Premier League

Leicester City-Manchester City Preview

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola warned Leicester City will propose a tough task despite the absentee-hit Foxes appearing out of form heading into Sunday's clash.

City sit top of the Premier League tree at Christmas after demolishing Newcastle United 4-0, while Leicester have suffered from a mixed spell of form and sit in ninth.

Guardiola, however, knows all about the quality of Brendan Rodgers' side, who defeated City 5-2 in this exact fixture last term.

"A top quality manager, with exceptional players in all departments," Guardiola said of Rodgers and Leicester. "Sometimes seasons have highs and lows.

"Maybe we are used to seeing them all the time up there. Hats off to how the club works, in recruitment, readapting and readjusting. Sometimes they are not consistent, but in one game, with the quality they have, anything can happen. Remains the same value I give to them.

"The quality they have from the keeper to Jamie Vardy, they're exceptional."

Leicester have not played a top-flight game since December 12, a 4-0 win over Newcastle United, but the Foxes were dumped out the EFL Cup on penalties by Liverpool.

Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers bemoaned the strain the busy period places on his players as he is likely to be without Timothy Castagne, Harvey Barnes and Jonny Evans.

"This period is particularly busy anyway, even when you have a full-strength squad," Rodgers said. "But to play Manchester City on Sunday and then Liverpool again on Tuesday, it's not good for the players, for their health and welfare, it's not ideal.

"It's been deemed that we have to play on for another two weeks and we'll take it from there. We'll look to be as competitive as we can."

Manchester City – Raheem Sterling

Sterling has scored in each of his last three Premier League games – he last scored in four in a row in the competition between August and September 2017.

Leicester City – Jamie Vardy

Vardy has scored eight top-flight goals against City, including two hat-tricks. Only Alan Shearer (11) and Wayne Rooney (9) have ever netted more Premier League goals against the Citizens than Vardy.

- Man City are unbeaten in eight home league games on Boxing Day (W6 D2), winning each of the last six in a row. Their last such defeat came in 1996-97 against Port Vale in the second tier (0-1).

- Leicester have won just one of their last 11 Premier League games on Boxing Day (D2 L8), though that victory did come against reigning champions Manchester City in 2018-19.

- Leicester have lost three of their eight away league games this season (W2 D3), as many as they did in the whole of last season (W11 D5 L3). Both of the Foxes' wins on the road this term have come against promoted sides (2-1 vs both Norwich and Brentford).

- Man City's Riyad Mahrez has been on the losing side in all five of his Premier League appearances on Boxing Day – the worst 100% loss record on the day in the competition's history. His only previous such game with Manchester City was in 2018-19, which ended in defeat to former club Leicester.

- Leicester's Jamie Vardy has never scored in six Premier League appearances on Boxing Day – he's one of just three players to score over 100 goals in the competition but never on Boxing Day, along with Sergio Agüero and Les Ferdinand.

Updated December 24, 2021

@STATS_Football