Leicester City vs Fulham
Venue: King Power Stadium
Referee: David Coote
After last week’s spirited performance against Chelsea, Fulham travel to the King Power Stadium in a state of desperation for three points in their fight against relegation.
The fixture is Brendan Rodgers first home game as Leicester manager and he will also be hopeful for three points after defeat first time out against Watford last weekend. Andre Gray’s injury-time strike sunk Rodgers at Vicarage Road but he will likely feel more confident coming into a home fixture after his first full week with his new players. The last-minute strike meant Leicester have lost more fixtures thanks to 90-minute strikes than any other team this season (three vs Watford, Cardiff and Wolves).
After the sacking of former Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri at Fulham last week, Scott Parker took to the dugouts against Chelsea and despite putting Sarri’s side under considerable pressure throughout the 90 minutes, two first-half goals were enough for Chelsea to take the London derby bragging rights. As a result, Fulham became the first side to lose 10 London derbies in the same season – a rather miserable record to add to their rather deprived campaign.
Scott Parker was quick to point out during the week that it is ‘not mission impossible’ to keep Fulham in the league yet with only nine matches remaining, the Cottagers currently sit ten points adrift of safety and if they are to remain in the league, a win on Saturday is crucial.
Head to Head: Fulham actually hold a rather healthy record against the Foxes and will take confidence in this come Saturday. They have been victorious on 39 occasions in comparison to Leicester’s 27 times whilst the two clubs have shared 27 draws. In the last nine meetings, Fulham have only lost once back in 2013 in a League Cup tie.
Leicester City: After Jamie Vardy limped off in the 80th minute against Watford last time out, there were questions asked whether he would be fit for the visit of Fulham. Yet the striker has been in training this week and is fit after needing stitches in his tongue following a clash with Ben Foster.
As far as the rest of the squad is concerned, Rodgers only injury concerns are Marc Albrighton and Daniel Amartey who continue to suffer from hamstring and ankle injuries. The latter is expected to return in the coming weeks yet this fixture may be too soon. It is expected that Rodgers will continue with the 3-4-3 system he deployed at Vicarage Road and the only change may come in the form of Demari Gray who may start the fixture ahead of Harvey Barnes.
Fulham: As like Leicester and Rodgers, Scott Parker has a reasonably healthy squad to choose from ahead of the trip to the King Power. Centre-back Alfie Mawson will be one missing from the fixture and he is expected to be missing until late April with a knee injury.
Marcus Bettinelli will continue on the sidelines for Parker’s side meaning Sergio Rico will feature between the sticks and will be hopeful on a clean sheet after an impressive performance vs Chelsea. Andre Schurrle, who missed the visit of his former employers last week, could return after suffering from illness whilst Jean Michael Seri could return in place of McDonald.
Match facts from Opta
Fulham have only faced Norwich (8) more often without defeat in the Premier League than they have Leicester (5).
Leicester have won just one of their last eight Premier League games (D1 L6). Indeed, only Fulham (3) have picked up fewer points from their last eight Premier League matches than Leicester (4).
Fulham have lost eight of their last nine Premier League matches (W1), shipping at least twice in each game. Only twice has a team conceded 2+ goals in 10 consecutive Premier League games – West Brom in 2010-11 and Wimbledon in 1999-00.
Leicester are looking to win consecutive home league games within the same season for the first time since January 2018.
Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers has won all six of his Premier League meetings with Fulham. Only Jose Mourinho vs Portsmouth and Roberto Mancini vs Wigan (both 7/7) have better 100% win rates against an opponent in the competition.
Against Watford, Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers kept up his record of failing to win his opening league game at any of the clubs he’s managed in English football. In fact, at his previous four clubs, Swansea are the only side at which he managed to win his second league match in charge.
Jamie Vardy is currently on 99 goals for Leicester in all competitions. He could become the seventh player to reach 100 for the Foxes and the first since Gary Lineker.
Predicted Starting XIs
Leicester City (3-4-3): Schmeichel; Evans, Morgan Maguire; Pereira, Ndidi, Tielemens, Chilwell; Gray, Vardy, Maddison
Fulham (4-3-3): Rico; Odoi, Nordtveit, Ream, Bryan; Cairney, Chambers, Seri; Babel, Sessegnon; Mitrovic
Score Prediction: Leicester 2 Fulham 0
Brendan Rodgers will be wanting to pick up his first win as soon as possible and what better chance than a home fixture against an almost certain relegation victim. The Cottagers have been dreadful travelers in the league this season and have not managed one win whilst only picking up two draws with 13 defeats.
Although the Foxes have not been at their best at home this season, only picking up five victories from a possible 14, they will be assured of Fulham’s diabolical away form and fancy themselves to pick up three points.