Bottom of the table Leicester City host Aston Villa on Match-Day 21 on the back of an impressive away win over relegation threatened Hull City and an inspiring comeback from being 2 goals down against Liverpool. This put a stop to the 6 consecutive losses they had suffered on the trot prior to the Hull game. Their visitors for the afternoon, Villa aren’t in a great situation themselves with their last victory coming more than a month ago. They have not won a game in the last 5, having drawn 3 of them and lost 2 (West Brom and Swansea).
Leicester City are set to miss the services of influential winger Riyad Mahrez as he travels to the African Nations cup with the Algerian national team. Jeff Schlupp too was in contention for Ghana call till he picked up a knee injury and is set to remain on the sidelines till the end of January. Schmeichel (Metatarsal) and Upson (Ankle) remain sidelined till at least another week, while Cambiasso (Hip), Hammond (Calf), Drinkwater (Groin) and King (Hip) remain doubtful for the tie.
While Aston Villa do not have any of their players travelling for continental competitions, they have injury and suspension issues. The long term absentees at the club are Senderos (Calf) and Kozak (Broken Leg)and influential defender and club captain Ron Vlaar(Knee) who might be out for up to 6 weeks. Enforcing midfielder Ashley Westwood is set to return from a long lay-off this weekend. However, the impressive performances of Carlos Sanchez might result in Paul Lambert assigning a different role for the Englishman. With Fabian Delph suspended for the tie, Villa are set to miss one of their key players this season.
There have been just 12 goals scored in the last 10 Premier League games involving Aston Villa.
Aston Villa have scored a total of just 11 goals in 20 Premier League games this season, the lowest in the league.
Hamer, De Laet, Morgan, Moore, Konchesky, Knockaert, Cambiasso, James, Lawrence, Ulloa, Nugent.
Given, Hutton, Okore, Clark, Cissokho, Cleverley, Westwood, Sanchez, Grealish, Cole, Benteke.
The former Manchester United midfielder has been a vital man in the Leicester midfield. In the absence of Mahrez, James becomes the second most creative man in this side behind Ulloa having created 19 chances. Aston Villa defence has looked shaky at times and the youngster has shown intelligent passing ability to cut it open when presented with the smallest of opportunities. He has neither scored a goal, nor assisted one yet, but he could prove to be a handful for a weakened Villa side. The quick-footed midfielder is good in duels, often beats his man and draws a number of fouls. No relegation battle is won without immense character and this Leicester side will be hoping that experienced legs such as Cambiasso can combine well with the likes of James to stay afloat in the league.
The Colombian has taken little time to adapt to English conditions since his move from Elche in summer. “La Roca” as he is nicknamed for being a rock solid defensive midfielder has been relentlessly breaking play in the middle of the park for Villa. The strong midfielder has won close to 40% of the 77 tackles he has attempted on the ground and 60% of his 55 aerial duels. He likes to mix it up with interceptions as well as fouls to break the opposition’s rhythm. At the beginning of the season, his passing was erratic more often than not. However, it looks like the Villa man has quickly improved on the skill of finding his teammates as he has clocked a passing accuracy in excess of 90% in 3 of the last 5 games. With the speed and power of Benteke ahead of him, the Colombian can channel his efforts into something concrete by linking up with the Belgian. The physical attributes combined with skill make Sanchez a player to watch out for against a side that is finding its feet in the league.
Head To Head
|2014/2015||Sun 07 Dec||Aston Villa||2 – 1||Leicester City||Premier League|
|2007/2008||Wed 26 Sep||Aston Villa||0 – 1||Leicester City||League Cup|
|2006/2007||Tue 24 Oct||Leicester City||2 – 3||Aston Villa||League Cup|
90 minutes 2-2
Coming off a morale boosting performance against Liverpool, we expect Leicester to put up a good show against Villa. However, Villa, despite possibly missing out on some crucial names, won’t be push over. We expect a hard fought 1-0 win for the Foxes.