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|To Win and Total Goals||Odds|
|Manchester City and Under 2.5||+285
|Manchester City and Over 2.5||+125
Pep Guardiola’s side possesses plenty of attacking firepower and should pick up another three points this weekend.
Manchester City broke the British transfer record to sign Jack Grealish for £100m this summer. Yet despite that eye-catching purchase of one of the most technically gifted players in the Premier League, there was a certain sense of unfulfilled ambitions at the Etihad Stadium when the window closed last Tuesday. City’s priority at the end of last season was to sign a new striker following Sergio Aguero’s departure. And although Pep Guardiola insists he is perfectly happy with the squad at his disposal, he may come to lament the club’s failure to land either Harry Kane or Cristiano Ronaldo.
City spent most of the summer pursuing Kane, but their strategy was undermined by a surprising naiveté. The Premier League champions betrayed a lack of understanding of Daniel Levy, the long-serving Tottenham Hotspur chairman who has long been renowned as a tough negotiator. To think Levy would suddenly buckle and lower his demands was a strategic error that ultimately forced City to withdraw from negotiations in the final week of the window.
A late swoop for Cristiano Ronaldo looked set to be successful up until last Friday, when news broke that Manchester United had hijacked their crosstown rivals’ move for one of the greatest players of all time. Ronaldo has now sealed his return to Old Trafford and will make his second debut for the club against Newcastle United this weekend. City, meanwhile, will persevere with their so-called striker-less system.
Not that it has done them any harm so far this season. Ferran Torres, nominally a winger, has excelled through the middle and notched a brace in the 5-0 thrashing of Arsenal last time out. No team in the Premier League has scored more goals than Manchester City after three games. There is little doubt that this would have been a stronger team with Kane leading the line, but Guardiola’s side are still favorites to win the title for good reason.
Leicester have the same points tally as Manchester City, but they have yet to convince this term. Perhaps that is harsh, but the Foxes were fortunate to overcome Wolverhampton Wanderers on the opening day, winning 1-0 despite conceding the better chances to their opponents. In the subsequent 4-1 loss to West Ham United, Brendan Rodgers understandably pointed to Ayoze Perez’s first-half red card as the turning point. But West Ham were in control of the game before then, as Leicester struggled to progress the ball up the pitch.
Rodgers’ side then beat Norwich City 2-1 in the round of fixtures immediately prior to the international break, but their all-round performance was nothing to write home about. Leicester have not yet clicked into gear this season, and while it is pleasing that they managed to pick up wins regardless, that is unlikely to continue forever. Rodgers will want to see an improved display here, although he would no doubt have hoped for a kinder fixture to produce one in.
It will be interesting to see what Leicester do this season. They narrowly missed out on the top four in each of the last two campaigns, falling away late on to finish fifth on both occasions. Given the degree to which the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea have strengthened over the summer, the Foxes might struggle to get so close to the Champions League this time around.
Injuries have prevented Leicester fielding a settled, first-choice backline so far this season. Jonny Evans, Ricardo Pereira, Jannik Vestergaard, Wesley Fofana and James Justin are all still out, so Rodgers will be forced to pick a makeshift defense to take on the champions. Daniel Amartey will partner Caglar Soyuncu in the center, while Luke Thomas could continue at left-back if Ryan Bertrand is not ready to start.
If everyone was fit, Leicester might feasibly field an entirely different back four to the one that will appear on Saturday. That is a concern given the firepower Manchester City possess in attack. Even with Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden missing Guardiola could field any number of excellent combinations in the final third, and whichever trio he opts for will be capable of causing damage to Leicester.
The Foxes have scored in each of their matches so far this season, and Jamie Vardy in particular has looked sharp. They may well get on the scoresheet again this weekend, but it is hard to see them preventing Manchester City scoring at least one more goal than them. Back an away win in a match featuring more than 2.5 goals.
|Leicester City vs Manchester City Information|
|Teams||Leicester City vs Manchester City|
|Location||King Power Stadium, Leicester, England|
|Time||Saturday, 11 September 2021, 10.00 AM EDT|
|How to watch||NBC Sports|
Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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