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Preview: Leicester City vs. Aston Villa – prediction, team news, lineups

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Sports Mole previews Saturday’s Premier League clash between Leicester City and Aston Villa, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Having thrown away three points in dampening fashion in midweek, Leicester City return to the King Power for Saturday’s Premier League battle with Aston Villa.

Brendan Rodgers‘s side were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw with Everton last time out, while Steven Gerrard‘s side most recently went down 4-0 to Tottenham Hotspur.

Match preview

© Reuters

With a wave of first-string players back in the starting lineup after a painful late loss to Newcastle United, Leicester could not shake off the last-minute curse at Goodison Park, where Everton left it until the final few seconds to boost their survival bid in a 1-1 stalemate.

Harvey Barnes had taken all of five minutes to tap home and propel the Foxes into the ascendancy on Wednesday night, but in the second minute of added time in the second half, Richarlison‘s scuffed effort nestled into the corner as Leicester pounded the ground in frustration.

Last-minute goals have now bedevilled Leicester twice in the space of a week, and any hopes of the Foxes returning to Europe via their league position are slim to none, with Rodgers’s ninth-placed side now 11 points adrift of seventh-placed West Ham United, albeit with two games in hand.

A top-seven finish may be a write-off at this point, and Leicester fans ought to care more about their side’s Conference League fortunes heading into the final few weeks of the season, with the first leg of their semi-final with Roma taking place on Thursday night.

For now, though, Leicester will set out to win their fourth Premier League game on the bounce at home, and they have lost just one of their last nine top-flight games at the King Power, which will host one of the biggest European nights in the club’s history five days after the visit of the Lions.

Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard looks on on April 9, 2022© Reuters

From winning three in a row with nine goals scored and zero conceded to suffering a four-game losing run in the Premier League, Aston Villa are in danger of being dragged into a surprise fight for survival should their downward slump continue for much longer.

Steven Gerrard’s side could not get past the impenetrable wall that was Tottenham Hotspur number one Hugo Lloris two weekends ago and ultimately shipped four to the free-scoring Lilywhites, who eased to victory through Son Heung-min‘s hat-trick and Dejan Kulusevski‘s effort.

A quartet of consecutive defeats has suddenly seen Aston Villa slump to 15th in the standings with seven games left to play in the 2021-22 season, but an 11-point chasm still separates them from the drop zone, so it would take something truly calamitous for the Lions to be playing Championship football next term.

Nevertheless, conceding nine goals and scoring just two in their spate of defeats is a serious cause for concern for Gerrard, whose side have not drawn a Premier League match away from home for over a year but would probably accept a solitary point at the King Power fortress.

Keeping with the theme of Leicester conceding last-minute goals, the forgotten man Ross Barkley propelled Villa to a late 1-0 win at the King Power last term, and the Lions are aiming for a first league double against the Foxes since the 2003-04 campaign after marching to a 2-1 success at Villa Park back in December.

Leicester City Premier League form:

Leicester City form (all competitions):

Aston Villa Premier League form:

Team News

Aston Villa's Lucas Digne on January 15, 2022© Reuters

Leicester’s long-term knee victims Jamie Vardy, Ryan Bertrand and Wilfred Ndidi all remain out of contention, while Boubakary Soumare‘s muscular soreness is proving more difficult to overcome than initially anticipated.

Rodgers has no new concerns to contend with from the Everton draw but is sure to consider some alterations amid the quick turnaround, with James Justin and Caglar Soyuncu both ready to freshen up the defence.

Marc Albrighton and Ademola Lookman could also be drafted in as Rodgers keeps one eye on the visit of Roma, but Barnes is partial to a goal in this fixture – netting four in his last four versus the Lions.

As for Villa, Lucas Digne‘s late withdrawal in the Spurs defeat added injury to insult for Gerrard, and there are fears that the left-back could be out for the remainder of the season with that collarbone issue.

Gerrard might be able to welcome Kortney Hause back from an abdominal problem this weekend, which would leave Digne as the sole occupant of the treatment room; his spot at left-back should be filled by Ashley Young.

The likes of Leon Bailey and Emiliano Buendia should be considered for starts amid Villa’s losing streak, with Danny Ings‘s spot at the tip of the attack potentially at risk.

Leicester City possible starting lineup:
Schmeichel; Justin, Amartey, Soyuncu, Castagne; Tielemans, Mendy; Albrighton, Maddison, Barnes; Daka

Aston Villa possible starting lineup:
Martinez; Cash, Konsa, Mings, Young; Ramsey, Luiz, McGinn; Coutinho, Watkins, Bailey

SM words green background

We say: Leicester City 2-1 Aston Villa

The European fatigue has not been particularly kind to Leicester in recent weeks, and with Rodgers potentially shuffling the pack ahead of Thursday night, Villa can feel somewhat optimistic about the prospect of ending their losing run.

Leicester seldom give much away in front of their own fans, though, and with the Foxes desperate to enter their European semi-final on a high note, we expect Rodgers’s men to emerge victorious and prolong Gerrard’s misery.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 2.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 2.5:data

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