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Dec 26, 2021 at 3pm UK at Etihad Stadium
Man City
6 - 3
Leicester
De Bruyne (5'), Mahrez (14' pen.), Gundogan (21'), Sterling (25' pen., 87'), Laporte (69')
Fernandinho (90+1')
FT(HT: 4-0)
Maddison (55'), Lookman (59'), Iheanacho (65')
Vestergaard (45'), Maddison (75')

Preview: Manchester City vs. Leicester City - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Manchester City vs. Leicester City - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Premier League clash between Manchester City and Leicester City, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Seeking an eighth Premier League win in a row, leaders Manchester City look to extend their golden spell further as they meet Leicester City on Boxing Day.

While the champions are favourites to defend their crown after a scintillating streak since early November, their injury-hit visitors arrive at the Etihad Stadium having dramatically lost out in the EFL Cup quarter-finals.


Match preview

Amid an incredible run which shows no sign of ending, Manchester City have not only established a three-point Premier League lead, but also registered 11 goals without reply in their two most recent outings.

Having survived a dubious penalty call to go on and record a 4-0 win over lowly Newcastle United, they posted their third successive clean sheet last weekend, maintaining the best defensive record in the division - with just nine goals conceded.

Four different goalscorers at St James' Park - plus six names on the scoresheet in the 7-0 victory against Leeds a few days earlier - demonstrates the wealth of attacking talent available to Pep Guardiola, who has also seen his side qualify for a place in the Champions League's last 16.

Despite the summer departure of record goalscorer Sergio Aguero and the forthcoming transfer of Ferran Torres to the same destination, Guardiola insists that no signings are required during the winter window, and recent events certainly support his case.

City have scored 24 times since they last failed to win in the league, back in late October, and sit top of the Premier League at Christmas for only the third time - on both previous occasions they went on to be champions.

Guardiola's men also secured their 34th league victory of 2021 by beating Newcastle, setting a new record for the most top-flight wins by any team in a calendar year, so are well placed to tackle a side recovering from cup heartbreak for the second time in a month.

Eliminated from the Europa League earlier in December, when losing 3-2 at group rivals Napoli in a last-day decider, more woe followed on Wednesday night as Leicester missed out on a place in the EFL Cup semi-finals by crashing out on penalties at Anfield.

After establishing a 3-1 lead by just after the half-hour mark, the Foxes seemed set to seal a place in the final four, but Liverpool's Takumi Minamino took the contest to penalties when he fired a late equaliser past Kasper Schmeichel. Almost inevitably, Leicester then went out of the cup in a dramatic spot-kick shootout, with Ryan Bertrand's miss proving pivotal.

Currently ninth in the Premier League table, the season as a whole has not been going to plan for the East Midlands side, who had won just one of their previous six games before beating Newcastle last time out in the top flight.

Perhaps hoping that a 4-0 win over the Magpies would kickstart an underwhelming campaign, Brendan Rodgers was then hit by the postponement of games against Tottenham and Everton due to the impact of COVID-19, and injuries have also piled up over the past few weeks.

Not only must they now get themselves up off the canvas in short order before facing the irrepressible champions, but Leicester will travel to the North-West knowing that away from home this season their only league wins have come against newly-promoted clubs. They have also lost eight of their last 10 meetings with Manchester City - including a 1-0 defeat earlier this term.

Manchester City Premier League form:
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W

Manchester City form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W

Leicester City Premier League form:
  • D
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • W

Leicester City form (all competitions):
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • L

Team News

Given the difficulties of their top-flight contemporaries at the moment, City appear to be relatively unscathed by injury or illness, with only two men expected to miss out on Leicester's visit.

Kyle Walker could be sidelined once again, having missed the wins over Leeds and Newcastle last week, while Ferran Torres - who is still recovering from a foot injury - remains out of commission, with the Spain forward close to completing his move to Barcelona.

Though Pep Guardiola likes to rotate his resources, the hosts could therefore be more or less unchanged, with Riyad Mahrez - who scored his 50th Premier League goal last time out - joining Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus in attack.

Leicester, meanwhile, have not been so fortunate in evading COVID-19, as players including Ayoze Perez, Ademola Lookman, Kelechi Iheanacho and Jannik Vestergaard have all recently tested positive - though they were all back on the bench in midweek. Harvey Barnes and Timothy Castagne are, though, set to miss out at the Etihad Stadium.

Both Jonny Evans (hamstring) and Wesley Fofana (ankle) are unavailable too, so Brendan Rodgers could opt to field Wilfred Ndidi in the back four again, particularly if Vestergaard requires more time to recover and Caglar Soyuncu is ruled out.

The Foxes' Turkish centre-back came off early against Liverpool, and there is concern that he may have aggravated a hamstring problem he has only just returned from. So at perhaps the worst possible time - given City's goalscoring prowess - Leicester are set to be seriously depleted in defence.

Manchester City possible starting lineup:
Ederson; Cancelo, Dias, Laporte, Zinchenko; Gundogan, Rodri, De Bruyne; Mahrez, Sterling, Jesus

Leicester City possible starting lineup:
Schmeichel; Albrighton, Vestergaard, Ndidi, Thomas; Dewsbury-Hall, Tielemans, Soumare; Maddison, Daka, Lookman


We say: Manchester City 2-0 Leicester City

After putting seven past Leeds and netting four versus Newcastle, there is no reason to expect City to slow down heading in to 2022, and the home side can pick up three points against hit-and-miss opponents even if they are not at their free-flowing best.

Leicester's troubles will go on, as even a vast improvement in James Maddison's performances of late cannot help them match a multi-talented side on top form - particularly given their defensive difficulties.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 2.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 2.5:curl


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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City37286396247290
2Liverpool37278291256689
3Chelsea372011674324271
4Tottenham HotspurSpurs372151164402468
5Arsenal37213135647966
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd371610115756158
7West Ham UnitedWest Ham371681359481156
8Wolverhampton WanderersWolves37156163740-351
9Leicester CityLeicester371310145858049
10Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton371115113943-448
11Brentford37137174754-746
12Newcastle UnitedNewcastle371210154261-1946
13Crystal Palace371015124946345
14Aston Villa37136185051-145
15Southampton37913154263-2140
16Everton37116204261-1939
17Burnley37714163351-1835
18Leeds UnitedLeeds37811184078-3835
RWatford3765263375-4223
RNorwich CityNorwich3757252379-5622
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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City37286396247290
2Liverpool37278291256689
3Chelsea372011674324271
4Tottenham HotspurSpurs372151164402468
5Arsenal37213135647966
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd371610115756158
7West Ham UnitedWest Ham371681359481156
8Wolverhampton WanderersWolves37156163740-351
9Leicester CityLeicester371310145858049
10Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton371115113943-448
11Brentford37137174754-746
12Newcastle UnitedNewcastle371210154261-1946
13Crystal Palace371015124946345
14Aston Villa37136185051-145
15Southampton37913154263-2140
16Everton37116204261-1939
17Burnley37714163351-1835
18Leeds UnitedLeeds37811184078-3835
RWatford3765263375-4223
RNorwich CityNorwich3757252379-5622
Scroll for more - Tap for full version


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