Leicester host Leeds in the English Premier League at The King Power Stadium on Sunday afternoon. The Foxes are in fine form and sit third in the table whilst Leeds are on 26 points after half the season. They are well on their way to avoiding relegation and being able to look higher. This game sees two of the league’s better coaches face off as Brendan Rodgers looks for a repeat of his 4-1 win against Marcelo Bielsa in November.
Leicester are in very good form. Having lost to Everton at home in mid-December, they have gone seven matches unbeaten with four wins and three draws. That run has included 2-0 wins against both Tottenham away and Chelsea at home and a 2-2 draw from behind against Man Utd.
In their last match, Leicester came from 1-0 down at Everton to draw 1-1 with Youri Tielemans on target thanks to a goalkeeping error. Their second half display was very impressive despite Wilfred Ndidi going off with a knock.
Leicester Team News
Leicester will certainly target three points here. They beat Leeds 4-1 away earlier in the season and know they will get space to attack once they bypass Bielsa’s man marking. Rodgers has been more pragmatic this season, adjusting his tactics for the opposition and he will do the same here.
Leeds attack with several players so Leicester will likely drop off and wait for big gaps to appear on the counter attack. Even without Vardy, Harvey Barnes and Ayoze Perez will be licking their lips.
This season, Rodgers is much more pragmatic and adaptable than before. His side have sat deep in a low block to get results, ceded possession in some games and have also played on the front foot when the occasion calls for it.
Chelsea are likely to be most susceptible to being pressed high whilst Frank Lampard’s side leaves space on the counter-attack so Leicester may focus on transitions and not possession. A draw would be an okay result for Leicester but they will play to win, regardless of which game plan they decide to implement.
Leeds have had a strange run of form of late. After thrashing Newcastle 5-2, they were beaten 6-2 at Old Trafford and heavily criticised for their defensive naivety. Bielsa’s side came out swinging with consecutive clean sheets in 1-0 wins at home to Burnley and 5-0 on their travels at West Brom.
Since then, they lost 3-0 at Tottenham, 3-0 in the FA Cup against Crawley Town and 1-0 at home to Brighton. They got back to winning ways in their last match as they won 2-1 at Newcastle despite being dominated for much of the second half. Raphinha and Jack Harrison scored the goals.
Leeds Team News
As for much of this season, Leeds have question marks at centre back. Robin Koch remains out long term after surgery and Pascal Struijk has been covering at the back. Diego Llorente returned for the last match but only lasted ten minutes before he had to go off and Struijk was back in defence.
Bielsa has a full starting XI otherwise and he will be hoping that Patrick Bamford can end his four game scoring drought.
Bielsa will set his side up as he always does – full pitch man marking, lots of runners into the box and keeping one spare man at the back. Leicester are well coached side and will manipulate that structure to create chances so Leeds are almost certainly going to have to outscore the Foxes if they want to win the match.
A draw would be a great result but Bielsa is not going to play for a point in any way, shape or form.
Leicester are 7 PL matches unbeaten (W4, D3)
Leicester have kept 3 clean sheets in their last 7 PL matches
Leicester have scored 2 or more goals in 4 of their last 5 home PL matches
Leeds have lost have 3 of their last 4 matches
Leeds have seen over 2.5 goals in 8 of their 10 away PL matches
Leeds have drawn none of their 10 away PL matches this season
Leeds have conceded 21 goals in 10 away PL matches (most in PL)
Leicester are favourites to win this match and even without Vardy, there should be plenty of goals in this one.