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Leicester City vs Manchester City, 2016 Premier League: Predicted Lineup

Man City head to Leicester to take on the reigning champions in Premier League action this Saturday.

Manchester City FC v Celtic FC - UEFA Champions League Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Manchester City will look to get back to winning ways in the Premier League on Saturday evening. Before last year and the historic championship run of the reigning Premier League champions, a trip to Leicester City would have been seen differently. Despite the Foxes' poor form this season, players like Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy can still cause City a plethora of problems. With both clubs advancing to the knockout stages in the Champions League, focus can now shift 100% to the Premier League.

Man City supporters might remember this fixture from last season when then manager Manuel Pellegrini ran out a super defensive side and neither team looked willing to risk anything. Those type of teams were a staple of the Pellegrini era but one thing we’ve seen from Guardiola is risk might just be his middle name.

City will be missing several key names through suspension. Nicolas Otamendi has a one-game ban for yellow card accumulation, while Fernandinho and Sergio Agüero begin their multiple game bans (3 and 4 respectively) after both received straight red cards against Chelsea. Man City will need a “next man up” mentality because they cannot afford to fall any further off the pace being set by Chelsea at the moment.

With so many suspensions the players in the starting XI should be a bit easier than normal to choose, but the formation is a whole different beast. The big question is: does Pep Guardiola go with four or three at the back? I believe, due to the players available, Pep will opt for a 3-2-4-1 formation we’ve seen deployed often, especially in the Premier League.

Below are the eleven players I believe Pep will go with in order for City to see success against Leicester.

Goalkeeper: Claudio Bravo

No surprises here, Bravo will have City’s number one shirt until Pep dips his toes in the transfer market. Possibly next summer, but certainly not before the end of this season.

Defense: Bacary Sagna, John Stones, Aleksandar Kolarov

Considering these players are normally a right-back, center-back and-left back, this back three could be seen as just missing a regular center-back. These are City’s best three defenders at the moment, and with Vincent Kompany and Otamendi unavailable, these three should be the ones on call. Zabaleta could feature if City opt for a back four, since youngster Tosin Adarayobio is unlikely to see game time.

Defensive Midfield: Fernando, Ilkay Gundogan

Gundogan is given his usually starting position deeper in midfield but could see himself pushed further forward if City are searching for goal. Fernando is the like-for-like replacement for the suspended Fernandinho, and the Brazilian bruiser will be leaned upon heavily with Leicester’s counter-attacking style.

Attacking Midfield: Raheem Sterling, David Silva, Kevin De Bruyne, Leroy Sané

Despite starting the season on the right, Leroy Sané has been used on the left the last few games. This is most likely Pep testing the youngster out because Sterling has been so good on the right. Nolito could also replace either winger, but Pep loves pace on the outside so Sterling and Sané are far more likely. As for the middle David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne will likely be the first names on the sheet. It wouldn't even surprise me to see De Bruyne as more of an auxiliary striker.

Striker: Kelechi Iheanacho

This selection was actually harder than it should have been. Iheanacho played the full 90 minutes midweek and Pep has used De Bruyne as a false 9 before, but in the end Nacho scores goals and his partnership with the Belgian midfielder has always been good. Expect the two to combine for something special at some point.


So that’s our predicted lineup. Despite the form Man City find themselves in, Leicester have been far worse this season and the Sky Blues must pick up the three points to keep from falling further behind. City just don't keep clean sheets so I won't even try to predict one, but I’ll say 2-1 Manchester City win on goals from Leroy Sané and Kelechi Iheanacho.