Leicester City vs Sunderland Preview | Team News, Stats & Key Men

Leicester City vs Sunderland Preview | Team News, Stats & Key Men

After a rest for the international break Leicester City welcome Sunderland to the King Power Stadium hoping to put an end to a torrid run of form. The Foxes have only picked up 1 point since their historic 5-3 win at home to Manchester United and only scored 2 goals in games succeeding the afternoon of the 21st of September. Meanwhile, Sunderland and Gus Poyet are still attempting to repair the damage from their 8-0 humbling away to Southampton last month. Since then they have picked up 4 points in 3 games. A 2-0 away loss to Arsenal was expected, but a 3-1 away win to Crystal Palace and a hard fought 1-1 draw with Everton at the Stadium of Light will have the Black Cats expecting to heap more misery on the Foxes.

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With Leicester currently occupying 18th and Sunderland only 3 points ahead in 14th both teams could do with a massive 3 points in a game that is winnable for either side. For Leicester it is a game against beatable opposition at home, a win would go a long way to helping convince everyone they are capable of sustaining a place in the Premier League. A win is needed sooner rather than later for Nigel Pearson’s men as they seek to take off the lead boots they appeared to have put on since the Man United game. In the other dugout, if Gus Poyet wants to help repair the damage done to his managerial position at the North East club after the Southampton fiasco games against newly promoted sides like this is where he needs to be picking up 3 points.

Team News

Sunderland’s physio room is currently hosting; Billy Jones, Emmanuel Giacherrini and Patick Van Aanholt. Gus Poyet disclosed that Jones and Giacherrini could be back in training next week but was not putting a definite timeline on a return. Further encouraging news for the Black Cats was that both Ricky Alvarez and Coates are back in training, however it is too early for them to play a part in the Leicester City game. The biggest news Poyet had to share was that after struggling with a knock during international duty with Scotland star striker Steven Fletcher will be in the team to face the foxes, a big boost for a game where a win is definitely attainable.

Leicester City will continue to be without Matthew Upson and Zoumana Bakayago for the weekend clash.  Besides those two absentees it will be business as usual for the Leicester squad who look to turn their fortunes around at home against an inconsistent Sunderland side.

Interesting Statistics

It has been 7 years since the two sides last met. Sunderland won the fixture 2-0 away to Leicester.

The last two times Sunderland have met Leicester in an away fixture the Black Cats have been victorious, going both outings without conceding a goal in their Championship years.

Leicester City have not loss to Sunderland at home in a Premier League fixture, drawing once and winning on the other 3 occasions.

There has never been a penalty in any of the previous Premier League meetings the two sides.

Stan Collymore has scored the most goals in the fixture during the Premier League era, 3 for the Foxes against the Black Cats.

The last time the two teams met in Premier League clash was 13 years ago on November the 3rd 2001. Leicester won the game 1-0 thanks to an Ade Akinbiyi effort.

Key Players

Leicester City: Leonardo Ulloa

If Leicester City want to pick up 3 points at the weekend they need a resurgence from their record signing to his early season form. The Argentine big man burst to life in the early weeks of the Premier League season 5 goals in as many appearances for the Foxes. This included his brace against Man United in the famous 5-3 game. Since then Ulloa’s goals have dried up and as a result so have Leicesters. The side have only netted twice since the United game and Ulloa has now went 6 games without hitting the back of the net in the league. In a game that Nigel Pearson will be hoping to turn his sides season around the clubs record signing will need to show why the club were willing to splash the cash to acquire him in the summer. Playing against a Sunderland side that have failed to keep a clean sheet since the last weekend of September is as good a time as any for Ulloa to end his goal drought. It’s a game that has a look of not many goals given the two sides struggles in the final third this season, it could come down to a few chances and if the big man can find his finish again it could swing the balance in the home teams favour.

Sunderland: Steven Flethcer

It’s the Leicester striker’s opposite number who will be key for the away side. Gus Poyet gave Sunderland a massive boost when he announced the Scottish striker was going to be fit for the game, after a knock sustained against the Republic of Ireland on international duty suggested he might not make the weekend game. For much the same reason as Ulloa is key to Leicester, this game could come down to few chances and Sunderland will need their best goalscoring option leading the line to take any that come their way. Other than Fletcher only Seb Larsson has scored multiple goals in the league this season, it would be no surprise that Fletcher will again shoulder the goalscoring burden this weekend. Fletcher’s time with Sunderland has been disjointed due to unfortunate injuries, but when he is fit he has proven himself to be a Premier League level striker capable of getting important goals. There is much more to the Scotsman’s game than just goals however, his ability to hold and link up play from the midfield is key to any good Sunderland performance. If Sunderland are going to pick up the 3 points that are for the taking at the King Power Stadium they will be looking to their record signing to lead by example from the front.

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Prediction

Both teams will be going into this feeling that they are capable of picking up the 3 points. Leicester City need the win to take them out of the free fall they are caught in, while Sunderland will want the 3 points to help put a bit of distance between them and the drop zone. Sunderland have more quality about their team than the Home side, but their consistency has been non-existent this season. A win at the weekend would take them 3 games unbeaten and help put the 8-0 loss to Southampton out of their head (if that’s at all possible). It will come down to what striker decides to find his scoring boots. It will by no means be a Premier League classic or one for the neutrals at that. A draw may seem the most likely result in a game like this, but I feel Sunderland have turned a bit of corner in recent weeks and have the boost of Fletcher being able to play. Leicester City on the other hand have plummeted down the table. A narrow win for Sunderland could be on the cards

Prediction: 1:0 Sunderland win