20:00 KO (BST); Monday 16th October; King Power Stadium (Leicester, England) Sky Sports
With only two points from their last five games, Leicester are suffering a repeat of last season. While Jamie Vardy has once more been in fine form despite carrying a hip injury, many of his teammates are yet to find form. They will need to find it quickly though as Palace’s win leaves them only two points from the bottom of the table.
West Brom too are a team facing problems in achieving a win. After a fast start saw them pick up seven points from the nine available, they’ve only managed another three draws from the following five games and will be desperate for another win.
LAST TIME OUT
Bournemouth 0 – 0 LEICESTER CITY (Premiership)
The Foxes offered little cunning but stood firm against a determined Bournemouth to take a battling point away from home. While Danny Simpson was lucky not to have a penalty awarded against him for handball in the opening minutes, the Leicester defence recovered their poise to keep the Cherries at bay. Kasper Schmeichel was at the heart of this, thwarting Bournemouth seven times during the game with a solid performance that has become expected of him.
At the other end of the pitch, Jamie Vardy and Shinji Okazaki both found it hard to make any impact on the game, especially during the first half when they rarely saw the ball. Okazaki had Leicester’s best chance with a miscued shot from 10 yards that should have been converted but there was little else of note made by the forwards. Most disappointingly, Demarai Gray failed to impress having been given the nod ahead of Riyad Mahrez and the young winger may have to wait for another chance to shine from the starting lineup.
WEST BROM 2 – 2 Watford (Premiership)
A see-saw game that was looking like a home win at the Hawthorns ended in a late, late goal from Richarlison which had them split the points with Watford. Two quick-fire goals within three minutes during the first half had West Brom flying although Abdoulaye Doucouré did manage to pull a goal back for the Hornets just before half-time.
Although Watford dominated possession throughout the game, it was a typically determined and disciplined team display from Tony Pulis’ side which looked strong enough to maintain their lead. As the clock ticked past the suggested four additional minutes at the end of the game, the referee’s decision to add an extra minute proved crucial to Watford salvaging a point and left Pulis understandably infuriated.
Robert Huth (knock) and Matty James (Achilles) are the only restrictions which face Shakespeare who should recall Riyad Mahrez into the starting lineup.
West Brom Lineup
After experiments with three centre backs, Tony Pulis could opt for a back-four to counter the traditional 4-4-2 expected from Leicester. While there are no major injury concerns, Nacer Chadli (back), James Morrison (calf) and Hal Robson-Kanu (muscular) are unlikely to start while Salomón Rondón should continue up front following his goal against Watford.
Key Battle: Jamie Vardy vs Jonny Evans
After dropping out of the England squad to concentrate on his recovery from a persistent hip injury, Jamie Vardy could be fully fit for the first time in weeks. With five goals already to his name this season, the thought of a refreshed and improved Vardy is a mouth-watering prospect.
Looking to stop the striker in his tracks will be a player that was heavily linked with joining Manchester City at the end of the summer transfer window. After missing the first three games of the season whilst the media whipped up a storm of headlines around him, Jonny Evans has been in poor form since his return to the team and will need to step up his performance this weekend to stop the Foxes main man.
Shakespeare’s Second Home
Craig Shakespeare enjoyed a successful start to his life in management with the well-documented run that saw him win his first six games in all competitions. His life in the hot-seat at West Brom was where it all began, though, with a 100% record as a caretaker manager in October of 2006. Being born in Great Barr which is only a short walk from the Hawthorns, he has many close connections to the club and will take pride in facing them this weekend.
Lost in the Middle
West Brom’s failure to score is often placed squarely on the shoulders of their forwards, with Salomón Rondón yet to score 10 or more goals in his previous two full seasons at the club. The use of three holding midfielders has greatly stifled the Baggies creativity though and this too has to be considered a major factor in their poor conversion rate. With a switch to the trendy three centre-back solution, Pulis may have found a workaround to get more from his side while still packing the central midfield area.
PREDICTION: Leicester City 1 – 1 West Brom
Leicester will be the team who make most of the running in this fixture but the main question will be whether they can do enough to get through a solid team who are well-versed in soaking up attacking pressure. While West Brom have lost their last two games on the road, Leicester should be considered the favourites to win this match although a draw is the most likely outcome.
Want to share your opinion? Why not Write For Us?