Leicester City vs Swansea City: Match preview and predicted line-ups
Defending champions Leicester City will be grateful to avoid the attention of the TV cameras for the first time this season as they look to secure their first victory of the 2016/17 campaign at home to Francesco Guidolin’s Swansea City in the Saturday afternoon 15:00 kick-off at the King Power.
All the omens are with Claudio Ranieri’s men for this fixture, the Foxes having won three out of their four Premier League meetings with the Swans, including doing the double over the South Wales club on their way to the title last season. However, with the season not having started the way Ranieri or his players have hoped for, the Swans- already off the mark this season- will be looking to put their poor record against the defending champions to bed this weekend as they look for their second win of the campaign.
Leicester, on the other hand, will be looking for their first three points in their first non-live outing of the new season to get their campaign well and truly underway.
The Foxes are yet to get off the mark in their title defending season after picking up a solitary point from their opening two Premier League games, that coming from a 0-0 home draw with Arsenal last weekend. Claudio Ranieri had already seen his team concede the FA Community Shield to José Mourinho’s Manchester United in a 2-1 defeat at Wembley, before his side were stunned on the opening day by newly promoted Hull City who saw off the champions 2-1 at the KC Stadium with a severely depleted side, goals from Adama Diomandé and Robert Snodgrass coming either side of a Riyad Mahrez penalty for the Foxes.
With a point last week however against the Gunners, their first point earned from Arsenal since returning to the top flight, the Foxes have stopped the rot before it manifested into a major early season dilemma for Ranieri, and now they have a great opportunity to get off the mark at home to truly kickstart their campaign and title defence.
Swansea in comparison couldn’t have wished for a better start on the opening day, after an 82nd minute Leroy Fer strike gave the South Wales club- which has undergone somewhat of a player exodus this summer and suffered the loss of skipper Ashley Williams to Everton- three points on the opening day against Burnley at Turf Moor. Their joy was to be short-lived however, and they were sent crashing back to earth in Matchday II, exposed by Mike Phelan’s plucky Hull side who followed up their opening win over Leicester with a 2-0 triumph over Swansea at the Liberty Stadium.
Francesco Guidolin subsequently rang the changes for the Swans’ EFL Cup tie at Peterborough during the week with the Leciester fixture in mind, and his young side came through their examination in convincing fashion with a comfortable 3-1 win over the Posh. With two wins out of two away from home in all competitions this campaign and none at home, Francesco Guidolin will be hoping his side can continue their form on the road by stunning the champions on Saturday to pile more pressure on Claudio Ranieri.
Claudio Ranieri managed to stop the rot quickly with his selection in the home clash with Arsenal in Matchday II, and the Italian will be expected to stick with mostly the same side bar a couple of changes. The injury sustained by Nampalys Mendy will mean an enforced change fot Ranieri, with Andy King likely to be the man to deputise the Frenchman in midfield, whilst Ahmed Musa, who proved a real handful after coming on as a substitute against Arsenal should have done enough to earn a recall at the expense of Mark Albrighton. Shinji Okazaki should keep his place up front with Jamie Vardy, Leonardo Ulloa on the bench if an impact should be required in the final third, whilst the regular back-four of Danny Simpson, Wes Morgan, Robert Huth and Christian Fuchs should start as normal.
Two late defensive lapses cost Swansea in their match against Hull at the Liberty Stadium last weekend, but Francesco Guidolin should keep faith with the same starting back-four which shut-out Burnley on the opening weekend and managed to keep Hull out for the most part of last week’s fixture. After Wayne Routledge and Modou Barrow had minimal impact on Matchday II in Guidolin’s three-pronged attack, we can expect to see Jefferson Montero and Nathan Dyer come into the side to freshen up the attack and offer some much needed threat on the counter. Gylfi Sigurdsson should have done enough to retain his place in the starting eleven, whilst Leroy Fer should just get the nod ahead of Ki Sung-Yeung, but with the knowledge that another ineffective showing here will almost certainly see him dropped next week.
Leicester City predicted starting XI Swansea City predicted starting XI
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Leicester City will be without Jeffrey Schlupp for the visit of Swansea City, the wide-man still recovering from a muscle strain, whilst new central-midfield signing Nampalys Mendy from OGC Nice is also ruled out after taking a knock to his ankle in the home draw with Arsenal last week. Claudio Ranieri is boosted however by the fact that he has no suspensions to contend with as his side look to get off the mark with their first win of the new campaign.
Borja Bastón is the only absentee for the Swans in their visit to the King Power, he will sit out the trip with a muscle injury. Otherwise Francesco Guidolin has a fully fit squad to choose from after his team picked up no suspensions in their opening three games in league and cup.
Leicester City simply have to get off the mark eventually. After being brought back to earth with a bang after the ultimate high of their Premier League triumph last term, the Foxes’ draw with Arsenal is a sign that they are beginning to re-stabilise and this fixture looks like the ideal opportunity to get off the mark. Swansea although buoyed by a decent result for their young side at League One Peterborough in the week are a depleted unit compared to last year and the absence of Ashley Williams and the experience he will provide will be a huge miss against the pace and trickery of Riyad Mahrez and Ahmed Musa out wide, as well as the potent Jamie Vardy leading the line for the champions. The Foxes are also a tough nut to crack at home and it will be a difficult proposition for the Swans to do damage to the Leicester rear-guard away from home unless Fernando Llorente can finally re-discover his scoring form. The Swans may get some joy in front of goal, but the quality of Leicester against a patched up defence in need of strengthening before the end of the window will just be too much for Guidolin’s team. So we’re going for a 3-1 Leicester win.
Featured Image: All Rights Reserved by Alex Hannam.
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