Swansea City vs Leicester City
After the Swans successful victory over Huddersfield last weekend, they leapfrogged their visitors to the Liberty Stadium this weekend, Leicester City, who are now without a manager and in search for 3 points to get their campaign back on track.
With the shock departure of Craig Shakespeare on Tuesday night, Thai owners, Vicahi and Aiyawatt Srivaddhanapranha are yet to replace the beloved Shakespeare and it will be the honour, or challenge of now interim manager, Michael Appleton, to deliver a performance the clubs officials are searching for.
Leicester have struggled this season against the so called ‘lesser’ clubs and have only managed one win all campaign against newcomers Brighton, but that victory was 8 weeks ago and since then, the mood around the King Power has been dwindling and one of missed expectations.
As for Swansea, they have picked up 8 points this season with two impressive travels away from home, picking up points at Tottenham and Southampton while successfully seeing off Crystal Palace 2-0. Their first home win of the campaign came against Huddersfield and they will be looking to make it two from two when Leicester visit this weekend.
Despite recent troubles in the Midlands, Paul Clement is expecting a stern test for his Swansea side this weekend.
Leroy Fer will be an absent for Clement come Saturday afternoon, after already picking up his 5th booking of the season in the game against the Terriers. Also missing will be striker, Wilfred Bony, who picked up a hamstring injury in training which resulted in him missing the victory against Huddersfield too. Although the club were hopeful of his return for the clash against the Foxes, he remains out of match day plans.Embed from Getty Images
Another missing from the Terriers fixture was youngster, Renato Sanches, who missed the game due to a thigh injury. But, Sanches returns this weekend and will be hopeful to be among the starting XI. After struggling to fit into his life in Wales there are many hopeful he will show signs of his brilliance he displayed while at Bayern Munich, maybe this weekend will be the start.
Although things look bleak in the East Midlands in this current time, there are positives for Michael Appleton to take into this clash. Firstly, he has no fresh injury concerns with every player having a clean bill of health. Those missing remain Robert Huth, who may struggle to play for the Foxes again, and Matty James who remains side-lined with an achilles injury.
The other positive for the interim boss is the success of Shakespeare in his first games as interim boss. The Foxes impressively saw off Klopp’s Liverpool in a 3-1 victory at the King Power and picked up 15 points from a possible 15, while also reaching the Quarter Finals of the Champions League, successfully seeing of Sevilla. Taking this success into perspective, Appleton undoubtedly has a tough task on his hands.
Riyad Mahrez scored his first goal of the season against the Baggies and if he continues to find the back of the net alongside the passion of Jamie Vardy then the Foxes won’t be doing too much wrong. Vicente Iborra produced a solid performance Monday night and Appleton will be looking for more of the same while it would be no surprise to see the return of Japanese International, Shinji Okazaki, to the starting 11.
Score Prediction: Swansea City 1 Leicester City 2
The Foxes have enjoyed success against the Swans in recent seasons having won four of the clubs last five meetings, scoring 11 goals in the process. Although, last year’s result at the Liberty arguably put one of the final nails in Claudio Ranieri’s coffin, with Swansea running away 2-0 winners in a then relegation battle. It is vital that Leicester pick up three points this weekend as there is always a concern about dropping deeper into the relegation zone. I think Swansea would be happy with a draw but for me, the importance of three points for Leicester can’t be forgotten.
Written by Eamon Kitching.