Leicester v Aston Villa Preview
Aston Villa will be looking to end their four-game losing run when they square off against Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester City at the King Power Stadium this weekend.
Consecutive losses to West Ham, Arsenal, Wolves and Spurs have seen Steven Gerrard’s men tumble down to 15th in the league standings – they were 9th in the table before the Hammers game last month.
Gerrard’s predecessor Dean Smith, as you might remember, was sacked back in November after losing five in a row. A loss for Villa against Leicester City would see Smith coming to Villa Park, the following week, with the potential to sink Gerrard to a six-game losing streak.
How would Villa supporters take that?
With Villa currently eleven points ahead of third from bottom Burnley, you’d think Gerrard is in no immediate danger of getting sacked in the short-term, but he will definitely be keen to end his side’s run of defeats.
A win at Leicester, who will also have one eye on their own upcoming Conference League semi-final clash against Jose Mourinho’s Roma, will see the gap between the two sides reduced to just two points. Villa would then be eyeing up the visit of Norwich City, as a chance to again stake a claim for a top half season finish.
Such are the fickle fine lines, even for a mid-table team in the Premier League.
Aston Villa form (last five games, most recent first)
Villa 0-4 Spurs (L)
Wolves 2-1 Villa (L)
Villa 0-1 Arsenal (L)
West Ham 2-1 Villa (L)
Leeds 0-3 Villa (W)
In their last game, Villa had their chances against Spurs, but were simply not as clinical in front of goal as Antonio Conte’s men. A glance at the stats and you’d have thought Villa would have ended up the winners.
Danny Ings, Jacob Ramsey and Ollie Watkins all went close in the first half, and had they taken their opportunities, it could’ve been a totally different story at the final whistle. Unfortunately, Villa fell apart after the interval, and ended up slumping to a 4-0 defeat.
Ezri Konsa’s defensive struggles could see the return of Calum Chambers this weekend. With Lucas Digne’s season seemingly over after his collarbone injury against the Lilywhites, veteran Ashley Young is expected to start at left back.
The biggest change could be a return for Zimbabwean international Marvelous Nakamba after a lengthy spell in the treatment room, and he could add some much-needed balance in the centre of the park. After playing a part in Gerrard’s largely positive start to his time at Villa, the Villa boss will hope the midfielder can pick up where he left off.
Last five H2H meetings between Leicester and Aston Villa (most recent first)
Aston Villa 2-1 Leicester (W)
Aston Villa 1-2 Leicester (L)
Leicester 0-1 Aston Villa (W)
Leicester 4-0 Aston Villa (L)
Aston Villa 2-1 Leicester (W)- Cup clash
Leicester come into this game on the back of a 1-1 draw in midweek against relegation threated Everton. The visitors took the lead through Harvey Barnes, but conceded a late equaliser at Goodison Park to Richarlison. James Maddison had plenty of chances to kill the game off before Richarlison’s equaliser, but failed to, and the Foxes had to settle for a point.
Despite their recent European progress, this Foxes team perhaps isn’t as a consistent force as they’ve been in the last couple of seasons. Despite Jamie Vardy returning to training today (Thursday), after having injections for pain in his knee, Villa will fancy their chances, if they can learn to keep it tight at the back.
Leicester City form (last five games, most recent first)
Everton 1-1 Leicester (D)
Newcastle 2-1 Leicester (L)
PSV 1-2 Leicester (W)
Leicester 2-1 Palace (W)
Leicester 0-0 PSV (D)
The ref for this one is Andy Madley, and somewhat worryingly, Villa have lost both their games with him in charge this season (1-0 away loss to Southampton and 1-0 home loss to Arsenal). Leicester’s solitary league game under Madley this season was a 4-2 victory over Watford.