Leicester vs Aston Villa – Analysis, Prediction, Team News
Tuesday 4th April 2023
King Power Stadium
As part of our midweek Premier League predictions, we take a look at the Midlands derby between Leicester and Aston Villa. Villa have won 4 in 5 and Leicester are the worst team in the league in the same period. Away win? Read on with our Leicester vs Aston Villa prediction.
Leicester vs Aston Villa Match Preview
Leicester come into this game in desperate trouble. After four years, the club parted ways with ex-coach Brendan Rodgers this weekend following a last-minute defeat away at Crystal Palace. Leicester cannot say they were unlucky, as Palace had an xG of 2.47 to 0.24 to win their first game of 2023. This result is the latest in a run where Leicester have lost five of their last six games and only picked up a solitary point in a 1-1 draw away at Brentford right before the international break. They are bottom of the form table across this period.
Indeed, Leicester have been poor all season at home. They are one of only two sides (alongside Southampton) to collect more points on the road than at their own stadium, accumulating 13 points away and 12 at home. Many will say things grew stagnant under Rodgers. Much of his decision-making was arguably poor and a dereliction of duty.
However, Leicester have been quite unfortunate at times this season. A combination of this misfortune and poor performance sometimes sees them in the hole they are in. They are in 19th place with 25 points from 28 games and at serious threat of relegation. Given the quality of their squad, this is unacceptable.
Alternatively, Aston Villa are doing brilliantly right now. After a fantastic 2-0 away win at an admittedly struggling Chelsea side at the weekend, they were the straw that broke the camel’s back that saw Chelsea coach Graham Potter sacked. Things have turned around for the Midlands club since Unai Emery took charge. After they had lost three on the bounce (including the reverse fixture to Leicester, a 4-2 defeat), Villa have gone on a run where they have won four and drawn one of the previous five.
Villa have also been excellent away from home, winning five of their previous seven. Indeed, Villa are seventh in the away table with 18 points, and there isn’t much disparity between this and their home total, at 23. These stats signify that Villa suffer less than some teams when they play away from home because they are a very direct and counter-attacking team with much pace and guile in attacking areas. Therefore, when they play away, the onus is less on them to break down a lower block. Hence, they will fancy their chances again here at the King Power.
Injuries and Suspensions
Might Not Play: Evans, Praet
Will Not Play: Bertrand, Justin, Vestergaard, Tielemans
Might Not Play: Coutinho
Will Not Play: Steer, Cash
Leicester vs Aston Villa Lineups (Predicted)
Leicester (4-2-3-1 / 4-3-3): Iversen; Castagne, Faes, Souttar, Pereira; Dewsbury-Hall, Ndidi; Barnes, Maddison, Tete; Iheanacho
Aston Villa (4-4-2): Martinez; Moreno, Mings, Konsa, Young; Ramsey, Luiz, Kamara, McGinn; Watkins, Buendia
Leicester vs Aston Villa Analysis
Leicester Are In Dire Straits, But Will Probably Have More Possession
First-team coach Adam Sadler and goalkeeping coach Mike Stowell will be in charge of Leicester here following the dismissal of Rodgers. The 15/16 Premier League winners are in huge trouble and really must start picking up points. They likely need another 12 to 15 points to ensure safety, which is a big ask given their form and only 30 remaining points up for grabs. This match represents a very stiff test against a team playing well.
Leicester tend to play quite a possession-orientated, passing game, though this has suffered with Tielemans’s recent absence. The Foxes average 50 per cent possession, but they have the seventh-most completed passes in the division with almost 12,000. Therefore, they will likely have more of the ball in this game and try to break down an organised Villa defence. This situation suits Villa, as we described earlier, and we will elaborate more on this in a moment. However, from Leicester’s perspective, it is essential that Ndidi and Dewsbury-Hall can get on the ball and try to protect it from the Villa midfielders.
Leicester take risks in possession, and it will be up to Dewsbury-Hall and Maddison to make things happen in central and attacking areas with their technical play, dribbling, and passing. Maddison needs to have a great end to the season because he is by far the best source of creativity in Leicester’s side. In truth, he is much too good for them. If they go down he will undoubtedly transfer elsewhere, so Leicester aren’t just fighting for survival but for their team to stay intact.
Maddison, Barnes and Tete must use their impressive dribbling to run at the Villa defenders and try to commit them. The width will be crucial, and Castagne and Pereira will supplement them. In general, Leicester must be patient and try to unlock the doors with penetrative passes when the gaps present themselves. Villa have kept four clean sheets in the last five, so this will be easier said than done.
Aston Villa Are Playing Well, And Will Likely Play Their Counter-Attack Game
Villa are in excellent form, and they have not been fluking their points at all – in games they have won recently, they have generally been the better team and deserved the victories. Villa must keep doing what they are doing. As we stated earlier, the likely tactical set-up of this game suits Villa; Leicester will likely have more of the ball, and the onus and pressure is on them to create, so Villa can sit in a deeper block and try to win the ball in midfield and counter until their heart is content. Of course, no game is 100 per cent one team attacking and the other countering, and Villa will have spells of ball dominance and possession. However, the game’s general flow will likely be them transitioning on Leicester, which suits them down to the ground.
Moreno and Young will look to get forward at every opportunity as Villa play a 4-4-2/4-3-3 hybrid. The full-backs helping out Ramsey and McGinn in wide areas when Villa nick the ball in midfield will allow Villa to overload the Leicester full-back areas- particularly if Castagne and Pereira are caught upfield. Villa are quick to play the ball down the left-hand channel between right-back and right centre-back, as it is in these areas that Watkins comes alive. The Englishman continued his impressive goalscoring form at Stamford Bridge, and his pace, trickery and finishing will be vital. Buendia is also a tricky, technical player who can find gaps to exploit, and Bailey is a further flying option.
Overall, the midfield four must be industrious and close gaps Leicester will look to play through. If Kamara and Luiz can win the ball, they can feed it wide or into areas for the wingers and forwards to attack. The midfield four of these two, McGinn and Ramsey is full of experience, technical savvy, and hard work, so we expect them to frustrate Leicester, win the ball, and release the forwards. At the same time, McGinn and Ramsey will use their athleticism to join the attackers in the box.
As we are all aware, football is an unpredictable and high-variance game. So much can happen in any game, and momentum is often a nebulous concept in football – a team can be riding high, full of confidence, and be on the crest of a wave (as Villa are) and still come unstuck against a struggling team which has recently lost its manager (as Leicester are). These sides arrive in this game in contrasting form and with differing fortunes. Their styles are also reasonably different at times. However, that is not to say that Leicester aren’t good in transition, and Villa can’t play possession football. Villa are simply more often a direct team than the more patient and passing Leicester side.
Hence, we are mindful of making overly-confident, grand predictions simply because Villa are the most logical pick here. We have seen it all before, and plenty of people have had a bloody nose in the past on what seems like a surefire bet. However, we will back Villa to win by a couple of goals here. Leicester will probably score but also concede a few because we envisage them struggling to cope with the direct, pacey Villa threat on the counter. We add the caveat that Leicester could see a bounce given Rodgers’s sacking, and Villa could perform more poorly than they have recently. The form and likely tactical pattern suits Villa, though; they are good away from home.
Leicester 1-3 Aston Villa
Leicester vs Aston Villa Betting Tip – Aston Villa Odds:
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