Aston Villa vs Leicester Prediction
Saturday 4th February 2023
As part of our weekend Premier League predictions, we examine struggling Leicester’s visit to Villa Park. Villa have taken 10 points from their last four league matches, can they make it five unbeaten? Find out with our Aston Villa vs Leicester prediction.
Aston Villa vs Leicester Prediction Match Overview
Aston Villa enter this Saturday afternoon match rested due to no cup games and in relatively good form in the league. Indeed, they are in fifth place in the form table over the last six games. Wins over Brighton, Tottenham, Leeds, and Southampton represent a good run for them. The only blips were a loss against Liverpool and a draw with Wolves. Still, they have accumulated 13 points from 18. They have scored nine and conceded six on this run. At home, they have taken 10 of their last 18, which can be improved. The late Watkins goal at St Mary’s will give them confidence coming into this home match in Birmingham. Sitting in 11th place with 28 points after 20 games, they are unthreatened by relegation but have some work to do to climb the table.
Leicester enter the match in a much more precarious position. They lie in the fourteenth position, with 18 points after 20 games, but crucially only three points separate the bottom seven teams. They have conceded 35 goals – only Bournemouth have conceded more in the division. Hence, it is clear where they need to improve. Their form is mediocre, having only taken four points from the last 18. However, in their previous game, they managed a creditable 2-2 draw with high-flying Brighton. Interestingly, their recent away form is better than their home form. They have taken 9 of the last 18 points on the road and have a goal difference of plus four across that period. Perhaps they feel less pressure away from the King Power. Whatever the reason, these recent wins will give them hope for this match.
Aston Villa vs Leicester Team News
Injuries and Suspensions
Might Not Play: McGinn
Will Not Play: Digne, Carlos, B Traore
Might Not Play: Ndidi
Will Not Play: Bertrand, Evans, Justin, Pereira, Soumare, Vardy
Aston Villa vs Leicester Predicted Lineups
Aston Villa (4-3-3): Martinez; Moreno, Mings, Konsa, Young; Luiz, Kamara, Ramsey; Buendia, Watkins, Bailey
Leicester (4-3-3): Ward; Kristiansen, Faes, Amartey, Castagne; Mendy, Tielemans, Dewsbury-Hall; Barnes, Daka, Maddison
Aston Villa vs Leicester Prediction Analysis
Midfield Battle and Difference in Styles
The contest in the middle of the park will be crucial in this match. Interestingly, the possession stats across the season so far are relatively equal (Villa’s 49 per cent to Leicester’s 51 per cent). However, Leicester have had more touches and played more passes. Leicester have had 13,010 touches in their games, compared to Villa’s 11,539. Leicester have also completed 81.3 per cent of 10,874 passes, while Villa have completed 78 per cent of 9,389 (both have played 20 games). This data suggests that Leicester are more of a possession team and take care of the ball a little better than Villa. This pattern makes sense watching both teams; Villa seem more direct. Something else that backs up this claim is that despite having fewer touches overall, Villa have had more touches in the box (366 to Leicester’s 354). They also dribble more (303 to 260), which is understandable as they have quality ball carriers in their team (Watkins, Bailey, McGinn, Buendia). Hence, Leicester are a more cerebral and possession-based team than Villa in general.
Perhaps the key to this is Tielemans – he has attempted 1,147 passes this season, amongst the highest of all league players. He has completed 82 per cent of these. Therefore, it is evident that Tielemans makes Leicester tick in many games. Villa will have to try to press him and not allow him to get on the ball and make short passes to control the game. With Villa at home, they will likely try to take the game to Leicester more than if they were away. Therefore, we expect Leicester to have slightly more of the ball, given their natural inclination and style of play, but not be as ball-dominant as they would be at the King Power.
Villa have the players to get at Leicester in this game. Ramsey, Buendia, Bailey, and Watkins are all talented players, good dribblers, and a threat on goal. Indeed, all four have stats between 35 and 39 in terms of shot-creating actions in the league this season. Bailey, in particular, loves to dribble, with 26 completed dribbles from 66 attempts this season and receiving 78 progressive passes (second only to Watkins with 88). This data reinforces the view that Villa love getting the ball to Watkins and Bailey and letting them take on their man. Villa will rely on the creativity of Ramsey and Buendia linking up to find and release Watkins and Bailey and allow them to attack the Leicester full-backs. Leicester must be mindful of the pace, trickery and guile that the Villa forwards possess, especially as they have looked vulnerable defensively all season. These situations on transitions are where Mendy, Tielemans, and Dewsbury-Hall must be diligent.
In addition to his other stats, Tielemans has also completed 47 live passes leading to a shot attempt – a club high this season for Leicester. Therefore, he is integral to getting the ball to the more direct players in their team, such as Barnes and Maddison. The latter appears to be fit now, and he is a creation machine when he is available to play. If he does start this game, we expect him to link up well with Tielemans and for the two of them to find little gaps between the Villa lines where they can get in behind Moreno and Young. Kristiansen and Castagne from full-back will ably support them. Iheanacho or Vardy might be in line for a start up front, but if Daka starts, he must be clinical. He, Maddison, and Barnes have had the most shots from any Leicester players in our predicted lineup (Barnes has had 43 shots in almost 17 games, so he certainly likes to have a strike on goal). While Leicester enjoy playing passing football, they have the players to be deadly in the final third if they can find their form.
Beat the Bookmaker Aston Villa vs Leicester Prediction
This game is a tough one to predict. On the surface, Villa are in better form and have home advantage. However, Leicester are somewhat of a Jekyll and Hyde team – you never know which Leicester will turn up. They can outplay and beat anyone on their day but can also plumb the depths of losing to poorer teams. This inconsistency has veered more to the latter this season, which is why they are in their lowly league position. We believe Leicester can definitely win at Villa Park on a good day, even against a good Villa side. We don’t have faith that Leicester can find their form, even with Maddison’s return. Leicester will likely have some more of the ball, and Villa will lure them in and hit their suspect defence on the counter-attack. It will probably be pretty close, but we fancy Villa to win.
Aston Villa 2-1 Leicester
Beat the Bookmaker Aston Villa vs Leicester Prediction – Aston Villa Odds:
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