Venue: King Power Stadium
Date: 10 December 2016
Referee: Michael Oliver
Kick off: 17:30
There’s a bit of a pattern to City’s run of form at the minute. We basically manage to go away from home and scrape three vital points, before wrecking all of the good work at home with a dismal draw or resounding loss. The good news is that City are away this weekend. A visit to the league champions is in store for Pep’s boys. So, what are the talking points?
City Must Score 2+
If you’ve not already worked out why, its got something to do with our defensive record this season. So far this season, clean sheets have been few and far between. Worryingly perhaps, is that frankly – it’s not looked like getting better anytime soon. There’s blame all over the team. I know it’s easy to blame Nicolas Otamendi’s sporadic slides and Claudio Bravo’s inability to save a shot, but they’re not the only culprits. As a side, we must defend better. Players losing it in suicidal situations hasn’t helped matters; and that isn’t just the defenders. Midfielders and even forwards have been squandering possession too cheaply and putting immense pressure on an already frail back-line. The inevitably of conceding a goal means that City may as well accept that one goal won’t be enough to take three points on Saturday. Claudio Ranieri’s Leicester aren’t having the best of times this season though, so I’m hopeful that City can knock in a couple. Let’s be fair – they need to.
We’ll Miss Aguero and Fernandinho
Dumb and Dumber start their respective suspensions tomorrow evening, with City likely to miss both heavily. There’s a credence to the argument that Fernandinho will be the bigger miss, something that I totally agree with. He’s our engine room. I was particularly disappointed that Fernandinho got himself involved against Chelsea, though I take the point that he was more than goaded by a slimy Cesc Fabregas. As it is, our midfield never looks as sturdy or even creative when the Brazilian maestro is missing. It’s the sort of game that you would’ve been desperate to see him start in. I’m expecting a a snappy affair where controlling the tempo would’ve been just the job for City’s number 25. Don’t get me wrong, Kun will be a big miss too. Though, it’s hard to argue that Aguero was on top form, so maybe it won’t be so bad. Either way, our talisman always has a moment of magic in him. It’s up to Kelechi Iheanacho to prove that he has what it takes to step into Aguero’s shoes and get the job done. The Nigerian striker is always good for a goal, and he’ll need to be tomorrow to make up for the absence of two of City’s best.
Christmas is About Staying Close
Given the already discussed absence of key players, Christmas is a time for simply staying with the pack. I’m not expecting City to play exhilarating football over the festive weeks. I’m hoping for some vital wins, scraped or not, that keep us with the form sides. If City can emerge from 2016 within 5/6 points of the league leaders, I’ll be fairly satisfied. Pep’s best football is yet to come. City will only get better with time and with new players (hopefully we’ll see more than just Gabriel Jesus in January). So, all things considered, if City can remain in the race heading into the last three months of the season, I think we have every chance. Think about it like this – we haven’t won a home league game since September, but we’re only four points behind. The home form will improve, and hopefully with some consistent performances away from home, City still have every chance of netting some silverware this year.
For City, Kevin De Bruyne holds all of the cards if we’re to emerge from the King Power with three points. The most creative influence we have, Kev will need to fill the void left by Aguero and provide Kelechi with some ammunition. For Leicester, I’m already having nightmares about the thought of seeing Riyad Mahrez destroy whoever we have in defence. It’s an inevitability.
I’m expecting a difficult game for the most part. With the way that Leicester’s season is going though, I think that City will just about get over the line. 2-1. Kelechi and KDB.
Predict the score:
[statsfc-score-predictor key=”D8SJIk7F6vySBuDaFQRSHy11xfbyCt18uXRinj2b” team=”Man City” date=”2016-12-10″ default_css=”true”]