While Manchester City continue to wipe the floor with anyone who visits the Etihad, their away form in any competition remains a worry for Manuel Pellegrini.
The Chilean manager will be aware of the pressure he faces to win a trophy in his debut season at City and he will have noted the Capital One Cup as one piece of silverware he has every chance of lifting.
But he his players face an in-form and high-flying Championship side in Leicester City who will have already dispatched Premier League Fulham, and they’ll be confident of an upset at the King Power Stadium.
But where will the key battles be on the field between a team desperate to prove themselves against top-flight opposition ahead of a possible promotion and a City side struggling on their travels?
Kasper Schmeichel v Costel Pantilimon
The former Manchester City keeper failed to impress the management during his time at the Etihad and, after five loan spells, was sold to Notts County in 2009. Since then the 27-year-old Dane has proven to be one of the best shot stoppers in the Football League, and he’ll be eager to prove City that it was a mistake to allow him to leave the club.
Pantilimon has had his first sniff of first team football for City in recent weeks, after Pellegrini dropped Joe Hart, and he won’t want to give his first team spot up easily.
It’ll be a battle between a former Manchester City understudy and a current one, which should prove interesting. Either way, with Leicester looking good for promotion to the Premier League, Schmeichel will have plenty more chances to prove a point.
Anthony Knockaert v Jack Rodwell
Jack Rodwell’s time at City has been a frustrating one, plagued with injury and having to compete with some of Europe’s best midfielders for game time.
But the Capital One Cup gives him the perfect opportunity to show manager Pellegrini that he can be an important asset, although he will have to deal with a French attacking midfielder who is improving with every game at Leicester.
Knockaert is becoming an influential member of Nigel Pearson’s side as they chase promotion back to the top-flight and could provide Rodwell and City with a number of problems if he is given the time and space in front of the defence, with his ability to hit the target from long range a real threat.
Lloyd Dyer v Gael Clichy
Dyer’s pace on the wing has led to him being an important fixture in Leicester’s side since 2008. He’s netted five goals so far this season – two in the Capital One Cup – and can be a thorn in the side of any defender he runs at.
Clichy likes to get forward at any given opportunity but, if Dyer sees a lot of the ball, he could spend a lot of the game defending.
Dyer’s impact on the wing doesn’t just get him goals, but he regularly turns provider and, if Clichy can keep him quiet all game, Leicester’s attacking threat will take a hit.
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