Leicester City dug-in and battled out a scoreless draw against Manchester City on Tuesday, as the Foxes enter 2016 second on the Premier League table.
A favorite to get relegated when the season began, Leicester’s run has been one of the most amazing stories in Premier League history.
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On the other hand, Manchester City sit third on the table but will be disappointed with their play as of late, as it is title or bust for Manuel Pellegrini‘s men.
Here are three things we learned at the King Power Stadium.
LEICESTER EYEING TOP FOUR FINISH
Claudio Ranieri has been coy on his ambitions with Leicester City, consistently saying 40 points and Premier League survival was the goal. Now with 39 points at the midway point of the season, the Foxes have proven a top four finish is in their reach.
Ranieri decided to switch up his usual formation against Manchester City, opting to give Gokhan Inler his first start in more than three months. By putting the seasoned veteran in the middle of the pitch, Ranieri showed respect to City’s attack and understood a draw would be a good result, leaving Jamie Vardy as a lone striker. With the match still scoreless an hour in, Ranieri took off Inler and put on a striker in Leonardo Ulloa, going back to his preferred 4-4-2 formation as the Foxes pushed on for a win.
If Ranieri wanted to, he could have gone for the win from the start, but he instead played for a result to stay tight towards the top of the table. Tonight’s performance showed Leicester can put in gritty performances against the best in the league.
MANCHESTER CITY’S POOR AWAY FORM MUST BE FIXED
Manchester City’s last win away from home came back on September 12 at Crystal Palace, and that match saw a stoppage time winner give City all three points. After Tuesday’s scoreless draw at Leicester, the Citizens’ record away from home is 3-3-3, tied for the worst away record of teams in the top half of the table.
City have scored just one goal in their last five away matches, and have only scored a total of eight goals on the road all season. The only teams to score fewer away goals than City are Newcastle, Swansea, and West Brom. If Manuel Pellegrini wants to win the Premier League title this year, which is the only option in the eyes of the City board and supporters, their away form must improve tenfold in the second half of the season.
AGUERO’S HEALTH KEY TO MAN CITY
Sergio Aguero is one of the elite strikers in Europe, and is the reigning Golden Boot winner in the Premier League. However, he has struggled throughout his career to stay fit, as he has missed nearly half of City’s matches this season.
The Argentinian only managed 60 minutes against Leicester in just his second match back from a heel injury. It was clear Aguero is still trying to find his feet, as he was nowhere near top form on Tuesday. When Aguero is healthy, he causes all sorts of problems for an opposing defense. Not only is he a top goalscorer, but he also occupies the attention of the back-line, creating more space for the likes of Raheem Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne, and David Silva. With the recent struggles scoring away from home, a healthy Sergio Aguero could be a quick fix to those problems.