Leicester City have glided through their recent run relatively unchallenged, with only bottom half opposition to contend with. That will come to a sudden end on Saturday, when the Foxes visit 3rd place Manchester City. Here are some areas the game could be decided.
1. Kevin De Bruyne vs Wilfred Ndidi
I always like to start by stating the painfully obvious; Man City are really god at creating and scoring goals, and De Bruyne is a huge part of that. He sees and executes passes most players could only dream of, making him a comfortable league leader in assists, xA and key passes.
Oh, and he can score as well, putting two past Arsenal to follow up on his November goal of the month. He only needs a fraction of space to make things happen, so I suppose the answer is to find someone who doesn’t give up fractions of space.
Wilf is having an incredible year, probably his best in a Leicester shirt. He’s got everyone else beaten for tackles and interceptions, as ever, and the rest of his game is rapidly improving as well.
While Ndidi particularly excels at taking back the ball, the most interesting part of this battle might be without the ball. Ndidi covers a lot of ground and is reading the game well this season, but few players can find space like De Bruyne.
2. Vardy vs makeshift CBs
If Man City have a weakness, it’s a defence that’s conceded 19, which is - well it’s the joint 4th best defence in the league, but comparatively that’s a weakness. In particular they’ve struggled for healthy CBs, and will probably have Fernandinho standing in again.
For Leicester, that lines up pretty favourably with their biggest strength - Jamie Vardy’s finishing. His scoring streak might be over, but he’s shown all throughout the season that he’s a lethal goalscorer.
It’s worth noting that the Brazilian is not a normal stand-in defender. He’s been one of the world’s best defensive midfielders for years and has spent most of this season at the heart of their defence without any drop off.
Still, Vardy is a great challenge for any defender. His speed is still dangerous by itself, and Rodgers has been praising the intelligence of his play all year. It certainly should be an interesting battle.
3. Raheem Sterling vs Ricardo Pereira
It’s not hard to scan through the Man City squad and pick out good players, but Sterling is certainly having a noteworthy season. With Aguero in and out through injury, the England star is their leading scoring right now and 4th in the league in both xA and xG.
The former Liverpool winger went through a very slight scoring drought, but seems to be out of it, with three goals in his last two games. He’s been most effective when cutting in off the left wing, which should put him in direct opposition with arguably the Foxes’ best defender.
When Leicester and Man City met on Boxing Day, the Foxes were 2-1 winners through this 81st minute Ricardo Pereira strike.— FotMob (@FotMob) May 6, 2019
Can they play title spoilers and repeat the feat tonight?pic.twitter.com/wdWZdhlPmI
Ricardo has had an incredible turnaround from the defensive liability at the start of last season, and might be Leicester’s best defender now. He certainly has the speed, agility and quick feet to stand up against Sterling.
Rodgers won’t want to see him at that all game though. He’s also been our most consistent attacking threat down the right hand side. Manchester City look a little vulnerable at LB, so whether or not the Portuguese star can get forward could be a deciding factor.