Leicester vs Sheffield United Preview
Leicester have only had a single win to their name ever since the return of Premier League football, and their form looks to be on a downwards path to relinquishing a European spot. The latest team to deliver a defeat were Howe’s Bournemouth.
Despite having started the game in cruise control with another Jamie Vardy opener (his 23rd of the season), in a calamitous two minutes, the Foxes had a man sent off – Caglar Soyuncu – and then squandered their lead, courtesy of Junior Stanislas and Dominic Solanke’s efforts.
Stanislas earned his goal from the spot in the aftermath of a foul in the box on Callum Wilson from Wilfred Ndidi. Solanke’s however, was far more eye-catching.
The Cherries weren’t done inflicting their damage after that double, though Rodgers’ would’ve hoped so. Indeed, Stanislas was once again in the thick of the action, with a shot that took a big deflection off Jonny Evans on it’s way past Kasper Schmeichel. Solanke then snapped up his second to wrap up a fantastic performance, ensuring his side their first win in 10 games.
It was a defeat for the visitors that’ll surely have given them a penny for their thoughts. However, if Leicester were hoping for an easier game at home to Sheffield United this Thursday, they’ll have guessed wrong again.
Indeed, the Blades are unbeaten in their last five Premier League games, clinical on the attack, and stringent in defence – attributes that they showcased against Frank Lampard’s Chelsea last week.
It was David McGoldrick who opened the scoring, pouncing on a spilt ball from Kepa Arrizabalaga in the 18th minute. The Englishman has been in great form in recent games, though goals have evaded him. Against the Blues at Bramall Lane, however, there was no stopping him.
Just 15 minutes later he was in the action again, playing a pivotal role in the build-up of Sheffield’s second, when Ollie McBurnie headered home a second.
The Chelsea defence was in complete tatters at this stage, and could do nothing as McGoldrick racked up a brace – the Blades’ third – late in the second-half.
Such a performance brimming with attacking potential, having provided Chelsea with their heaviest defeat since Lampard’s first game in charge (4-0 to Manchester United), shows that the Blades are well on their way to securing European football.
Leicester vs Sheffield United Betting Tips
Leicester are crumbling as the finish line approaches, but they still have hope, with Brendan Rodgers’ side clinging on to fourth on goal difference. Blades are flying after thrashing Chelsea too, so we see Chris Wilder’s side gaining a result here, and while an away win wouldn’t shock us, we’ll opt for the draw. 1-1.
Leicester vs Sheffield United Predictions
With the clash against the Blades looming, Rodger’s will have to re-evaluate his tactics and ponder where exactly performances have gone awry, starting with that defeat to bottom-of-the-table Bournemouth.
Sure, Schmeichel would be responsible for the sending off, and takes a certain degree of ownership for what followed. However, there were many in blue shirts that night who played the role of culprits.
From the lack of midfield discipline shown by the likes of Ndidi and Youri Tielemans, all the way through to the bumbling defending shown from Evans and co, it was a reckless display from the Foxes from attack all the way through to defence.
If they want to add to their solitary win, and gain some distance from their fellow too-four contenders, the performance against Sheffield United this weekend will have to be far steelier and cunning.
Coming up against a Chris Wilder team, bursting at the seams with players hungry for goals won’t be an easy away encounter. Whether it’s McGoldrick – Sheffield United’s 2019 Player of the Year – or his strike partner McBurnie who’s also been in great goalscoring form, should the Foxes appear as lax as they did against Bournemouth, the odds about a high-scoring game for the hosts will only be enhanced.
And given that the Blades are also well-versed from corners and free-kicks, the likes of Evans and James Justin will need to work on their spatial awareness in the box.
A win is what the Foxes will need – at all costs. Fail to clinch it, and they’ll be all but ensuring European football graces the grass at Bramall Lane, while slipping down the league standings themselves as Wolves and Arsenal make the climb up. Can they do it? Our prognosis is an unfortunate, yet unanimous, no.
Squawka Stat: The Foxes have picked up a solitary point out of a possible 12 in their last four games, conceding 10 in the process – where has it gone wrong?
The most important aspect of this Thursday’s performance for the Foxes will be their defence.
Indeed, they’ve already conceded on average two goals per game in their last four matches, with a less-than-attractive tally of 38 in a 35-game campaign so far.
As the season has progressed, the cause behind this leaky defence has slowly reared it’s ugly head: a defensive midfield pairing that is unable to block the channel to accessing the Leicester back four, chiefly in Ndidi and Tielemans.
Of course, it doesn’t help that the back four, with Evans as the veteran, isn’t convincing in any sense of the word. But further forward in the middle third is where the damage is being done.
You only have to take a look at the numbers the midfield duo is racking up this season already. Compare the Nigerian international to a more sturdier defensive midfielder such as Liverpool’s Fabinho, and the faults expose themselves; Ndidi has conceded 179 shots in the box this season to Fabinho’s 140, Ndidi has lost 190 duels in the middle of the park, whereas his Brazilian counterpart only has 100 to his name.
Just as sloppy and lacklustre is Tielemans – a man who was hailed as a great attacker in the centre of the park. For all his contributions in the final third, an inability to track back and fill up the chasm behind him has contributed to Leicester’s conceded goals.
Pit the likes of McBurnie and McGoldrick against this lot and wagering on the duo to score plentifully won’t be a bad punt – that’s if Rodgers’ men don’t clean up their act.
Bournemouth 4-1 Leicester (12/07/20 – Premier League)
Arsenal 1-1 Leicester (07/07/20 – Premier League)
Leicester 3-0 Crystal Palace (04/07/20 – Premier League)
Everton 2-1 Leicester (01/07/20 – Premier League)
Leicester 0-1 Chelsea (28/06/20 – FA Cup quarterfinal)
Sheffield United Form
Sheffield United 3-0 Chelsea (11/07/20 – Premier League)
Sheffield United 1-0 Wolves (08/07/20 – Premier League)
Burnley 1-1 Sheffield United (05/07/20 – Premier League)
Sheffield United 3-1 Tottenham (02/07/20 – Premier League)
Sheffield United 1-2 Arsenal (28/06/20 – Premier League)
Leicester City take on Sheffield United in a key battle in the race for European places.
The Foxes are clinging on to a place inside the top four, with Manchester United in fifth on goal difference alone.
While Blades are finishing strongly, having beaten Chelsea impressively last time out and now just five points behind the top four, but primed to claim qualification to the Europa League.
Brendan Rodgers will demand a reaction after the damaging defeat to Bournemouth here.
Check out the predicted line-ups for the game at the King Power Stadium.
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Leicester vs Sheffield United When is it and what time is kick-off?
The match will begin at 6pm on Thursday 16 July at the King Power Stadium.
Leicester vs Sheffield United How can I watch it online and on TV?
The match will be broadcast live on Sky One, Sky Sports Premier League, Sky Sports Arena, Sky Sports Ultra HD and Pick, and Sky subscribers can also stream the game on the Sky Go app.
If you’re not a Sky customer, you can grab a NOWTV Day Pass here to watch without a subscription.
Leicester vs Sheffield United What is the team news?
James Maddison (hip) and Ben Chilwell (foot) are doubts, as is Marc Albrighton, who picked up a knock against Bournemouth. Caglar Soyuncu is out through suspension after his red card.
John Fleck (groin) is a doubt, but Chris Wilder is “hopeful”. Chris Basham (head) has been cleared.
Leicester XI: Schmeichel; Justin, Bennett, Evans, Fuchs; Ndidi; Perez, Praet, Tielemans, Barnes; Vardy
Sheffield United XI: Henderson; Basham, Egan, O’Connell; Baldock, Berge, Norwood, Osborn, Stevens; McBurnie, McGoldrick
What are the odds?
Sheffield United: 29/10
- This is the first time Leicester are hosting Sheffield United in a league match since November 2010 (2-2 in the Championship), and the first time in a top-flight match since February 1976 (1-1).
- Sheffield United haven’t lost both league matches in a season against Leicester since 1928-29 in the top-flight, with this the 38th different campaign they’ve faced them in since then.
- Since the start of February, Leicester have won just two of their 11 Premier League games (D5 L4), however both of those victories have come at the King Power Stadium (vs Aston Villa and Crystal Palace).
- Having failed to win any of their first three Premier League matches back after the restart (D1 L2), Sheffield United have gone unbeaten in their last four (W3 D1) and will be aiming to pick up three consecutive victories in the competition for the first time since December.
- Leicester will be aiming to keep four consecutive home clean sheets in the Premier League for the first time since February 2016, in their title winning campaign under Claudio Ranieri (a run of five).
- With 54 points from their opening 35 games this season, only four newly promoted sides have won more points than Sheffield United at this stage of Premier League campaign, with Ipswich in 2000-01 the last to do so (62 points).