Leicester City will be keen on consolidating their position in the top four of the Premier League when they take on Sheffield United this weekend.
Leicester City will be hoping to move into second place in the 2020/21 Premier League standings when they lock horns with bottom-feeders Sheffield United at the King Power Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Leicester are going through a bit of a patchy run of form of late, having won just one of their last four games in all competitions, although the victory came in their most recent fixture against Brighton & Hove Albion. With the likes of Chelsea and West Ham closing in from behind, it is imperative that the Foxes go on a winning run to consolidate their position in the top four.
Brendan Rodgers’ men are currently third in the standings, a point below second-placed Manchester United, who have a tricky assignment against West Ham later in the day. So, a win for the Foxes could potentially see them finish the gameweek behind leaders Manchester City, provided the Red Devils drop points.
Sheffield United, on the other hand, are in a bit of turmoil, with manager Chris Wilder leaving the club amidst the relegation battle. While an official announcement is yet to be made at the time of writing, the Blades cancelled Friday’s pre-match press conference, with reports of Wilder’s exit doing the rounds ever since.
BREAKING: Chris Wilder has left his role as manager of Sheffield United.
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) March 12, 2021
As things stand, Sheffield United are rooted to the bottom of the table with just 14 points from 28 games, 12 points behind Newcastle United in 17th. The Blades have lost four of their last five league games, including their latest fixture against Southampton. With Wilder’s impending exit, it remains to be seen who takes charge of the first-team on Sunday.
The reverse fixture had ended in a 2-1 win for Leicester City courtesy of a late winner by Jamie Vardy after Oliver McBurnie had cancelled out Ayoze Perez’s strike in the first half. Ahead of their latest meeting, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both teams.
Team News & Tactics
There is some good news on the injury front for manager Brendan Rodgers as Ayoze Perez, Dennis Praet and Jonny Evans have all recovered from their issues and are available for selection on Sunday. However, Harvey Barnes, James Maddison, Wes Morgan, James Justin and Cengiz Under will all miss out for Leicester City.
Rodgers has switched to a three-man defensive unit over the past couple of matches and could very well stick with a similar setup on Sunday with the backline of Caglar Soyuncu, Wesley Fofana and Daniel Amartey, who scored the winner against Brighton, shielding Kasper Schmeichel in the Foxes’ goal.
An update on four Foxes ahead of #LeiShu 👇
— Leicester City (@LCFC) March 12, 2021
Further protection will come from Wilfred Ndidi, who will look to redeem himself after a lacklustre showing in the previous game. Youri Tielemans and youngster Sidnei Tavares, who showed signs of promise against Brighton, should be the other two central midfielders, in charge of providing the forward thrust and creativity from the middle.
Ricardo Pereira and Timothy Castagne are the undisputed starters as the wing-backs on the right and left sides, respectively and will act as Leicester’s primary attacking outlets.
They will be tasked with carving out chances for the strike partnership of Kelechi Iheanacho and Jamie Vardy. Although, we will see the former drop deeper every now and then to try and get on the ball and link up with the midfielders.
Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Schmeichel; Amartey, Fofana, Soyuncu; Pereira, Tielemans, Ndidi, Sidnei, Castagne; Iheanacho, Vardy
Sheffield United will be without as many as six players for their trip to the King Power Stadium this weekend as John Egan, Chris Basham, Jack O’Connell, Jack Rodwell and Jack Robinson are all out, along with Sander Berge, who has recently been linked with Arsenal and Tottenham. Phil Jagielka is available again after serving out his suspension.
It remains to be seen as to who takes charge of the first-team given the recent development surrounding Chris Wilder. However, it is unlikely that there will be a change of system and structure on such short notice, meaning the Blades could continue in their 3-5-2 formation against Leicester.
Aaron Ramsdale will likely be a busy man in goal and needs to be at the top of his game on Sunday. He will need all the protection he can get from a patched-up backline of Phil Jagielka, Ethan Ampadu and Kean Bryan while George Baldock and Enda Stevens take up the wing-back slots for the Blades.
Oliver Norwood should be the designated defensive midfielder who will be tasked with keeping a check on Youri Tielemans’ forward forays. John Lundstram and John Fleck will flank the Northern Irishman and look to provide support to the team in both attacking and defensive phases.
At the top, the industrious David McGoldrick should get the nod once again. As for his partner, Oli McBurnie could get the nod ahead of the likes of Lys Mousset, Oliver Burke, Billy Sharp and Rhian Brewster.
Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Ramsdale; Ampadu, Jagielka, Bryan; Baldock, Lundstram, Norwood, Fleck, Stevens; McBurnie, McGoldrick
- Leicester City have won each of their three Premier League meetings with Sheffield United so far, scoring two goals on every occasion.
- Sheffield United have lost 13 of their last 15 away matches in the Premier League. They have also failed to score in five of their last six league games on the road.
- Leicester have lost as many as six Premier League games at home this season. The Foxes have won a league-low 36% of their total points tally on their home turf this term (19/53).
- Sheffield United have managed to find the back of the net just 16 times this season – the fewest by any team in the Premier League.
- Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy has either scored or assisted a goal in all three of his Premier League matches against Sheffield United so far.
Player to Watch
Kelechi Iheanacho’s last 6 domestic games:
⚽️ vs. Fulham
❌ vs. Wolves
⚽️ vs. Brighton
❌ vs. Arsenal
⚽️ vs. Burnley
⚽️ vs. Brighton
In decent goal scoring form. 🇳🇬👏 pic.twitter.com/rf5f8MwjYn
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) March 6, 2021
It has not been easy for the Nigerian to carve out a place for himself at the King Power. But, having been presented with a chance due to the recent flurry of injuries, Kelechi Iheanacho has made most of it. The ex-Manchester City ace was Leicester City’s saviour in the 1-1 draw against Burnley last week, as he netted the equaliser.
That was followed by another goal-scoring display against Brighton this past weekend, putting the team on course to seal a comeback win. Having now scored two in two, Iheanacho will be aiming to find the back of the net in three consecutive Premier League matches for the first time in his career when the Foxes take on Sheffield United.
Leicester City 2-0 Sheffield United
Leicester have been going through a dodgy run of late while their home form has not been all that impressive either while the absence of James Maddison and Harvey Barnes has impacted the fluidity in their attack. However, they did win their last game and will have the perfect chance to build momentum against a Sheffield United side in turmoil.
Indeed, the Blades are in a bad state heading into the weekend clash. Staring at the drop back to the Championship, they have been hit hard by injuries and are losing Chris Wilder as well. So, going up against a Leicester City side that has lost just two of their last fifteen league outings will be a daunting task.
The Hard Tackle, thus, predicts a straightforward victory for Leicester City at home this weekend.