Leicester City will be aiming to take a step closer towards qualifying for the knockout stages of the UEFA Europa League when they face Legia Warsaw this week.

Leicester City will be itching to end their four-game winless streak across all competitions when they lock horns with Legia Warsaw at the King Power Stadium in a UEFA Europa League Group C encounter on Thursday night.

Leicester go into the game on the back of a 3-0 hammering at the hands of Chelsea in the Premier League, which will have affected morale within the team. However, with qualification to the knockout stages of the competition on the line, Brendan Rodgers will need to rally his troops to bounce back strongly in the midweek clash.

The Foxes are currently bottom of Group C, with five points from four games, but they are just two points shy of leaders Spartak Moscow, who have played a game more. So, a victory on Thursday would put Leicester on top, giving them a good chance of progressing to the next round. However, Legia Warsaw will not make it easy for the Midlands club, especially having already beaten them 1-0 in the reverse fixture this term.

The Polish club started brightly in Europe with wins against Spartak Moscow and Leicester but were then handed back-to-back heavy defeats by Napoli, leaving them third in the table. Their form in domestic football has also been concerning, with Marek Golebiewski’s side most recently losing 3-2 to Gornik Zabrze. With chances of advancement to the next round very much alive, they will be gunning for a win on Thursday.

Team News & Tactics

Leicester City

Leicester City will again be without Youri Tielemans and Ricardo Pereira, who are ruled out until next month, while Wesley Fofana remains unavailable for selection. James Justin is closing in on a return to action but will likely spend more time with the Under-23s before rejoining the first team.

Brendan Rodgers will likely keep rotation at a minimum for Thursday’s game and look to name his strongest starting lineup, given that their place in the knockout stages is yet to be confirmed. The Foxes will set up in a 3-4-1-2 formation in front of goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel with Daniel Amartey, Jonny Evans and Jannik Vestergaard joining forces in the three-man backline.

Timothy Castagne is a certainty to feature at right wing-back in Pereira’s absence, while Ryan Bertrand could edge out Luke Thomas for a starting berth on the opposite wing. There is no looking past the duo of Wilfred Ndidi and Boubakary Soumare in the middle of the park. Meanwhile, the creative onus will fall on the shoulders of James Maddison, who ought to line up as the solitary attacking midfielder.

Kelechi Iheanacho is a regular fixture in the lineup for Leicester’s Europa League fixtures, and that will remain unchanged on Thursday night. He is likely to be partnered with summer signing Patson Daka, with Jamie Vardy and Ayoze Perez being options from the bench.

Probable Lineup (3-4-1-2): Schmeichel; Amartey, Evans, Vestergaard; Castagne, Ndidi, Soumare, Bertrand; Maddison; Iheanacho, Daka

Legia Warsaw

Former Leicester City winger Bartosz Kapustka is sidelined for the visitors, while Joel Abou Hanna is another injury-enforced absentee for the trip to King Power Stadium. Marek Golebiewski will also set his team up with a three-man defensive unit much like their opponents on Thursday night.

However, with Leicester likely to dominate possession and keep coming at them, the Polish outfit will be lining up with five defenders at the back for most of the time, with both wing-backs expected to drop deep. Cezary Miszta will be guarding the goal for Legia Warsaw, with Artur Jedrzejczyk, Mateusz Wieteska and Maik Nawrocki being the three centre-backs, flanked by Mattias Johansson and Filip Mladenovic.

Ihor Kharatin will provide further protection to the defence from the holding midfield position. He will have the responsibility of cutting down the influence of James Maddison. He will have support from Bartosz Slisz and Andre Martins, while the duo will also look to join in on the attacks when the visitors do push forward.

Josue, who has four assists this season, will slot in the hole behind the main striker, who should be Mahir Emreli, although the manager has other options in Tomas Pekhart and Ernest Muci.

Probable Lineup (3-5-1-1): Miszta; Jedrzejczyk, Wieteska, Nawrocki; Johansson, Slisz, Kharatin, Martins, Mladenovic; Josue; Emreli

Key Stats

  • Leicester City are currently on a run of four games without a victory across all competitions.
  • Legia Warsaw have lost eight of their last nine fixtures in all competitions.
  • Leicester City have failed to keep a clean sheet in eleven consecutive matches across all competitions. Their last shut-out came back in September in a Carabao Cup clash against Millwall.
  • Having not let in a single goal in their first two Europa League matches of the season, Legia Warsaw have shipped in seven in their last two outings.
  • Like Legia Warsaw, Leicester City have also conceded seven goals so far in their European campaign this term.

Player to Watch

James Maddison

James Maddison needs to step up. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

James Maddison needs to step up. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Having been widely regarded as one of the best creative midfielders in England not long ago, the Leicester City playmaker has gone off the boil this season and has found himself out of Brendan Rodgers’ starting XI on a regular basis. Of his 17 appearances, only ten have been from the start, while his return of one goal and one assist makes for poor reading.

With Leicester in desperate need of some inspiration to get out of their recent rut and stand a chance of making it through to the next round of the Europa League, Maddison will need to step up his game and deliver on Thursday night, especially with the Foxes missing the services of Youri Tielemans. A big beckons the 25-year-old.

Prediction

Leicester City 2-1 Legia Warsaw

Legia Warsaw are going through a very poor run of form, but with Leicester City also struggling of late, this one is hard to call. However, given the Foxes’ overall quality and the fact that they will be playing in front of their home support, The Hard Tackle is predicting a narrow victory for Brendan Rodgers & co.

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