Leeds United are currently in 16th place, leading what may be a five horses race in the fight for Premier League (PL) survival since the bottom five clubs are only separated by the same number of points. Their most recent 2-1 loss to Fulham makes it three straight losses for Javi Gracia’s team, so they haven’t helped their own cause lately.
Normally, a trip back to Elland Road would do the Whites the world of good, but recently, after suffering crushing 5-1 and 6-1 losses at home to Crystal Palace and Liverpool, respectively, they have waved the white flag. When a desperate Leicester City visits them then, tensions might be heightened, especially because Leeds have only won one of the previous nine head to head matches (D3, L5) and have only managed one clean sheet during that time.
As the only team in Europe’s top five leagues without a top-flight clean sheet since the World Cup, Leicester isn’t exactly known for keeping clean sheets. Even though it has been 17 Premier League games since their previous shutout, they managed to snap a ten-match competitive winless streak (D1, L9) by defeating Wolves 2-1 at the weekend, lifting them out of the danger zone and into the highly sought-after 17th spot.
This will allow them to overtake their opponents and give them their second league double over Leeds this century after defeating them 2-0 in the reverse match in October. The Foxes have only drawn one away game this season, which is a league low, so they have either been the hunter or the hunted on the road.
Luis Sinisterra has eight of his previous 11 club goals at home, so Leeds will be looking for a performance at Elland Road. Harvey Barnes, who has scored in each of his previous six matches against Leeds, will be looked to by Leicester supporters to put on another show of his own against them.
For Tuesday’s crucial match, Gracia will still be without long term thigh casualties Tyler Adams and Stuart Dallas, as well as Maximilian Wober and Liam Cooper, whose status is also unknown. The Leeds infirmary has been significantly depleted over the previous few weeks.
Wilfried Gnonto was benched by the Whites manager once more against Fulham, and with a 72 hours turnaround to consider, the Italian pupil will undoubtedly be given consideration for a recall alongside Luis Sinisterra.
Patrick Bamford also contributed significantly to getting the ball over the goal line at Craven Cottage and should return to the action, as Gracia is certain to make a number of changes after another poor outcome.
James Maddison’s illness prevented him from playing for Leicester before their victory over Wolves, but Smith is optimistic that he will recover in time to participate on Tuesday, which will be welcome news to the team’s supporters.
Harvey Barnes, who has scored in each of his last five games against Leeds, may be able to return from a hamstring injury. Additionally, Vardy’s ankle injury, which he sustained from Sa’s challenge in Saturday’s victory, is not causing Smith too much concern.
Jonny Evans (sickness), Ricardo Pereira (thigh), James Justin (calf), Jannik Vestergaard (calf), and Ryan Bertrand (fitness) are still out for the visitors, although Caglar Soyuncu’s recent comeback has somewhat eased Leicester’s defensive injury crisis.
Leeds United possible starting lineup
Meslier, Ayling, Koch, Wober, Firpo, McKennie, Roca, Sinisterra, Harrison, Gnonto and Bamford.
Leicester City possible starting lineup
Iversen, Castagne, Faes, Soyuncu, Kristiansen, Tielemans, Soumare, Tete, Maddison, Barnes and Iheanacho.
Leeds United 3-2 Leicester City according to us
Fans and neutrals alike should buckle up for an action packed duel at Elland Road where attacking returns on both ends might prove crucial. With so much on the line between two clubs who excel in the final third and leave a lot to be desired at the back, fans and neutrals alike should.
Uncertainty surrounds whether Leicester’s victory over Wolves represents a turning point, but Smith’s team will travel with a newfound energy and can take advantage of the visitors’ persistent defensive weaknesses to win a thrilling game and significantly increase their chances of avoiding relegation while putting Gracia’s team in grave danger.