Leicester City vs Burnley
Venue: King Power Stadium
Referee: Jonathon Moss
Leicester will look to get back to winning ways at home this weekend, after their last-minute defeat to Liverpool before the international break, but will face stiff competition as they come up against a resilient Burnley side who have started strongly and are only two points off them in the table.
Leicester have undoubtedly caught the attention this year after a flying start which has left them floating between third and fourth place in the table, where they seem at home amongst the big clubs. They have won four from eight and have a lucrative goal difference of +7, a figure bettered only by Liverpool’s 14 and Manchester City’s 18.
The other clubs in the top five, Arsenal and Chelsea, have only managed two and four respectively. While their attack is flourishing, their tally of only seven goals against them is the real key to their success – only Liverpool’s six goals against is better than that.
While the attention has been on Leicester, there are a number of other sides who have also snuck into high places in the table early on – with Burnley just beneath them with an impressive 12 points. Free of the European football which held back their start to the season last year, Sean Dyche’s side are showing just why they landed that 7th place spot only two years ago.
They have been similarly impressive, losing only to Arsenal and Liverpool, while pulling off solid wins against Everton, Norwich, and a 3-0 thrashing of Southampton. The Clarets are showing that they can do more than just defend.
If there is one thing that separates the two sides quality-wise, it is the competition they have faced. Leicester have already played five of the sides that finished in the top seven last year, losing only to Liverpool and Manchester United whilst drawing with Chelsea and Wolves, and pulling off an impressive win over Tottenham Hotspur.
Their other three games have all been assured victories. Burnley, on the other hand, have played only three of the top seven sides (Arsenal, Wolves and Liverpool), and are still two points behind the Foxes. While the points gap does not seem too far, the fixtures point to a difference in quality that will likely be seen on the pitch too.
This has not been a historically fruitful fixture for Sean Dyche’s Burnley. The Clarets have not won a game in their last eight fixtures at the King Power Stadium, although on four of those occasions they managed a draw. Burnley are also winless in their last six away games in the Premier League.
The Foxes, on the other hand, are unbeaten in their last six home games (W4 D2), and have won the last three by an accumulative score of 10-2. To make the odds even worse for Burnley, Jamie Vardy has scored a rocking 10 goals in his last 10 home games – only Sadio Mané and Sergio Aguero have scored more in home appearances in 2019 than he has.
Burnley’s one promising statistic is their current unbeaten run of four league games, including two wins. Each of the draws they have gained have also featured the Clarets scoring the equaliser in the last ten minutes, a quirk which could prove vital if Burnley reach the final section of the game still looking to nab a goal and a point.
It would be a lie not to say that the signs point towards a Leicester win, with their attacking creativity and defensively solidity, and the chance to push further into the top four will surely be spurring on Brendan Rodgers’ young side. But it would be foolish to write off a strong Burnley side who will give no ground and will relish in the fact that they are underdogs.
Unless James Maddison’s injury which saw him leave the England squad (but did not keep him away from a Casino) becomes more serious than it seems Leicester will have no injury concerns for their fixture.
Burnley, on the other hand, have a number of small doubts: Gudmundsson, Cork and Pieters are all unknown elements for the game but are more than likely to feature.
Predicted Starting XIs
Leicester City (4-3-3): Schmeichel; Ricardo Pereira, Evans, Soyuncu, Chilwell; Tielemans, Ndidi, Maddison; Pérez, Vardy, Barnes
Burnley (4-4-2): Pope; Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Pieters; Gudmundsson, Hendrick, Westwood, McNeil; Barnes, Wood
Score Prediction: Leicester City 2-0 Burnley
A goal in each half should seal things for Leicester, with at least one of them coming from the boot of the prolific Jamie Vardy. Burnley will push for a late goal to try and mount a comeback, but will not have any luck against a Leicester defence fully worth their space in the top four.