Preview: Leicester City vs. Brighton & Hove Albion
Sports Mole previews Saturday’s Premier League clash between Leicester City and Brighton & Hove Albion, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
The World Cup break was a blessing for some teams and a nightmare for others, and it has certainly proven to be the latter for Leicester, who are still searching for their first point let alone their first victory in the top flight since the Qatar tournament.
At the City Ground last weekend, the Foxes held out in the first 45 minutes before two strikes from Brennan Johnson – both set up by Morgan Gibbs-White – gave the Tricky Trees a thoroughly deserved win, although the story could have been different if Harvey Barnes did not miss a couple of gilt-edged chances.
From losing only one of their last six games before the World Cup to going on a dismal four-game losing run, the 15th-placed Foxes are now only two points clear of the dotted line as a relegation dogfight rears its ugly head, and their only win of the New Year so far was that 1-0 FA Cup success at an out-of-sorts Gillingham.
The transfer window may be open, but Leicester fans will not be holding their breath over any potential solutions to their attacking crisis, which has seen Rodgers’s men score just two goals in their last six matches and just one from their last four in the Premier League.
All three of the Foxes’ most recent top-flight home games have ended in defeat without a single goal being scored by those in blue, and even though the hosts have never suffered four consecutive scoreless league defeats on their own turf before, very few will back Rodgers’s side with any real confidence here.
The Leandro Trossard saga threatened to derail Brighton’s preparations for the visit of Liverpool to the Amex, but Roberto De Zerbi‘s clinical outfit coped just fine in the absence of the AWOL Belgian, as Jurgen Klopp witnessed the ‘worst game’ of his Reds career.
After surviving a first-half penalty shout and getting to half time with their clean sheet intact, Liverpool’s defence soon crumbled, as Solly March bagged a brace before Danny Welbeck came off the bench to seal a phenomenal victory nine minutes from time.
Now basking in the glory of a three-game winning run in all tournaments – during which time they have scored a whopping 12 goals – Brighton are firmly in the European mix as they lie seventh in the rankings, just three points behind fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur, who tackle Manchester City on Thursday night.
Avergaeing over three goals per game in their last five matches – even scoring twice against leaders Arsenal and having a third disallowed for a marginal offside – Brighton will need to be wary of recent frailties at the back, as they have failed to keep a clean sheet away from home in the Premier League since August.
Leicester and Brighton played out a seven-goal thriller at the Amex earlier this season, which the Seagulls won 5-2, and De Zerbi is on the verge of leading the visitors to three successive Premier League victories for only the second time in the club’s history.
Leicester City Premier League form:
Leicester City form (all competitions):
Brighton & Hove Albion Premier League form:
Brighton & Hove Albion form (all competitions):
One minor positive for Rodgers is that he did not witness any more players enter the treatment room at the City Ground, where a total of eight players missed out, including long-term absentees Ricardo Pereira, Ryan Bertrand, James Justin, Jonny Evans and Boubakary Soumare.
Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall is also unlikely to be back from a gluteal tear just yet, while James Maddison should miss out again with a knee injury, but Ayoze Perez may be in with a chance of recovering from a knock in time for the weekend.
The Spaniard could therefore be in with a chance of displacing Marc Albrighton on the right, while another toothless attacking performance from Jamie Vardy will benefit Patson Daka or Kelechi Iheanacho‘s chances of a recall to the first XI.
As for Brighton, Trossard immediately left to return to Belgium after being told he was not in the squad to face Liverpool, and with the attacker’s agent demanding a transfer away from the club this month, he has seemingly played his final game in blue and white.
Polish midfielder Jakub Moder will take several more weeks out as he recovers from a knee injury, and thoughts are with former Brighton man Enock Mwepu, who retired in October following the discovery of a hereditary cardiac condition and was recently hospitalised in his native Zambia.
De Zerbi will certainly keep changes to a minimum, with Levi Colwill still keeping Adam Webster at bay, but Welbeck has done all that he can to displace 18-year-old Evan Ferguson at the tip of the attack.
Leicester City possible starting lineup:
Ward; Castagne, Amartey, Faes, Thomas; Ndidi, Mendy; Perez, Tielemans, Barnes; Daka
Brighton & Hove Albion possible starting lineup:
Sanchez; Gross, Dunk, Colwill, Estupinan; Caicedo, Mac Allister; March, Lallana, Mitoma; Welbeck
We say: Leicester City 0-3 Brighton & Hove Albion
Leicester’s goalless outing at Nottingham Forest was not for the want of trying, as the chances they created were let down by a lack of killer instinct, but Brighton are not renowned for any defensive excellence away from home.
However, one consolation goal may even be a step too far for the Foxes, with Brighton scoring at will and sure to take advantage of the hosts’ ongoing injury and confidence issues to extend their winning streak.
For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.
Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data
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