Date: 8th December 2016 at 4:24pm
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City travel to the home of miss-firing Premier League Champions Leicester City this weekend still nursing sense of grievance over events at the Etihad last Saturday so let’s just get that out of the way first shall we?

The decisions of Anthony Taylor last weekend have been the subject of much discussion and debate elsewhere on VMC (& elsewhere). Simply stated he bottled a critical decision last weekend which would have resulted in David Luiz being able to use all the hot water in the away dressing room showers well before the rest of his team mates left the pitch. The events at the end of the game can be traced directly to this decision and the frustration which grew among the City players to the point where the red mist was almost inevitable. That his inept performance was subsequently backed up by the weak and baffling decisions of the three man ‘expert panel’ not to take any further action against Chalobah or the sly, deceitful Fabregas for offences that would have been red carded at any other time simply compounded his poor performance. In summary – a total stitch up. I couldn’t quite believe my ears the other evening when I heard a football pundit rating Fabregas’s actions as being clever. Really? Fernandinho may have been foolish for allowing his frustration get the better of him, but is that really the kind of behaviour you want you see in professional sport? Would that guy be proud of his son behaving like that in his local u12 match? I know I wouldn’t be. Unbelievable Jeff.

Right, now we have got that out of the way, on to matters this coming weekend…

Leicester have found that it is tough at the top. Well, actually they’re nowhere near the top right now having have discovered that success can be a fleeting feeling. They have slipped down the Premier League table to a point where they lie in 16th place two points above the drop zone making the heady days of last May seem like a bit of a dream. The worst title defence ever? Funny how we aren’t hearing too much of that in the media. It seems the sympathy vote for last season’s surprise package and the archetypal underdogs lingers on and they are being given a bit of a free pass by the journalists who tend to focus on how well they have done in their inaugural Champions League campaign. To qualify for the last 16 of the competition is no mean feat and they have done well…but the true test lies ahead and life will be slightly different in the knockout round.

Shorn of the defensive shield that was Kante they seem to have found life somewhat tougher this season. This has been compounded by last season’s Wonder Boy, Jamie Vardy, struggling to repeat the form he showed in Leicester’s title winning run. I seriously hope that he doesn’t find his shooting boots this weekend but as always I tend to get a bad feeling whenever City face this kind of player – they always seem to find their mojo just in time for our visit.

One of the other significant weapons in their armoury last season was their penalty count – with Vardy marauding at pace into opposing penalty areas he tended to win a substantive number of spot kicks – they topped the table with 13 last season. This was 5 more than the second placed team in that particular table…Manchester City. This season they are joint top of the penalty count table having been awarded 5…the same number as, yes, you’ve guessed it, Manchester City.

Would it be absurd also to venture that the early season emphasis from officials that wrestling and grabbing the shirts of opponents in the penalty area would be punished may have shorn Huth and Morgan of a substantial element of their defensive repertoire? Cloud the removal of this weapon from the central defenders actually be making them easier to hold off and prevent them from use of the dark arts?

What I do know is that Leicester as a team have been pulled up for 175 fouls so far this season and received 23 yellow cards. Manchester City on the other hand have committed 30 fewer fouls (145) but have managed to acquire 6 more bookings (29 v 23). Hmmmm. We’re way ahead of them in the red card front though – a resounding 3-0 victory there. Not entirely sure that the ratio of cards to fouls matches my feeling that City are a dirty side. Are our fouls worse than the other teams? There is something not sitting right about that ratio but I haven’t yet put my finger on it.

Anyway, this weekend sees Michael Oliver in charge of the whistle and all things arbitrary like ignoring blatant obstructions, inconsistent decisions and selective eyesight. I hope he has a good game.

Leicester will be missing the services of Danny Drinkwater in their midfield as he is suspended for this fixture as is our Nicolas Otamendi. Mind you after he was culpable for two of Chelsea`s goals last weekend he might need some time to regain his composure and watch a few videos of his performance. Perhaps he can watch the match on TV from a horizontal position just to make it feel familiar given his tendency to spend much of his time on the pitch going to ground and not winning he ball. With Otamendi absent either Kolarov or Sagna might find themselves in central defence.

Of course we will also be missing Sergio Aguero and Fernandinho who are also starting their long domestic suspensions following Aguero`s rush of blood and the latter swallowing Fabregas`s bait hook, line and sinker. Aguero seems to have been a bit ‘off colour’ recently – he certainly hasn’t been taking his chances as clinically as we have seen in the past – and so the latter may well be the bigger miss against a hard working Leicester midfield. Iheanacho is certain to deputise up front and Fernando would be expecting to slot into his compatriot’s place on the team sheet but don’t be surprised if Pep pulls another choice out of his Tactical Sorting Hat. A doubt remains regarding Sterling who may face a late fitness test. Mahrez and Okasaki haven’t gone anywhere either so they will need to be carefully marshalled.

Both sides come to this game having made substantial changes to their starting line ups for their respective mid-week Champions League clashes. Whilst City managed a draw against Celtic, Leicester were on the end of a 5-0 thumping by Porto. It remains to be seen which team will feel the benefit most come Saturday evening. I hope it’s us.

Come On City!!!

Team News

Man City
Out – Kompany; Aguero (suspension); Fernandinho (suspension); Otamendi (suspension)
Doubtful – Sterling

Leicester City
Out – Schmeichel; Drinkwater (suspension)
Doubtful –

Premier League Standing & Form

04 Manchester City P14 W9 D3 L2 GF30 GA15 GD+15 Pts30 Form DWDWWL
16 Leicester City P14 W3 D4 L7 GF17 GA24 GD-07 Pts13 Form WDLLDL

Previous meeting (last 3 matches)

EPL 06/02/16 Manchester City 1 Leicester City 3
EPL 29/12/15 Leicester City 0 Manchester City 0
EPL 04/03/15 Manchester City 2 Leicester City 0
EPL 13/12/14 Leicester City 0 Manchester City 1
EPL 17/12/13 Leicester City 1 Manchester City 3
EPL 18/01/11 Manchester City 4 Leicester City 2

Goals – Leicester City 6 Manchester City 11
Y Cards – Leicester City 5 Manchester City 10
R Cards – Leicester City 0 Manchester City 0

Top scorers (all comps)

Manchester City – Aguero 16; Sterling 5; Nolito 5 Gundogan 5; Iheanacho 5
Leicester City – Mahrez 7; Okazaki 5; Slimani 5

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