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Why Leicester City could return to form against Manchester City on Saturday

Wednesday 7th December 2016
Leicester City are enduring the worst title defence in Premier League history with the Foxes currently embroiled in a relegation battle just months after winning the league.

Claudio Ranieri's side face the impossible with a travel-happy Manchester City side next up in the Premier League, but here's why the defending champions could get a result at the King Power Stadium on the weekend.
Leicester are underdogs ahead of Saturday's clash with the Sky Blues, but did take four points off Manchester City in their last two Premier League meetings. In 11 home games in all competitions, the Foxes have won six and drawn three so they're still proving to be a difficult side in their own backyard. They have a style of play that could be effective against Pep Guardiola's men too, having pace on the break to sting sides on the counter.

Summer-signing Ahmed Musa is one of the fastest players in football and has impressed in parts upon his arrival from CSKA Moscow. He would be key for Leicester getting the ball from back to front in speedy fashion if they can turnover possession from Manchester City. The away side have been playing an open and expansive style that sees their defence pushed high up, and this style was what Leicester took advantage of in their title-winning campaign in 2015/16.

Manchester City have kept just one clean sheet in all competitions since September and were ruthlessly exposed by a counter-attacking Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium on the weekend. Leicester will take real hope from the game as a result, and have the personnel capable of hurting City's three-man backline at the King Power Stadium.

All three of Chelsea's goals in their 3-1 win over Man City came from direct football on the break, a style of play Leicester have utilised under Ranieri. And with a lack of width with a three-man defence, working the flanks on the counter might be a tactic worth deploying. Guardiola is a manager who focuses on the weakness of the opposition, rather than changing his side's style to nullify a club's strengths.

Despite it being common knowledge that Leicester have struggled to play an effective counter-attacking style as they did last season due to opposition clubs playing deeper and giving no space in behind the defence for players to run into, Manchester City aren't going to abandon their principles under the Spanish coach and will operate with a high defensive line to put pressure on Leicester deep in their opponent's half.

Manchester City's defence is very exploitable too, and could really struggle to contain two industrious strikers for 90 minutes. Leicester have operated with two energetic forwards under Ranieri and could pull the Sky Blues' defence to pieces on the weekend. The visitors won't have striker Sergio Aguero either, serving a four-match ban, so Leicester's defence might have an easier time than expected.

Leicester boast the bragging rights in recent head-to-heads with Manchester City, but they aren't the same side this season after winning the title. Can they return to form?
Crippy Cooke

Crippy is a long-suffering Aston Villa supporter and weekly football accumulator enthusiast.

Stealing a living, the balding 27-year-old boasts a wealth of writing experience - Telegraph, Independent, Huffington Post, Zoo Magazine, Daily Mail, ITV Football, MSN Sport, Yahoo Sport, London 24 and Bleacher Report.

Total articles: 330

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