Sheffield United vs Leicester City
Venue: Bramall Lane
Referee: Andy Madley
Sheffield United will carry the momentum of their first Premier League win in 12 years as they lock horns with the Foxes who are yet to win a game in the 2019/20 campaign.
Last time out Sheffield United put down a marker for their season. A narrow win against Crystal Palace placed the Blades eighth in the table, meaning that they have four points after the opening two games – a dream start. Not only did Wilder’s team bag the three points but his side produced a dominant performance which will give fans much hope going forth into the season.
The Foxes haven’t been quite so fortunate; two draws from two games and only one goal scored puts them in 12th place. Leicester, though, have had the trickier start. An opener to Wolves followed by a visit to Chelsea is not an easy way to kick things off for a season, so given the difficulty, Leicester have come through it very well.
The hard-fought battle against Wolves shared the points fairly on match-week one, but last week a second-half onslaught suggested that the Foxes should have beaten Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. A late chance for James Maddison could have been the difference between the two sides, but the young Englishman blazed over from close range, and Rodgers is still on the hunt for his first win of the season.
Leicester will be frustrated that they didn’t win last week and will be hoping that draws are not a common theme under Rodgers. There’s not necessarily an underlying problem this early on in the season, but the Harry Maguire shaped hole at the back is notable. Not only do Leicester look slightly deficient at the back, but they certain;y need to sharpen up in attack.
Maddison missed that golden opportunity last week, but also Vardy has looked a shadow of his former self and is yet to get on the score sheet. Ayoze Pérez generated some interested over the summer, but he is also yet to contribute despite looking sharp in midfield. The lineup alone shows the real force that Leicester have and it might just be a matter of time before they click and the goals flood in.
There’s a lot of excitement surrounding Sheffield United at the moment, and you can see why. Wilder’s side were runners up in the Championship after a fantastic campaign last season but before then, the Imps were stranded in the Championship for two years and prior to that they spent six years in League One. The two summer signings of Lys Mousset and Oli McBurnie created a buzz around Bramall Lane and shows just how far they have come in such a short space of time.
The pair cost a combined total of £30 million and demonstrate the attacking intentions of the club as they looked to bolster their offensive impetus. The uprising through the leagues has generated a sense of optimism and excitement throughout Bramall lane, and Leicester will have to put up a fight if they are to break down the new boys.
With the new season just underway, Leicester fans will be hoping for a good start in order to retain the pressure on the top-six clubs. Last season the Foxes finished ninth only a few points behind Everton and Wolves, but a significant 14 points behind Manchester United and a Europa League spot.
The Foxes have been starved of European football since their heroic 2015/16 season where they won the league and since then have not been able to replicate the same intensity and quality that clinched them the title. But looking at the squad, and their relativity new manager it is a team that could reap silverware. With the top-six well in the range, opportunities such as the FA Cup and Carabao Cup will surely be on the agenda for a serial winning manager such as Rodgers.
United forward Callum Robinson is fit for this weekend’s match against Leicester City.
Robinson was forced off in the second half of the 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace. The forward was clutching the back of his thigh as he limped down the tunnel after being substituted. Concerns were that he would be sidelined for sometime, but the 24 year old recently confirmed it wasn’t serious, “It was just fatigue, I’ll be absolutely fine. I felt a bit of tightness with the hamstring and around my hips,” Robinson told the Independent.
He later added, “I’ll definitely be back for the next game, absolutely.”
John Fleck is another injury worry as he is likely to miss this weekends game with a hamstring injury. The Scottish international is a key man for the Blades and has played a pivotal role in midfield within the opening two games.
Luke Freeman replaced the injured Fleck last week and played an important part in the winning goal. His speedy turn to beat the defender created himself half a yard before his shot was parried straight into the path of John Lundstram, who swept home to win the game.
The Blades record signing Oli McBurnie came on for Robinson and was praise by Wilder after the full-time whistle for his cameo appearance. McBurnie is yet to make a full start.
The Fox’s left-back Ben Chilwell is expected to return to action this weekend after recovering from a hip injury which kept him out of the Chelsea game. If the Englishman needs more time, Rodgers knows he can rely on Christian Fuchs to step in after his impressive performance last week.
Fuchs looked a great substitute full-back. He didn’t look short off energy and was often busy supporting in attacking whilst being defensively resolute at the other end.
However, the Austrian is likely to return to the bench when City travel to Bramall Lane this Saturday.
No other injury’s concern the Fox’s as they look to keep their squad fresh in the search of their first win of the season.
Predicted Starting XIs
Leicester City (4-3-3): Schmeichel; Ricardo Pereira, Evans, Söyüncü, Chilwell; Tielemans, Ndidi, Choudhury; Ayoze Pérez, Vardy, Maddison
Sheffield United (3-5-2): Henderson; Basham, Egan, O’Connell; Baldock, Lundstram, Norwood, Fleck, Stevens; Robinson, Mcgoldrick
Match Prediction: Sheffield United 1 – Leicester City 1
Leicester are a bigger force and wield a greater threat, but as Chris Wilder said they want Bramall Lane to be a fortress and I can see them putting up a fight against the Foxes, making it three draws in a row for Rodger’s side.