Leicester City vs Huddersfield Town
Venue: King Power Stadium
Referee: David Coote
Huddersfield Town travel south to the King Power Stadium this weekend as they pursue their first victory of the campaign. Their hosts have lost their last two and at times looked desperate in their 4-2 defeat to Bournemouth last time out.
David Wagner’s side also lost last time out yet only conceded the once in a tight 1-0 encounter vs Crystal Palace. Wilfred Zaha was the saviour for Palace who did not have it all their own way in Yorkshire. Wagner’s side bossed the possession with 58% and managed 15 shots and five corners of their own; having said this only two shots tested Wayne Hennessey in the Palace goal and the Terriers failed to break down the Eagle’s defence.
With this in mind, Wagner’s side have only managed two goals so far this campaign and if this trend continues it could be a miserable season for Huddersfield. Last season the Yorkshire side only managed a pitiful 28 goals which equates to a goal every 1.36 games – a stat no Huddersfield fan wants to see.
Wagner’s side though may be encouraged by the fact they visit a Leicester side who conceded four to Bournemouth last weekend and a defence which looked extremely nervy and tedious. They may be inspired further with the absence of Leicester captain Wes Morgan who was shown a second yellow card following a period of ill-advised defending at the Vitality.
The Foxes are blessed with a fresh bill of health ahead of the visit of Huddersfield with the only absence being Matty James who remains sidelined with an Achilles problem. The only other concern for Puel, as mentioned above, is the suspension of Wes Morgan who will be absent for the fixture. Puel will call upon either Jonny Evans or summer signing Caglar Soyuncu to replace the club’s skipper and it will likely be the former who will line up next to Harry Maguire in the centre of defence. Evans has already turned out for the Foxes this season and due to his superior Premier League experience, he will likely be the right selection. Soyuncu is a Turkish international and did feature for the clubs u23 side last Sunday, though due to the 22-year-old having not yet featured for the senior side, it will likely be Evans selected for Puel’s side.
There has been talk of Puel resting Maguire for the fixture too due to his significant involvement for the national side at this year’s World Cup. With Morgan’s absence, I struggle to see Puel resting Maguire too but the Leicester manager has stated he will analyse the decision closer to the match.
Another selection dilemma for Puel will be the choice of either Marc Albrighton or Rachid Ghezzal/Demari Gray. The latter pair started the match against the Cherries but Ghezzal was replaced by Albrighton with half an hour to play. Albrighton, as he always does so well, made himself a nightmare and got himself on the scoresheet with a glancing header after a pin-point cross from Iheanacho. There are a lot of Leicester City fans who would love to see Albrighton in the starting XI due to his work rate and desire and it would be no surprise to see him replace either Ghezzal or Gray.
The main news surrounding David Wagner and Huddersfield Town is the return of central midfielder Jonathan Hogg who returns from suspension after receiving a straight red card in the Cardiff fixture. Despite his return, it is questionable whether Hogg will return to the starting XI due to the form of both Aaron Mooy and Philip Billing.
Ben Hamer, who made the switch from the Midlands to Yorkshire this summer, could feature yet it will likely be number one goalkeeper Jonas Lossl between the sticks this weekend. Ramadan Sobhi could be welcomed back into the Terriers squad to provide depth in the attacking outfit but this fixture may be too soon for him.
The biggest issue to address for Wagner is his sides defensive frailties and his attacking issues. He adopted a 3-4-3 formation in the fixture vs Crystal Palace but has also tested 4-4-2, 4-2-3-1 and 5-4-1 this season. The manager is obviously trying and testing his best formation but it would be no surprise to see him adopt five at the back this weekend as the King Power is certainly not an easy place to go. Leicester bashed a Liverpool side before the international break and although only scoring one goal, they arguably deserved a lot more. If Wagner does not adopt a five at the back formation, a 4-2-3-1 is most likely with Mooy and Billing offering protection to the defensive line. Mounie has led the line in every fixture so far this season and Depoitre will unquestionably be desperate to get the nod and attempt to alleviate Huddersfield’s goal concerns.
Predicted Starting XI’s:
Leicester: Schmeichel; Pereira, Evans, Maguire, Chilwell; Albrighton, Mendy, Ndidi, Gray; Maddison; Vardy
Huddersfield: Lossl; Hadergjonaj, Zanka, Schindler, Kongolo; Mooy, Billing; Diakhaby, Pritchard, Van La Parra; Mounie
Score Prediction – Leicester City 3 Huddersfield 1
Despite Huddersfield being desperate for their first three points of the season, I can’t see this match going any other way. Leicester impressed last time out at the King Power despite losing 2-1 to Liverpool and a similar performance should mean a tough afternoon for the Terriers.