Leeds United and Leicester City, the two sides who will clash on Saturday at the King Power Stadium, do not share a lot in common historically. However, what has united them this season is that they both have failed to live up to the expectations.
After finishing in fifth place last season, many expected Leicester City to challenge for a UEFA Champions League berth, but they instead find themselves in a midfield muddle. The Foxes are placed in the 12th position in the table, having accumulated only 30 points from 24 fixtures.
Leeds United’s story is very similar. They finished ninth last season in what was their first top-flight campaign after 16 years. However, just as when their fans hoped that the team will challenge for the top eight, Leeds’ progression graph has taken a turn towards the south.
With only 23 points from 26 matches, they are struggling in the 16th position, just two places and as many points above the dreaded relegation zone. Their appalling form has led to the conclusion of the Marcelo Bielsa era with Jesse Marsch being appointed as the new manager.
Let us have a look at the in-depth analysis of what to expect from this fixture.
LEICESTER CITY IN PREMIER LEAGUE SO FAR THIS SEASON
Leicester City have blown hot and cold throughout this season with bad days outweighing the good days. They had a poor first couple of months, winning only two of their first seven matches. A couple of wins helped them find their rhythm, but all of the good work was undone in the next six matches of which the Foxes won only one.
Two wins over the next three matches helped Brendan Rodgers’ team get their place back in the top half of the standings once again. But for the second time in this season, they failed to capitalize on the momentum they had gained.
In the first two months of 2022, Leicester City played five matches in the Premier League and failed to win any of those games – losing three and drawing two. However, what might act as a spring in their steps is the 2-0 victory against Burnley in their last match.
PREDICTED LINEUP AND TACTICS AGAINST LEEDS UNITED
Rodgers will miss six of his first-team players in this match, and coincidentally, all of those six players are defenders. From them, four players in Timothy Castagne, Jonny Evans, James Justin, and Ricardo Pereira are out with thigh injuries.
Besides that, centre-back Wesley Fofana is yet to recover from the horrific injury he sustained in a pre-season friendly against Villarreal, though Rodgers has said that Fofana is eventually regaining match sharpness and might feature in a few Under-23 matches before rejoining the senior team. Ryan Bertrand, who had his knee surgery last month, will also be unavailable for this fixture.
The Northern Irish tactician is likely to set his team up in a 4-3-3 formation. Marc Albrighton, Daniel Amartey, Caglar Soyuncu, and Luke Thomas is expected to form the backline with Kasper Schmeichel being the last line of defence.
James Maddison, Jamie Vardy, and Harvey Barnes are likely to comprise the front three, whilst the responsibility of controlling the tempo from the midfield could be on the shoulders of Youri Tielemans, Wilfred Ndidi, and Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall.
Probable Playing XI (4-3-3): Kasper Schmeichel; Marc Albrighton, Daniel Amartey, Caglar Soyuncu, Luke Thomas; Youri Tielemans, Wilfred Ndidi, Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall; James Maddison, Jamie Vardy, Harvey Barnes.
LEEDS UNITED IN PREMIER LEAGUE SO FAR THIS SEASON
As their current position in the league standings portrays, Leeds United have hardly got going in the ongoing season of the Premier League after a commendable 2021/22 campaign. They started their journey will a winless streak of six matches.
A couple of wins from their next four fixtures helped the Whites climb up in the standings, but they could not encash on it to venture into the top 10 as they won only one of their following eight fixtures.
Following a similar pattern, Leeds then registered a couple of consecutive wins against Burnley and West Ham United, but it was succeeded by another string of subpar performances. In their last six matches, Kalvin Phillips and co. have accumulated only a solitary point.
PREDICTED LINEUPS AND TACTICS AGAINST EVERTON
Jesse Marsch will not be able to field a full-strength team in his first match in charge as Leeds United’s manager as five of his players are currently in the treatment room.
Liam Cooper and Kalvin Phillips, both of whom are out with thigh issues, are reportedly close to getting back to their 100-per cent, but this match will come a bit too soon for their liking.
Besides them, Diego Llorente and Patrick Bamford are also expected to miss this match but be available from the next fixture. Leo Hjelde, however, is nursing a long-term knee problem and will be out of action for a while.
Marsch could field a 3-4-2-1 formation in this match. Stuart Dallas, Robin Koch and Pascal Struijk are likely to form the three-man backline, with Luke Ayling and Junior Firpo operating as wing-backs.
Adam Forshaw and Mateusz Klich could form a double pivot with speedsters Raphinha and Daniel James operating in front of them. In Bamford’s absence, Rodrigo Moreno is likely to lead the lines for Leeds United.
Probable Playing XI (3-4-2-1): Illan Meslier; Stuart Dallas, Robin Koch, Pascal Struijk; Luke Ayling, Adam Forshaw, Mateusz Klich, Junior Firpo; Raphinha, Daniel James; Rodrigo Moreno.
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