Manchester City will endeavour to claim their 10th successive victory in all competitions when they welcome Leicester City to the Etihad Stadium for a Premier League clash on Saturday.
While the Citizens are seeking to close in on top-flight leaders Arsenal, the Foxes have brought in manager Dean Smith to pull them away from the hotly-contested relegation dogfight.
Man City have boosted their hopes of winning the treble this season following a successful week in both the Premier League and Champions League, with back-to-back victories over Southampton and Bayern Munich.
Their latest triumph took place at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday, with goals from Rodri, Bernardo Silva and Erling Braut Haaland securing a commanding 3-0 quarter-final first-leg win over their Bavarian counterparts to put them on the brink of reaching their third successive Champions League semi-final.
Haaland also scored twice for the Citizens three days earlier in a 4-1 victory at St Mary’s, and that result coupled with Arsenal dropping points in a 2-2 draw at Liverpool has seen Pep Guardiola’s men move to within six points of the Premier League leaders, who have played a game more.
Man City have put together a strong run of form at the right time and have particularly found their groove in attack, as they have scored 24 goals in their last five games across all competitions, netting at least three times on each occasion.
The Citizens head into Saturday’s clash having won 10 of their last 12 Premier League encounters with Leicester and were involved in a nine-goal thriller in their last home meeting with the Foxes, winning 6-3 in December 2021.
Another victory for Man City would help maintain their impressive momentum heading into an important period in their season, with a Champions League second-leg tie in Germany and a trip to Wembley for an FA Cup semi-final with Sheffield United to come next week.
Eight days after the departure of Brendan Rodgers, Leicester announced on Tuesday the appointment of Dean Smith as the club’s new manager on a short-term deal until the end of the season.
The former Aston Villa and Norwich City boss – who was sacked by the latter in December – has added former Foxes coach Craig Shakespeare and John Terry to his backroom staff and has eight games to steer the 2015-16 Premier League champions away from the relegation zone.
A miserable run of seven defeats and one draw in their last eight matches, including a 1-0 home loss to relegation rivals Bournemouth last weekend, has seen Leicester slip to 19th in the Premier League table, two points adrift of safety.
Smith begins his reign with one of the toughest challenges in English football against an in-form Man City outfit, and the 52-year-old is fully aware of the daunting test that he and his new side are set to face having lost all of his previous six meetings against the Citizens as a manager, with his teams conceding 19 goals in the process.
Leicester have lost each of their last four Premier League matches against Man City, although they frustrated the reigning champions at times in their most recent meeting, only for a stunning Kevin De Bruyne free kick to condemn the Foxes to a narrow 1-0 home defeat in October. A spirited and resilient display is required on Saturday if they wish to avoid a 20th league defeat of the campaign.
Man City attacker Phil Foden remains sidelined as he continues to recover from appendicitis surgery, while De Bruyne is fit to feature after Guardiola played down fears that he sustained an injury against Bayern.
With one eye on next week’s Champions League tie in Germany, Guardiola will likely consider making some changes to his starting lineup, with Aymeric Laporte, Kyle Walker and Rico Lewis all pushing to start in defence.
Haaland, who recently recovered from a groin injury, will likely see his minutes managed on Saturday, but the Premier League’s top scorer is expected to lead the line, while Riyad Mahrez will look to replace Bernardo Silva on the right flank.
As for Leicester, Harvey Barnes was forced off in the second half against Bournemouth with a hamstring issue and is a major doubt for the trip to the Etihad, while Youri Tielemans (ankle), James Justin and Ryan Bertrand (both knee) all remain in the treatment room.
Jonny Evans watched on as an unused substitute last weekend after recovering from a thigh problem and the centre-back will be pushing to start ahead of either Daniel Amartey or Wout Faes. Smith could also stick with a back four having previously used a four-man defence against Man City during his time with both Villa and Norwich.
Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall is available for selection after serving a one-match ban and he could be recalled to centre-midfield at the expense of Boubakary Soumare, while former Man City striker Kelechi Iheanacho will compete with Patson Daka and Jamie Vardy for a place up front – the latter of whom has scored more league goals against Guardiola’s City side than any other player (eight) and is in line to make his 300th Premier League appearance for the Foxes.
Manchester City possible starting lineup:
Ederson; Lewis, Akanji, Dias, Ake; De Bruyne, Rodri, Gundogan; Mahrez, Haaland, Grealish
Leicester City possible starting lineup:
Iversen; Castagne, Evans, Faes, Kristiansen; Dewsbury-Hall, Ndidi; Ricardo, Maddison, Tete; Vardy