Leicester City vs Burnley: Match preview and predicted line-ups

Reigning Premier League Champions Leicester City host Burnley at the King Power this Saturday in a fixture that has quite a colourful recent history. The Foxes beat their opponents from Lancashire to the Championship title in 2014, with the Clarets winning as runners-up. The two met in April 2015 for a crucial Premier League relegation battle at Turf Moor, with Burnley’s Matty Taylor missing a penalty a matter of seconds before Jamie Vardy scored Leicester’s winner in a 1-0 win. How different the last 18 months could have been had Taylor converted that spot kick.

In the reverse fixture at KP, Ross Wallace scored a 94th minute free kick to steal Burnley a point in a 2-2 draw. That goal prompted a run of ten defeats in 11 Premier League games for Leicester, leaving them stranded at the foot of the table. As the saying goes, the rest is history.

This time around, Dyche’s men travel to the east midlands as underdogs but have made a decent enough start to the season. Leicester will be flying after their 3-0 win against Club Bruges in the Champions League on Wednesday, and are looking to allay any fears they could be in for a tough season after last year’s heroics.

 

Recent Form

Although Leicester come into this game after a resounding European victory, their domestic fortunes have been rather mixed. A 2-1 loss at Hull on the opening day was an underwhelming start and they were dismantled by a vibrant Liverpool side last week to the tune of four goals to one. At the King Power though, Claudio Ranieri’s men have been solid enough with a credible point against Arsenal and a comfortable 2-1 win over Swansea.

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Burnley’s four points from four games is about par for the course, but they haven’t picked them up in the expected ways. Starting with a 1-0 home defeat to Swansea was a disappointment, but a 2-0 win against Liverpool more than made amends. They were thoroughly outclassed by Chelsea and Stamford Bridge, and shared the spoils with fellow promoted side Hull City last week. New signing Steven Defour had given Burnley the lead, but Robert Snodgrass late free kick snatched two points from their grasp.

Expected Line-ups

                         Leicester Starting XI                                                                                 Burnley Starting XI

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Injuries and Suspensions

Leicester’s Danny Simpson misses out through injury, with Luis Hernandez expected to deputise at right-back. Jeffrey Schlupp and Nampalys Mendy are other absentees for the Foxes. Islam Slimani could make his Premier League debut after a good performance in mid-week.

Ashley Barnes is Burnley’s only injured player, so Sean Dyche should pick an unchanged team from last week’s 1-1 draw with Hull – something he became known for during the Claret’s last season in the top flight. Scott Arfield might come in for Berg Gudmundsson for a tough away game.

 

Conclusion

This has the makings of a tricky game for Leicester. Although their win over Bruges was something of a stroll in the park, the experience of playing away in Europe and getting started again on a Saturday in the Premier League is a new routine for them. Sean Dyche will show them plenty of respect, and that can be when Leicester find it tough.

Hull got the better of them on the opening day by sitting deep and denying them space in behind; though the Foxes now have the physical presence of Slimani to give them a different option. West Brom got a point at Leicester last season by employing similar tactics, and they needed a late Leonardo Ulloa goal to beat in Norwich last season’s run in. The visitors have the capacity to frustrate Leicester, so we’re sticking our neck out and going for a draw.

Verdict: Draw


Featured Image: All rights reserved by Alex Hannam

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