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Match Preview: Leicester City @ Manchester City

How much will the Foxes miss Wilfred Ndidi?

Leicester City Training Photo by Plumb Images/Leicester City FC via Getty Images

Sept. 27, 16:30 PM GMT, 11:30 PM ET, 8:30 AM PT

Leicester City will travel to the Etihad to take on Manchester City. The Foxes will hope to bounce back after a difficult midweek loss to Arsenal.

Manchester City

The Citizens have played two matches so far this season, earning a 1-3 win at Molineux Stadium to open their Premier League campaign, and a 2-1 over Bournemouth in the Carabao Cup. A strong two-goal start to the season by phenom Phil Foden has helped propel them to these two victories.

Manchester City, however, is facing an injury crisis as Pep Guardiola has been quoted as saying they only have 13 first team players available for selection. They will possibly be without Sergio Agüero, João Cancelo, İlkay Gündoğan, Gabriel Jesus, Aymeric Laporte, Nicolás Otamendi, Bernardo Silva, and Oleksandr Zinchenko.

Of course, that still leaves reigning PFA Players’ Player of the Year Kevin De Bruyne, Foden, Riyad Mahrez, Raheem Sterling, and new signing Ferran Torres as options, among a host of other weapons. This team is not short on options.

Leicester City

What to make of the start to the season for the Foxes? The team powered through injury and depth concerns to burst through the starting gate and earn two resounding Premier League victories. First, a 0-3 win over West Brom at the Hawthorns, followed by a 4-2 victory over Burnley. Those matches saw standout performances from new signing Timothy Castagne and his compatriots Dennis Praet and Youri Tielemans, among others.

Then came the 0-2 loss to Arsenal in the Carabao Cup and subsequent Wilfred Ndidi injury news. A fully rotated side and two clumsy goals allowed in the match against Arsenal are reasonable excuses, but they help emphasize the concerns about health, depth, and lack of signings that were present ahead of the season. A 12-week absence for Ndidi shifts those concerns from being just concerns to alarm bells.

Mercifully, James Maddison appears to be fully recovered after two cameo appearances and one start, while Jonny Evans is eligible to return from his suspension. Despite news that new signing Cengiz Ünder will be unavailable, the Foxes should be able to field a relatively strong XI.

Prediction

Despite Manchester City’s injury concerns, they’ll prove to simply be too much for an Ndidi-less Leicester side. The work he does to neutralize the opposition’s best players will be a vital missing piece for the Foxes and they will be unable to stifle the Citizens, resulting in a 3-1 loss. As I predicted at the start of the season, Manchester City will continue on their Empire Strikes Back march towards the title.