After City’s mesmerising run in the Premier League continued at the weekend with a thumping of media darlings Lilywhite Totttenham Hotspurs, Pep takes his energised squad to the home of the 2015/16 Premier League Champions for the League Cup Quarter Final.
Despite some atrocious challenges from the petulant Spurs England Heroes Kane and Alli, hitting the post twice including once from the penalty spot and missing some gilt edged (but sharp) chances, City still managed to slice them apart and put four past Loris. The sweetest of which has to be the sublime Kevin De Bruyne’s screamer, struck with all the venom of someone spurred into action after Alli’s cowardly attempt to hurt him with a foul which should have seen the over-rated and childish Spurs player taking an early shower. Another ‘test’ passed and another set of words shoved back down the throats of the sceptics and pundits who were so quick to dismiss Guardiola after his first season in ‘the toughest league in the World’.
I expect KDB will get a well deserved rest for this fixture as Pep rings the changes. Perhaps another run out for Foden – after being named the BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year the talented player they call the ‘Stockport Iniesta’ may well be in the mood to show his skills off. An overhaul of the defence plus starts for Toure, Bernardo Silva and the revived Gundogan are on the cards. The latter was beaming from ear to ear after he gave City the lead on Saturday strolling through the Spurs penalty area to nod the ball home. We await news of David Silva’s status after he missed Saturday’s game for personal reasons – whatever it was we wish him well.
Leicester City came back down to earth with a bump at the King Power last weekend when they got stuffed 0-3 by an improving Crystal Palace. Having won four consecutive games in the league including thumping Southampton 1-4 away from home they must have thought they could relax – after all it was only Palace. Well, that is something about which we only know too well – take your foot off the gas at your peril in the Premier League.
I expect Puel will field a strong side as he seeks to give his players a chance to redeem themselves and progress to the semi finals of a competition they have a decent chance of succeeding in.
Either way City will not give up the competition even though the changes & rotation will give a clear indication of where Pep and the club’s priorities lie. Pep knows the value of maintaining a winning mentality but he also knows that some knocks are inevitable given the pressures and demands of a season where you play competitive matches every three days.
Onwards and upwards!
Come On City!!!
Referee: Robert Madley
Assistant Referees: Marc Perry; Constantine Hatzidakis
Fourth Official: Stuart Attwell
Leicester City – Huth remains sidelined & Ndidi is suspended after his red card at the weekend.
Manchester City – Mendy, Kompany & Stones remain sidelined with hopefully the latter returning to action in time within a few weeks
Potential starting XI, subs & formation
Danilo, Adarabioyo, Mangala, Zinchenko
Toure, Gundogan, B SIlva, Foden
G Jesus, Aguero
Ederson, Walker, Otamendi, Delph, Sane, Sterling, Aguero
Leicester City v Manchester City – Match Preview