Leicester vs Wolves – Analysis, Prediction, Team News
Saturday 22nd April 2023
King Power Stadium
As part of our weekend Premier League predictions, we cast an eye over Wolves’ visit to Leicester. Leicester have lost their last 5 at home in all competitions and are looking desperate – can they get a result? Read on with our Leicester vs Wolves prediction.
Leicester vs Wolves Match Preview
Leicester City have hired former Aston Villa and Norwich City boss to oversee their fortunes until the end of the season in a bid to preserve their Premier League status. Eight points from their last 15 Premier League matches is a miserable return for a team with mostly the same personnel as the teams who finished 8th last season and 5th for the two previous seasons.
While the result wasn’t what they wanted (though realistically, a result at the Etihad is a long shot) and the game was out of sight within 25 minutes of the first half, Leicester’s second-half performance was a big improvement – albeit against a Manchester City team who appeared to be far more focused on their midweek Champions League second leg clash with Bayern Munich.
Nevertheless, that 3-1 defeat leaves them two points from safety with seven matches remaining. The good news for Leicester as that their run-in is relatively kind, also affording them the opportunity to take points directly from their relegation rivals, with fixtures against Leeds United (away), Everton (home) and West Ham on the final day of the season (home) all ripe opportunities if they can raise their collective performance levels.
While Wolves aren’t safe just yet, two consecutive home victories against Chelsea (1-0) and Brentford (2-0) have opened up a seven-point gap to Nottingham Forest in 18th place, and a couple more victories would likely see the job through. Wolves’ form under Julen Lopetegui is more akin to that of a mid-table side than one threatened by relegation, and they’ll be confident of lining up in the Premier League next season.
In a classic case of how the xG statistic can be misleading at times, Wolves had a number of high-quality efforts on goal from ‘difficult’ chances and they were well worth their 2-0 victory over Brentford who have been putting in some increasingly poor performances. Though there was an element of fortune about both goals, it was clear that Wolves were the superior team on the day.
Wolves’ run-in looks tricky, on paper at least. They face away matches against Brighton, Manchester United and Arsenal, with a Midlands derby against in-form Aston Villa and a match against a resurgent Crystal Palace all thrown in for good measure. They’ll most likely do enough between now and the end of the season, but a victory against lowly Leicester would go a long way.
Injuries and Suspensions
Might Not Play: Barnes, Bertrand, Evans
Will Not Play: Justin, Pereira, Vestergaard
Might Not Play: Traore
Will Not Play: Chiquinho, Kalajdzic
Leicester vs Wolves Lineups (Predicted)
Leicester (3-4-2-1): Iversen; Faes, Souttar, Soyuncu; Kristiansen, Castagne, Ndidi, Tielemans; Dewsbury-Hall, Maddison; Vardy
Wolves (4-2-3-1): Sa; Toti, Dawson, Kilman, Semedo; Joao Gomes, Lemina; Sarabia, Cunha, Matheus Nunes; Costa
Leicester vs Wolves Analysis
Leicester’s Tactical Shift
For years, Brendan Rodgers had Leicester City playing positive, attractive football wherever possible. Until this campaign, it was widely considered that the former Liverpool and Celtic manager had done an excellent job, with European football and two fifth-placed finishes the highlights of his tenure. However, a heady cocktail of lack of squad investment, player unrest and a refusal to deviate from preferred tactics sees Leicester mired in the relegation zone.
New manager Dean Smith has been given the job temporarily until the end of the season and has wasted no time in attempting to shore up a Leicester defence that has shipped 55 goals in the Premier League – only Leeds, Bournemouth and Nottingham Forest have conceded more. This has resulted in a shift from Rodgers’ preferred 4-2-3-1 formation to a 3-4-2-1 system with Castagne and Kristiansen as wingbacks with Maddison and Dewsbury-Hall supporting a lone striker – it was Jamie Vardy against Manchester City.
We’ve also seen a recall for sidelined Turkish international centre-back Caglar Soyuncu. His absence this season in the wake of a transfer away from the King Power that failed to materialise has been a source of consternation for Leicester fans, particularly in light of their poor defensive record this season. Leicester clearly need the extra solidity – playing well and losing 4-2 will not help them for the next month or so.
Wolves Aren’t the Same Side Away from Home
We’ve talked about Wolves’ improvement under Julen Lopetegui, but that extends mostly to their home form. This isn’t intended as a criticism – the Premier League does have a fairly strong home bias in terms of results, there are only five ‘losing’ home records and in the case of Leeds and Bournemouth it’s marginal. The two victories for Wolves away from home this season have come at struggling Southampton and Everton.
So, given that Wolves’ positive results away from home this season, as infrequent as they can be (8 defeats in 15, 11 points in 15) appear to be strongly correlated with the level of opposition i.e. they do well against poor teams, surely they can get a result against Leicester? Not necessarily.
With a new manager comes a new tactical approach. With Leicester prioritising survival above all else between now and the end of the season, we expect that Leicester will be happy to concede possession in relatively benign areas of the pitch before breaking aggressively from deep with both wingbacks and attacking midfielders in support, with Tielemans providing some extra creativity in addition to the extra protection he will provide in front of the back three. Wolves struggle with empty possessions when they try to take the initiative, as their 72% possession away against Nottingham Forest with little creativity attests to.
We’re going to go against the form book here and suggest that Leicester can get a valuable three points to help kickstart their relegation fight. Wolves have been playing positively and they created enough against Brentford at home, but there was an element of fortune to both goals involving rebounds from defenders that they simply won’t get every week.
There is the possibility that Wolves will be good enough for a point here, but frankly, they have been at least as poor away from home as Leicester have been at home this season. They should take heart from a much improved second-half display away to Manchester City regardless of the circumstances at play, and if they produce that kind of performance they should have enough to secure the win.
Leicester 2-1 Wolves
Leicester vs Wolves Betting Tip – Leicester Odds:
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