Tinkering Pep in a class of his own
Claudio Ranieri may be known as the ‘Tinkerman’ but he did his utmost to shred that reputation during Leicester’s unprecedented title triumph, never deviating from a 4-4-2 formation throughout the course of the season. The Italian coach has been a bit more experimental this time around but that is nothing compared with the chopping and changing that Pep Guardiola, his counterpart at Manchester City has been doing.
Both sides have progressed to the knockout stages of the Champions League but a much-weakened Foxes side were torn apart by Porto and the home side have a dreadful record against Saturday’s visitors, having not beaten the Citizens on home turf since 1988, back at the old Filbert Street.
Goal projections – Leicester City 1.05 Man City 1.86
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Team news & predicted starting line-ups for Leicester City v Man City
In his final season at Barcelona, Guardiola started to tinker with his formation a bit, having stuck religiously to a 4-3-3 system in the previous two La Liga campaigns. A 3-man defence was introduced on occasions but this is nothing compared to the flexibility he has shown since his sabbatical, at both Bayern Munich and now Manchester City,
In his first season in Bavaria 4-1-4-1 was his most-used set-up but according to WhoScored, he tried 10 different formations in his second season in Germany. It’s been a case of déjà vu since he took over the reins at the Etihad, so second-guessing what sort of formation he will opt for this weekend is fraught with difficulty.
Ranieri, on the other hand, is expected to stick with a 4-4-2 but he will be without the influential Danny Drinkwater, who misses out due to suspension.
Leicester City fantasy player to watch
Manchester City looked very susceptible to the counter-attack against Chelsea at the Etihad last weekend, so this could be a good opportunity for Jamie Vardy to use his blistering pace to good effect, as he attempts to rediscover the sort of form that terrorized Premier League defences last season.
Vardy has just 2 goals so far in the current campaign.
Leicester City team news
With Drinkwater the only absentee, Ranieri has a full squad to choose from and will be buoyed by the news that goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel is back in training.
The brilliant Danish stopper has an outside chance of replacing Ron-Robert Zieler, who has struggled for clean sheets.
Predicted starting line-up for Leicester City
Man City fantasy player to watch
The jury is still very much out on John Stones and Saturday’s fixture at the King Power Stadium will provide the young Englishman with another stern test.
City are stuck on just two clean sheets themselves for the season and that is not good enough for a side with title ambitions.
Man City team news
Guardiola may have become too much of a tinkerer but his hand is forced somewhat this weekend following the aftermath of City’s defeat to Chelsea.
Sergio Agüero, Fernandinho and Nicolás Otamendi are all ruled out through suspension, while Vincent Kompany misses out through injury.
Fabian Delph and Raheem Sterling could be involved to some capacity.
İlkay Gündoğan could sit this one out, after being deployed in the 1-1 draw against Celtic, which would pave the way for Fernando and Yaya Touré to start in midfield.
Predicted starting line-up for Man City
Who will come out on top in the battle of two managers who are known for their rotation policy – Guardiola or Ranieri ?