Leicester City will look to bounce back from their late collapse against Tottenham Hotspur when they host Brighton & Hove Albion on Sunday.

A victory seemed a foregone conclusion for Leicester City when James Maddison put the Foxes 2-1 ahead in the 76th minute on Wednesday night, until Steven Bergwijn netted a quickfire double at the death to steal all three points from the hosts. It was a moment to forget for Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers, who saw his side crumble in the closing stages, conceding twice in the final minutes.

The Northern Irish manager will seek a response from his players when Brighton & Hove Albion visit the King Power Stadium on Sunday afternoon. The Foxes have largely flattered to deceive this term and have massively underachieved compared to their success in past seasons.

Their inconsistencies mean they currently find themselves 10th in the Premier League table, ten points adrift of the top four, meaning a finish in the Champions League qualification spots is surely beyond them. While they have games in hand over some of the sides above them, it is hard to see Rodgers’s side climbing above Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham United, and Manchester United in the top-four race.

Brighton, meanwhile, enter the contest on the back of an excellent 1-1 draw with Chelsea on Tuesday evening, with central defender Adam Webster cancelling out a first-half strike from Hakim Ziyech at the Amex Stadium. The Seagulls have built a reputation as an aesthetically-pleasing footballing side under Graham Potter and are in good form to claim another scalp when they travel to East Midlands to face Leicester.

The reigning FA Cup champions suffered a 2-1 defeat to Brighton in the reverse fixture at the Amex Stadium back in September, but ran out 3-0 winners in the corresponding fixture at the King Power Stadium last season. Ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the two sides.

Team News & Tactics

Leicester City

Brendan Rodgers looks set to be without the services of as many as ten first-team players again this weekend. Timothy Castagne, Wesley Fofana, Ricardo Pereira, Ryan Bertrand, Jamie Vardy and Jonny Evans are sidelined for this weekend’s contest through injury, while Wilfred Ndidi, Kelechi Iheanacho and Nampalys Mendy will be unavailable for selection owing to their participation in the Africa Cup of Nations.

In some positive news, Daniel Amartey could return earlier than expected after Ghana’s early exit from the AFCON. He could start here to bolster the defence. James Justin made his first Premier League appearance in almost a year as a substitute in Leicester’s dramatic 3-2 defeat to Tottenham in the midweek, and with Marc Albrighton playing an unnatural full-back role, the 23-year-old could start this game.

Rodgers will continue to persevere with the 4-2-3-1 formation that has brought him mixed results in recent weeks. Kasper Schmeichel will operate in between the sticks for the Foxes. Daniel Amartey will return to feature along with Caglar Soyuncu at the heart of the Leicester backline as they look to keep things solid at the back.

Luke Thomas was withdrawn early in the last game after sustaining a knock, but the 20-year-old is fit enough to start at left-back. James Justin will look to give a good account of himself upon his full return on the other flank as the right-back.

Boubakary Soumare was fit to feature off the bench at Tottenham and can make a full return this weekend, with Youri Tielemans handed a much-needed breather after a lacklustre display last time out. Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall will partner the Frenchman in the midfield positions as they look to dominate the battle in the middle of the park.

James Maddison has been in sensational form of late and will provide the creative spark in the No. 10 slot, with Harvey Barnes and Ademola Lookman providing the width from the flanks. With Jamie Vardy out injured, the onus will be on Patson Daka to produce the goods in the final third.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Schmeichel; Justin, Amartey, Soyuncu, Thomas; Dewsbury-Hall, Soumare; Lookman, Maddison, Barnes; Daka

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Brighton & Hove Albion

In a big blow for the visitors, Brighton & Hove Albion will be without manager Graham Potter this weekend after the English coach tested positive for COVID-19. But Potter will be in touch with the coaching team from home, with assistant manager Billy Reid leading the charge for this game.

Reid revealed during his pre-match press briefing that Shane Duffy and Adam Lallana would both be out of contention this weekend through respective injuries. The Seagulls will also be missing Enock Mwepu, Jeremy Sarmiento, Jason Steele and Yves Bissouma through a mix of AFCON participation and fitness issues.

Lewis Dunk will only make the bench at best should the central defender come through Saturday’s training session unscathed while Tariq Lamptey could drop to the bench here, with Potter managing the electric full-back’s minutes carefully. Robert Sanchez will continue in goal, with the Seagulls lining up in a 4-2-3-1 formation in front of him.

A back four of Joel Veltman, Adam Webster, Dan Burn and Marc Cucurella is expected to start against Leicester, with Cucurella providing additional width surging forward with his high-octane style and creativity. Jakub Moder and Pascal Gross ought to form the double-pivot providing grit and tenacity while also being tasked to contain the threat of Maddison.

Neal Maupay and Leandro Trossard will be pushing for returns in the attacking third after being benched in Brighton’s 1-1 draw with Chelsea. Solly March will take his regular place on the right-hand side, with Alexis Mac Allister operating in the central role in the attacking trio sitting just behind main striker Maupay, who will be hoping to add to his tally of seven league goals this term.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Sanchez; Veltman, Webster, Burn, Cucurella; Moder, Gross; March, Mac Allister, Trossard; Maupay

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Key Stats

  • Brighton have only won three of their 17 away league games against Leicester (D3 L11); the most recent win came back in April 2014, a resounding 4-1 success.
  • The Seagulls have only lost one of their ten Premier League away games this season (W3 D6); no team in the top-flight has lost fewer away matches than Graham Potter’s side this term.
  • Leicester City boast a decent track record at home this season, with five of the hosts’ seven wins this term coming at home.
  • No top-flight side has played out more stalemates than Brighton this season (11), with 7 of them ending in a 1-1 scoreline.
  • Brighton have scored 22 goals this campaign, the fourth-worst attacking record in the division. Only seventh-placed Wolverhampton Wanderers have scored fewer goals than them in the top half of the league table.
  • Should Brighton secure a win here, they can complete a league double against the Foxes for only the third time in club history after defeating them at home earlier this season.

Player to Watch

James Maddison

Embed from Getty Images

With nine goals and six assists in all competitions to his name, James Maddison has been one of the few bright spots in this mediocre campaign for Leicester. The England international has been on a roll in recent outings and will be the biggest threat that the visitors will have to keep a close eye on.

Maddison has been directly involved in eight goals across his last seven Premier League games (5G 3A). The English playmaker will again be vying to make major contributions for the Foxes in this crunch tie.

Prediction

Leicester City 1-1 Brighton & Hove Albion

Both sides will be without several key players for this encounter. Brighton are a side not to be taken lightly in the Premier League this season, and given their form, it is tough to envisage the Seagulls losing on the road. Converting one point into three has been their issue, but they will be rising in confidence after claiming a point off Chelsea last time out, a game in which they were actually the better team on the day.

Even with Jamie Vardy and Kelechi Iheanacho missing, Leicester will carry an attacking threat, but Brighton have been supremely organised at the back all season.

It is hard to separate both sides, and a share of the spoils appears to be the most likely conclusion. The Hard Tackle predicts a low-scoring 1-1 stalemate at the King Power Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

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