Leicester City will be hoping to complete a double over Leeds United when the two teams meet at the King Power Stadium on Sunday.
Leicester City have once again emerged as an unlikely title contender this season, sitting pretty at third place, ahead of a long list of top clubs of England. They will be aiming to sustain the pressure on the Manchester clubs when they play hosts to Leeds United at the King Power Stadium on Sunday.
The Foxes could have even found themselves at the top of the pile, if they hadn’t dropped points away to Everton in midweek. The 1-1 draw at the Goodison Park, though, was the only time they failed to secure a win in their last six matches in all competitions – a run of results that includes an impressive 2-0 win over Chelsea that saw the demise of Frank Lampard.
For Leeds United, it could be an opportunity to earn retribution after being simply outclassed by Brendan Rodgers’ men in the reverse fixture that ended 4-1. The Whites have had a pretty disappointing start to the calendar year, notably getting knocked out of the FA Cup by Crawley Town while losing to Tottenham and Brighton in the Premier League.
The Yorkshire outfit did return to winning ways in midweek, thanks to a 2-1 triumph over Newcastle United. Marcelo Bielsa’s men are now looking to continue their winning momentum and a victory against the high-flying Leicester City could certainly boost the morale in the camp.
Here, at The Hard Tackle, we will take a closer look at this exciting Premier League encounter at the King Power Stadium this weekend.
Team News & Tactics
Brendan Rodgers will have to deal with a few issues heading into this game. Starting from Jamie Vardy, who remains out on the sidelines, so we are likely to see Ayoze Perez continue as the false nine. The former Newcastle attacker is still adapting to his new role and a game against one of the weakest defences in the league could be an ideal opportunity for him to find the goals.
Perez will be aided by the creative trifecta of Harvey Barnes, James Maddison and Marc Albrighton. The two wide players should offer a lot of dynamism going forward while Maddison’s ability to pick out passes could cause problems for the Leeds defence that can be easily breached with a well-timed through ball in behind the backline.
In midfield, the absence of both Wilfred Ndidi and Dennis Praet means Rodgers is currently devoid of options and may have to continue with Youri Tielemans and Nampalys Mendy in the double-pivot. The two players do offer a lot of variety, with Tielemans’ more attack-oriented approach being covered by the defensive nature of Mendy.
They could also play a key role in the second line of press, helping to isolate and minimise the influence of the Leeds United midfielders. It could help them provide additional cover for the defensive backline that could see the return of Caglar Soyuncu.
The Turkish international could replace Jonny Evans at centre-back after the former Man United star had to be subbed off at half-time against Everton, in light of his blurred vision. It could pave the way for Soyuncu to form the central defensive partnership alongside Wesley Fofana with James Justin and Timothy Castagne operating as the full-backs.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Schmeichel; Justin, Fofana, Soyuncu, Castagne; Mendy, Tielemans; Albrighton, Maddison, Barnes; Ayoze Perez
Marcelo Bielsa faces a selection dilemma after his key player Diego Llorente sustained yet another injury against Newcastle United. He has been ruled out for three to four weeks, which could see Luke Ayling return to his makeshift centre-back role.
It could further see Stuart Dallas shifting to the right-back position, with Ezgjan Alioski continuing on the opposite flank. Alternatively, Bielsa could opt for three three-man pendulating backline with Pascal Struijk playing alongside Ayling and Liam Cooper centre-back while Dallas and Raphinha operate out wide as the wing-backs.
That is unlikely, especially considering how good Raphinha is going forward. His trickery, pace and ability to hit cross-field passes should once again be vital in the Leeds United attacking third, comprising of other talented stars like Jack Harrison, Rodrigo Moreno and Mateusz Klich.
The latter, though, could operate in a more defensive role, hoping to aid Kalvin Phillips who could be pinned by Leicester’s midfield duo of Tielemans and Mendy. On a positive note for Leeds, the 19-game threshold is over, which means the Pole, who was on four yellow cards against Newcastle, will be able to play his natural game without the risk of suspension for another booking.
And finally, the Leeds United attack should once again be led by Patrick Bamford, who is looking to get back into his scoring groove following a difficult start to 2021.
Probable Lineup (4-1-4-1): Meslier; Dallas, Ayling, Cooper, Alioski; Phillips; Raphinha, Klich, Rodrigo, Harrison; Bamford
- Leicester vs Leeds – Over 2.5 Match Goals @ 1.57
- Leicester City are looking to record a league double over Leeds for the first time since the 2004/05 campaign when the sides were in the Championship.
- Leeds United’s only previous Premier League match at the King Power Stadium was back in September 2003, losing 4-0 under Peter Reid. Their only away league win against Leicester City at the King Power was in November 2011 in the Championship, a 1-0 victory.
- Leicester City are looking to win four consecutive games against Leeds in all competitions for only the second time, also doing so between September 1997 and November 1998, although their last three wins have all been in different seasons, 2013/14, 2017/18 and 2020/21.
- Leicester are unbeaten in seven Premier League games with only Manchester City on a longer current run without defeat in the competition (12).
- Leeds are the only side yet to have had an away draw in the Premier League this season, with the Whites winning five and losing five of their 10 games on the road. Indeed, none of their last 16 Premier League away games have ended level since a 1-1 draw with Manchester United in February 2004.
Player to Watch
Goalkeepers could emerge as unlikely heroes in a game that promises so much attacking flair from both the sides. Illan Meslier, in particular, will be bracing himself for another difficult evening after conceding four goals in the reverse fixture.
However, it is fair to point out that the young Frenchman was excellent upon his return to the pitch against Newcastle United. Although he failed to keep a clean sheet, he was on high alert throughout the game and was particularly useful with his composure on the ball. It has visibly improved over the course of the campaign.
Meslier himself has grown as a goalkeeper since making his Premier League debut against Liverpool on opening day. And his heroics in between the sticks could certainly be required if the Whites are to have any hopes of salvaging anything from this game.
Leicester City 3-1 Leeds United
As mentioned earlier, this could be a high-scoring affair with both sides boasting massive firepower going forward. However, Leicester City are simply far more cohesive and balanced side than Leeds, whose depleted defensive unit could once again lead to their demise this weekend, even without Jamie Vardy spearheading the attack for the Foxes.