Leicester City (H) | Pre-match Review
Updated: Aug 24, 2019
Sheffield United vs Leicester City 24/08/2019
English Premier League
Whilst Sunday’s performance got the three points it deserved, Wilder’s side will have to be better against a Leicester team looking to break into the top six.
Last Time Out
Leicester City 1 (Vardy 66) - 0 Sheffield United 16/02/2019
FA Cup 5th Round
In what is an easily forgotten fixture for both sides, Friday night's bizarrely untelevised cup tie featured a strong core of players who could play this weekend.
Kasper Schmeichel, Wes Morgan, Ben Chilwell, Wilfred Ndidi, Demerai Gray, Kelechi Iheanacho and Jamie Vardy all started for Leicester City that evening. The latter scoring the only goal of the match. The Foxes would then go on to be knocked out by eventual winners Chelsea in the following round.
Knowing they’d be one game away from a Semi-Final at Wembley, the Blades will have been disappointed to have been knocked out at this stage. We did, however, have bigger fish to fry. We were three points away from the play-offs in what was our first season in the Championship since 2011. The play-off push fizzled out eventually; United would go on to finish 10th..
The Sheffield United team that evening featured Jack O’Connell, Chris Basham, Enda Stevens, George Baldock and John Lundstram. All of which started Sunday’s fixture against Crystal Palace; you wouldn’t begrudge any of those players a start on Saturday.
Summer at Leicester City
Notable Ins: James Justin (£8m, Luton Town), Ayoze Pérez (£30m, Newcastle United), Youri Tielemens (£40m, AS Monaco), Dennis Praet (£18m, Sampdoria)
Notable Outs: Harry Maguire (£80m, Manchester United), Danny Simpson (Released), Andy King (Loan, Rangers)
While the Shirecliffe graduate was the highest profile departure, their best business of the summer was arguably securing the permanent signing of Belgian international Youri Tielemens. Dennis Praet, will be looking to form a partnership with his fellow countryman once settled.
Ayoze Pérez was brought in from Newcastle United to add more goals from wide areas and ease some of the pressure from Jamie Vardy, who was their only player to reach double figures last season.
James Justin has a job on his hands to dislodge Ricardo Pereira from the starting 11, but he appears to be one for the future.
From the outside, it is slightly puzzling that the club didn’t source a replacement for Maguire during the summer. Lewis Dunk and James Tarkowski were both mooted as replacements. These moves may not have been possible due to the length of time it took for the Maguire deal to go over the line. However, it's commonplace for clubs to wait for the ‘right player to come along’, rather than settle for second best. These avenues may be opened up again in January, but a Maguire 'replacement' is more likely to happen in the summer.
A divergent view: perhaps the replacement has been found already in former SC Freiburg defender Çaglar Söyüncü. The Turkish centre half looks to have been given the opportunity after a year of bedding-in which saw him only play 371 minutes in the Premier League last season.
Which brings us on to…
How Have Leicester City Started the Season?
They’ve picked up 2 points out of a maximum 6 with draws against Wolverhampton Wanderers and Chelsea. They could have won both of those games if they were a little more clinical in front of goal, despite Wolves having a goal disallowed for handball (whatever that means these days).
After weathering a hectic looking storm in the opening 20 minutes (when a mistake from Wilfred Ndidi led to Mason Mount’s opener) the Foxes were the better side against Chelsea. Particularly in the second half. The draw featured an impressive performance from James Maddison, who got the assist for Ndidi’s equaliser.
Jamie Vardy is yet to register a shot on target so far. The former Sheffield Wednesday youth team player would enjoy opening his account for the season against his boyhood club’s biggest rivals, especially considering the Blades crowd are likely to boo every touch he takes. (It wouldn’t surprise me if he scored against us on Saturday.)
As mentioned earlier, Söyüncü has impressed so far and doesn’t look to have been fazed by the prospect of replacing Maguire. He looks comfortable on the ball and makes up ground well.
Brendan Rodgers’ side have been touted as one of the sides to break into the top six alongside Wolves and Everton, they’ll have eyes on their first win of the season against the Blades this weekend.
"We have a doubt about John Fleck but Callum has trained all week, we'll give John that time to recover.” - On the fitness of John Fleck and Callum Robinson
"He's a top, top manager. I met him for the first time at a PL get-together over the summer. He came over...and was very complimentary about what we have done." - On Brendan Rodgers
“They remind me a bit of Swansea, they are mostly guys that have played at a lower level. They have quality, spirit, togetherness, at home, it’s going to be important for them. I expect a tough game and we’ll be ready for that.” - On Sheffield United
Opposition Line Up
In Rodgers’ press conference yesterday, he confirmed that Ben Chilwell is still injured and will miss out on the trip to Bramall Lane. Christian Fuchs will deputise for him.
Leicester City line up in a 4-3-3 or a 4-2-3-1, they like to keep possession (they had 70% of it against Wolves on the opening weekend) but they do have players who are dangerous on the counter. It is possible that they could move Maddison inside into a number 10 position, with a wide player coming in for one of their central midfielders, but I think that they’ll stick with the team that drew at Chelsea.
This will be a tough challenge for Sheffield United and the pessimist in me is saying 2-1 to Leicester City.
Jamie Vardy to score at anytime at 13/10 (Bet365); Over 2.5 goals at 13/10 (Bet365)
With John Fleck a doubt for the fixture I think that Wilder will play Freeman instead, John Lundstram after his impressive performances and willingness to stop counter attacks has to start.