibrahimovic-inspired Manchester United.

Christian Fuchs, Andy King and Shinji Okazaki are all in the mix to return after they were controversially rested at the weekend.

Relentless Citizens still on course for a clean sweep

As if our jaws couldn't drop any further in response to Manchester City's form this season, they absolutely smashed Tottenham 4-1 on Saturday evening. Pep Guardiola's swashbuckling and brutally brilliant team are 11 points clear of Manchester United in the title race, and 14 ahead of the defending champions Chelsea.

Given the breathtaking level of performance City are producing, it's only natural that people believe they can win every competition they have entered, and victory in Leicester on Tuesday would put them into the semi-finals. Their displays in this tournament haven't quite caught the imagination - a battling 2-1 win at West Brom was followed by a goalless draw and a penalty shootout win over Wolves, but it's notable that Guardiola selected a strong team in both games. Not his strongest available eleven, but star-studded outfits nevertheless.

Gabriel Jesus will be itching to lead the attack after he was only a sub against Swansea and Spurs, Bernardo Silva could get another chance to shine, while we should see a different defensive line-up to the regular Premier League unit.

Visitors the favourites to make the last four

The approach to the Match Odds market depends on whether you think Manchester City will select a strong enough side to win in 90 minutes. They will still field a very good team, but they haven't found this competition easy so far, and Leicester are generally in very good form.

Even with Guardiola's side showing incredible form, I'm not sure I can get that excited about their odds of 1.4840/85 to win. Leicester have beaten Liverpool already in this tournament, and if you discount Saturday as an aberration, you can conclude that they may at least give the league leaders one or two problems.

Leicester may not win the fight, but they could land a punch or two

Even with their most powerful weapons deployed, Manchester City haven't been keeping many clean sheets. They have managed just one shut-out in their last seven games, and with a defensive reshuffle likely ahead of this match, I think they may well concede again.

Therefore, with the Manchester City attack in fine fettle regardless of its configuration, I think backing Both Teams To Score is a reasonable play at 1.84/5.

Jesus to make a successful return

Gabriel Jesus is raring to go, he scored in the league game at Leicester earlier in the campaign, and he can be backed at 11/10 on the Sportsbook to score in 90 minutes. If the young Brazilian starts (and I suspect he will), I think that's a very attractive price.

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