We preview Saturday lunchtime's crunch clash between Manchester City and Leicester.
Leicester’s incredible season shows no sign of slowing down as they continue to lead the way at the top of the table and are now no bigger than 5/1 to remain there till the end of the season. A win here and they may actually start vying Man City for favouritism, particularly with none of the other leading contenders looking overly impressive in recent times.
City were put under major pressure at Sunderland in midweek and were somewhat fortunate to escape with a win that could prove crucial come May. However, while they’ve struggled for goals on the road all season – they are just the 11th highest scorers away this season with 13 goals from 12 games – it has been a different story back at the Etihad. They’ve scored 33 times in front of their own fans – 11 more than any other side at home this campaign. However, there’s been a significant disparity in terms of the quality of sides they’ve faced at home versus away as Leicester will be the first of the current top five to visit here and both sixth placed West Ham and eighth placed Liverpool have already come here and won this season.
In fact one of the reasons City aren’t currently leading the league is their poor record against the teams around them as they’ve failed to win in six attempts against the current top six this season – W0-D3-L3. That includes a nil-nil at the King Power Stadium but they will certainly fancy their chances of scoring at home, where nine of the last 10 matches have had at least three goals. Furthermore, in the past two seasons half their 10 home games against top-six finishers had at least four goals with both teams scoring in six.
Leicester took full advantage of a weekend off to comfortably take all three points against a poor Liverpool side and had they converted a couple of recent penalties they could be seven points clear at the top rather than the three they are. However, with just one goal conceded in their last six games and having lost only two of their last 28 confidence will be understandably high. They’ve lost only one of their last 15 away matches and the last time they lost by more than one goal on the road was at City 11 months ago. A lot has changed in the meantime, with the Foxes a far better side and City arguably not playing as well. Their record this season against the current top six is W2-D3-L1 as they’ve only once conceded more than a single goal and that includes winning both away matches in that sample.
The goals markets don’t look to offer too much value, with City’s tremendous scoring record at home up against the fact they’ve struggled against the best teams this season and Leicester’s recent excellent defence. However, we have to take the Citizens on in the match outcome. Sergio Aguero has scored six times in 2016 but he played the full 90 minutes in midweek and with a history of hamstring injuries at this time of the year a second tough game in a week could be hard for him, while with Kevin de Bruyne injured the midfield doesn’t offer as much attacking support as it can and their attack may not be as sharp as expected. Therefore, we’ll take the Foxes on the handicap, with every chance they come away with points and money back if they lose by just one goal.
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