It hasn’t been the greatest of starts to the month for Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City. They were swept aside by an excellent Chelsea side at the Etihad, before a stoppage-time scrap meant both Sergio Aguero and Fernandinho saw red.
And as a result of their actions, the pair will be suspended for much of December, a month in which City still have to face the likes of Arsenal and, tomorrow’s opponents, reigning Premier League champions, Leicester City.
The Foxes haven’t had the best of starts to this season and find themselves dangerously close to the relegation zone in 16th-place.
But if ever there was an opportunity to kick-start their campaign, then this is it.
The loss of Sergio Aguero means City will pose only half the attacking threat they normally do, and they may be forced to field Kelechi Iheanacho, a player who’s yet to set the world alight this year.
But it’s Fernandinho’s absence that will arguably worry Guardiola even more, as the Brazilian has been instrumental in City’s solid start to the campaign, and it’s a tough task for anyone to step into his boots.
That’s something the Foxes can take advantage of, with midfield pair Danny Drinkwater and Nampalys Mendy likely to dominate proceedings in the centre of the park at the King Power Stadium.
To put it simply, Man City can’t afford to lose this one. Doing so would see them some seven points off Chelsea at the top of the league, assuming the Blues take all three points from their match against West Brom.
The last time City visited the King Power, they were held to a stalemate, and 12/1 says we see a repeat of that scoreline. Unlikely, though, given that Guardiola hasn’t been part of a 0-0 since way back in March.
With no Aguero, it’s hardly a surprise to see his likely replacement, Iheanacho, priced as the 4/1 favourite to open the scoring, while Jamie Vardy is available at 15/2 to net the first goal of the game.
Both sides know the importance of not losing this game, with the hosts having been defeated in four of their last six games in all competitions.
And we reckon the pair might just cancel each other out – it certainly wouldn’t be a bad point for either side. It’s 3/1 for this one to finish level.
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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing