Leicester City will be looking to consolidate their position in the top three of the Premier League when they take on Wolves on Friday night.
Leicester City will be hoping to move into the second position in the Premier League table when they lock horns with ninth-placed Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Molineux on Friday.
After a brilliant start to the campaign during which they seemed to be an outside contender for the title, Leicester have fallen off in recent weeks and head into Friday’s contest with just two wins in their last seven matches in all competitions. However, Brendan Rodgers’ side still remain third in the table and stand a chance to move up the standings with a win at the Molineux.
Wolves are two points below sixth-placed Tottenham and could move into the Europa League qualifying places with a win against the Foxes. However, Nuno Espirito Santo’s side haven’t been in the best of form of late, winning just one of their last eight games across all competitions. They will be aiming to end that run this week and boost their chances for a top-six finish.
The reverse fixture played at the King Power on the opening day of the season had ended in a goalless draw. And ahead of the latest meeting between the two teams, we at The Hard Tackle take a closer look at the encounter.
Team News & Tactics
Wolves don’t have any major injury issues heading into Friday night’s contest with Ruben Vinagre the only player ruled out. Adama Traore is expected to be involved against Leicester having recovered from the shoulder injury he picked up in the last game against Manchester United prior to the winter break.
No change is expected in the 3-4-3 formation that Wolves have extensively used under Nuno, while there are unlikely to be a whole lot of changes to the starting XI that took the field against Manchester United. Rui Patricio is a guaranteed starter in goal for the hosts, while the three-man backline ought to comprise of Willy Boly, Romain Saiss and captain Conor Coady.
The wing-back slots will be occupied by Matt Doherty and Jonny, both of whom will have the license to romp forward at every opportunity and support the attackers. Portuguese duo Ruben Neves and Joao Moutinho will man the centre of the park and look to start attacks with their range of distribution.
The fit-again Traore is a certain starter on the right flank while Diogo Jota should pip Pedro Neto to the starting berth on the left-side. Raul Jimenez is the undisputed choice in the centre-forward role for Wolves.
Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Patricio; Saiss, Coady, Boly; Doherty, Neves, Moutinho, Jonny; Traore, Jimenez, Jota
Leicester City will be without five first-team players for their trip to the Molineux on Friday, most notable among them being midfielder Wilfried Ndidi. January signing Ryan Bennett, who arrived on loan from Wolves, will be ineligible to play against his parent club while Nampalys Mendy, Daniel Amartey and Matty James are all ruled out.
Brendan Rodgers is expected to set his team up in a 4-1-4-1 formation against Wolves, with Kasper Schmeichel, who will be leading the side on the night, manning the goal. Ricardo Pereira and Ben Chilwell ought to be the two full-backs and will need to stay alert to the runs of their counterparts. Jonny Evans and Caglar Soyuncu should pair up at the heart of the Foxes’ defence.
With Ndidi unlikely to be involved, Hamza Choudhury is in line to continue in the holding midfield role for Leicester, while the forward thrust and creativity from the centre should come from the dynamic duo of Youri Tielemans and James Maddison.
Harvey Barnes and Ayoze Perez should line up on the flanks and look to support star striker Jamie Vardy in the final third of the field.
Probable Lineup (4-1-4-1): Schmeichel; Pereira, Evans, Soyuncu, Chilwell; Choudhury; Perez, Tielemans, Maddison, Barnes; Vardy
- Leicester City have won just one of their last eight away league games against Wolves (D4 L3), winning 2-1 in the Championship in December 2006.
- Wolves have won both of their previous Premier League home games against Leicester, by a 4-3 scoreline each time.
- This will be Leicester’s ninth Premier League game on a Friday – they won their last such game 9-0 at Southampton in October, having failed to win any of their first seven on this day in the competition.
- Wolves have scored a league-high 20% of their Premier League goals from outside the box this season (7/35). However, only Sheffield United (1) have conceded fewer goals from distance than Leicester this term (2).
- Leicester City have lost as many Premier League games when scoring the first goal this season as they have when conceding first (3).
Player to Watch
The 23-year-old Englishman has been dragged into the spotlight for the wrong reason leading up to the game, after he was spotted partying in a night club earlier this week in Dubai during the winter break.
This isn’t the first time he has been criticized for such an incident, with Maddison facing flak when he was spotted in a casino the night England lost a Euro 2020 qualifier to the Czech Republic last October after leaving the squad due to illness.
However, Leicester boss Rodgers has quickly jumped to his player’s defence, claiming that the 23-year-old’s outside perception is far away from the reality. And Maddison, who has scored nine goals this term, will now be hoping to turn the attention away from his off-field antics and back to his performances with a solid display when the Foxes face Wolves on Friday.
Wolves 1-1 Leicester City
Both teams haven’t been at the top of their games in recent weeks. But, the winter break will have provided them with an opportunity to rest, relax and come back with a renewed vigour.
Jamie Vardy hasn’t been among the goals of late and given Leicester’s ordinary record at the Molineux, they might find it difficult to secure all three points. Wolves, too, have been goal-shy in recent matches and might find it difficult going up against the third-best defence in the league on Friday night. And hence, we at The Hard Tackle are predicting this to end in a 1-1 draw.