Leicester v Manchester City: Foxes can make City stutter

Jamie Vardy
Jamie Vardy scored a hat-trick in Leicester's 5-2 win in the reverse fixture

High-flying Leicester can deny Manchester City, whose focus may lie elsewhere, when the sides meet in the Premier League on Saturday, says Andy Schooler.

"He's scored five times in his last 14 games for City and was also causing plenty of problems on set-pieces for England last week."

Back John Stones to score @ 13/1

Leicester v Manchester City
Saturday 3 April, 17:30
Live on Sky Sports Premier League and Main Event

How times change.

When these sides met in September, Leicester won 5-2 and it looked like it could be another season of disappointment for Manchester City.

Yet the rematch arrives with Pep Guardiola's men 14 points clear at the top of the table and just 16 games standing between them and an unprecedented Quadruple.

That situation has arisen following a run of 25 wins in their last 26 matches in all competitions but if the Citizens are to achieve greatness, how Guardiola goes about rotating his players in the next two months will surely play a major part.

Higher priorities for visitors

The coming week brings the first leg of a Champions League quarter-final with Borussia Dortmund, a fixture which must take priority over this one, and therefore the team which runs out at the King Power won't be the visitors' strongest.

For example, Aymeric Laporte and Fernandinho, who weren't away with their country last week, seem likely starters, while Ruben Dias, who played every minute of Portugal's three away games during the international window, looks due a rest.

Of course, we've seen how Man City have been able to cope fairly comfortably when rotating their super squad but doing it against the Premier League's third-best team carries obvious risks.

And it's not as if they've been smashing all and sundry of late. In fact in recent weeks they've had to fight hard to beat Everton with two late goals, were beaten at home by Manchester United, and could easily have been held by another of the top flight's form sides, West Ham.

Foxes back to their best

Leicester won't be cowed.

Injuries resulted in something of a recent blip but just prior to the international break they seemed to return to top form.

Admittedly I was sceptical about how worthy their 5-0 demolition of lowly Sheffield United was but they followed that up with a convincing 3-1 FA Cup victory over Manchester United.

Jamie Vardy's goal drought has continued but Kelechi Iheanacho has stepped up, scoring seven times in his last four games.

The Nigerian will be up against his old club here, while it's also worth mentioning Vardy's record of eight goals in nine league games against City under Guardiola.

Ayoze Perez also caught the eye in those two aforementioned wins - boss Brendan Rodgers described his performances as "outstanding" in his pre-match press conference ahead of this one - and so there's every chance the fit-again James Maddison will have to make his return from the bench.

What The Stats Say: Our Opta-based preview of the weekend's Premier League action

Ricardo Pereira is another also available again here and he seems more likely to come straight back in.

Hosts look tempting

Another big reason why the Foxes will head into this one full of confidence is their record against the Big Six (if that's still a thing).

They've taken 16 points from their eight games against those supposedly elite clubs, including that 5-2 win at the Etihad, which, it is only fair to point out, was achieved against a team without Dias, Laporte or John Stones.

Clearly their opponents have improved since then but the Foxes are certainly tempting here at 6.611/2 to win the match and complete the double.

Despite a relatively poor home record, they've managed to beat both Chelsea and Liverpool at the King Power since the turn of the year.

Given the way they've churned out wins of late, the visitors will clearly have their backers at 1.68/13 but given the current circumstances I feel the hosts can get something out of this game.

Backing them in the double-chance market at 2.68/5 gets the draw on side too and that looks the way to go.

Much has been made of Man City's defensive record but Leicester do boast players capable of hurting them.

Vardy certainly did at the Etihad and while the visitors will again have the majority of possession, Leicester will look to hurt them at every opportunity they get.

I doubt their underrated midfield, including enforcer Wilfred Ndidi and the stylish Youri Tielemans, will be overrun.

Goals on the cards

I can see both teams scoring at 1.9420/21, while over 2.5 goals also looks to have potential at a slightly-shorter 1.910/11 - that has occurred in 64% of Leicester's home games.

However, for those thinking goals will be on the Saturday evening menu, a delve into the goalscorer markets makes appeal.

You can get Vardy at 21/10 to score at any time, with Iheanacho at 11/4 in the same market.

However, it's a big price among the visiting ranks which I like the most.

Stones a solid value bet

You can get 13/1 about John Stones finding the net - he's scored five times in his last 14 games for City and was also causing plenty of problems on set-pieces for England last week.

John Stones 1280.jpg

Stones and co have been one of the Premier League's best teams in terms of set-piece goals - only West Ham, Everton and Southampton have scored more from them.

And Leicester haven't been the best at keeping out such goals - only six clubs have conceded more from set-plays, Everton being one of the teams to make them pay in such circumstances at the King Power.

Stones is also offered at 40.039/1 in the first goalscorer market, a price worth some loose change.

Opta fact

Leicester striker Jamie Vardy has scored eight goals in nine Premier League games against Pep Guardiola's Manchester City, twice as many top-flight goals as any other player has netted against sides managed by the Spaniard.

Click here for more weekend Premier League tips and previews

Andy Schooler's P/L 2020/21

Staked: 72.5pts
Returned: 50.38pts
P/L: -22.12pts

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