Following the end of a beguiling international break, the Premier League resumes, with several big-name signings set to make their league debut this weekend. Amongst the wide-ranging set of fixtures, Manchester City travels to the King Power Stadium facing Leicester City as both clubs look to find their third win of the season.
The Foxes return from the international break on the back of a comprehensive 1-2 victory against Norwich City in game-week three, while a flamboyant performance by Manchester City saw them swoop five goals past Arsenal in their last fixture. Leicester manager, Brendan Rodgers, managed to get the better of Pep Guardiola in their previous meeting, as a 1-0 victory saw the Foxes lift the Community Shield ahead of the opening weekend. Additionally, Leicester have won two of their last three games against the Cityzens, including their historic F.A Cup triumph last season. However, the Foxes are yet to defeat City at the King Power for two seasons now, with their latest victory against the current champions dating back to December 2018.
Both managers will be keen on grabbing all three points this weekend, as they look ahead to their European fixtures early next week. With an extremely busy schedule this month, both clubs will be hoping to maintain their morale and not afford a slip-up going into a pivotal part of the campaign.
Referee: Paul Tierney.
Assistants: Constantine Hatzidakis, Neil Davies.
Fourth official: Andy Madley.
VAR: Andre Marriner.
Assistant VAR: Richard West.
WHEN & WHERE?
Venue: King Power Stadium.
Date: Saturday, 11th of September 2021.
Time: Kick-off at 15:00 BST.
New signing Ryan Bertrand is in contention to make his first debut for the club this weekend, while the likes of Jaanik Vestergaard and Jonny Evans, too, are deemed fit ahead of the fixture, with one of them expected to make the starting line-up against City. Rodgers will be without the services of James Justin, Wesley Fofana, Ayoze Perez while first-team right-back, Ricardo Periera is likely to start on the bench due to a slight hamstring problem, with Timothy Castagne expected to start ahead of the Portuguese.
Marc Albrighton could, yet again, feature in the starting line-up, with key players such as James Maddison, Jamie Vardy, and Harvey Barnes, all expected to be first names on the team sheet come Saturday afternoon.
Owing to an unexpected mandate by FIFA blocking all Brazilian internationals from participating in the weekend’s Premier League fixtures, Guardiola will be without the services of first-team goalkeeper Ederson Monteiro and Gabriel Jesus against Leicester City. Further, with the backup keeper, Zack Steffen testing positive for Covid-19 early in the week, the seasoned and experienced could feature in a rare outing between the stick for the Cityzens on Saturday.
Centre-back, Aymeric Laporte is expected to start despite an injury scare on international duty, while both, Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden may be involved and possibly named on the bench, given their fitness condition heading into the fixture. Record signing Jack Grealish and an impressive Ferran Torres are expected to keep their places in the starting line-up, with Raheem Sterling in contention to replace Jesus in the front-line.
Although Pep Guardiola will be keen on avenging his previous defeats against Rodgers, City are favourites going into the weekend’s fixture. Leicester outplayed City in their last two meetings, but lack of defensive solidity could hurt the foxes against a rampant City attack. Leicester City have conceded a goal in each of their last two fixtures while Guardiola’s men have scored ten goals in two games whilst conceding only one this season.
The Foxes are expected to retain their counter-attacking combative style of football against City, while the visitors will be keen on exploiting the opposition’s defensive vulnerabilities on Saturday. Both managers are unlikely to adopt a pragmatic approach, with the game likely to be won based on performances in the midfield position. Rodgers will be hoping to win their first game against City at home since 2018 as the Foxes look to gain some momentum going to Europe next week.
Wilfred Ndidi – Leicester City
With an injury-ridden backline behind him, Wilfred Ndidi will be pivotal to Leicester’s defensive performance against City. Ndidi was excellent in the Foxes’ two victories against the champions last season, with Rodgers, once again, hoping the midfielder provides the indispensable defensive cover against an in-form City attack.
Owing to the potential absences of De Bruyne and Foden in the opposition’s midfield department, Ndidi will be key to transitioning the ball into attacking areas whilst cutting off the passing lanes employed by a possession-based City side. The Nigerian’s defensive intelligence will be vital in interceptions, turnovers in possession, and supplying passes into the attacking players upfront. Provided Leicester suffocates the midfield channels for the opposition, Ndidi will be key in orchestrating the flow of the game and commanding the midfield on Saturday.
Ferran Torres – Manchester City
Following a brilliant brace against Arsenal and impressive performances on international duty, the Spaniard is, yet again, likely to feature against Leicester at the weekend. Torres scored two goals and provided one assist against the Gunners in their last outing, with the manager likening his movement and instinct to that of Leicester’s star striker, Jamie Vardy.
Though naturally a winger, Torres has been exceptional in functioning as the focal point of attack this season. The Spaniard possesses the natural skill of a striker, making a handy tool to exploit an out-of-form Leicester backline. Further, with at least three players expected to feature in their first game of the campaign in the Foxes’ back-four, Torres could have a field day in the striker position. The Spain international has proven his potential in the position and will likely find the back of the net against Leicester this weekend.
Leicester City (4-3-3) – Kasper Schmeichel, Timothy Castagne, Jonny Evans, Caglar Soyuncu, Ryan Bertrand, Wildred Ndidi, Youri Tielemans, James Maddison, Harvey Barnes, Jamie Vardy, Marc Albrighton
Manchester City (4-2-3-1) – Scott Carson, Kyle Walker, John Stones, Ruben Dias, Joao Cancelo, Rodri, Bernardo Silva, Ilkay Gundogan, Jack Grealish, Ferran Torres, Riyad Mahrez.