The champions elect host the champions from two seasons ago. That sounds awfully exciting, doesn’t it?
This could be. In this Premier League season where mid-table has ceased to exist, Leicester are one of two teams who can play with that late-winter, early-spring freedom thanks to a blend of safety and little hope of progressing.
It can result in ‘already on the beach’ performances, but it can just as easily see the ridiculous happen. Despite Leicester’s title exploits a couple of years ago, this should still be billed as a David vs Goliath contest…
Unfortunately for Claude Puel and Pep Guardiola, the focus leading up to this match will be on something that didn’t happen: the transfer of Riyad Mahrez.
The Algerian international has not been training lately, and obviously missed matches as a result. Somehow it’s improbable he makes his comeback against the team he tried for force a move to.
The Foxes have had a relative blip of late. It goes without saying that that isn’t ideal ahead of a trip to the record-breaking Manchester City. Defeat at Everton and a draw at home to Swansea has been, in part, down to the absence of Mahrez.
Misfortune can easily be argued on both occasions, however, with Leicester creating by far the better chances than their opponents in the two matches. Having said that, the Premeir League leaders are probably still worth putting in your accumulator – find more advice on building a multiple bet here.
Leicester, even without Mahrez, are an attacking threat. Just like their title-winning team, they are okay not having possession, and are capable of breath-taking transitions into attack.
These often end in a certain England international firing past the ‘keeper. Jamie Vardy has scored as many league goals this season as Romelu Lukaku. He is obviously the greatest peril to City’s defence. I really like the 13/5 price on Vardy to score anytime.
It’s not exactly a disaster, but the hosts have won only two of their last four Premier League matches. Given they have won 22 out of 26 thus far, that is basically a crisis.
Okay, it’s not going to make any difference to the season, but it surely gives Puel’s side a little more hope than they would have had a few weeks ago. Leicester are still pursuing Burnley, who held City to a 1-1 last weekend, for the best-of-the-rest seventh spot.
Just like Leicester, though, City’s recent issues have been finishing rather than anything else. They still created more than enough to win convincingly at Turf Moor, just as they did against West Bromwich Albion and Newcastle. Fans will have had nightmares about Raheem Sterling’s miss this week…
Guardiola’s team to score over 2.5 goals is on the short side at 8/11 but may be worth a punt considering Leicester’s defensive record.
My favourite bet for this one has to be over 3.5 goals at 23/25. Leicester will be more willing to play than many of City’s opponents this season, particularly if/when they fall a goal behind.
And, as good as City’s defence has been, the prospect of a flying Vardy attacking all that space is exciting.
Yeah, it’s not going to make or break either team’s season, but that might just make it a very watchable match. I think City will still get the three points, even if Leicester give them a scare.