Preview: Leeds United vs. Leicester City

Preview: Leeds United vs. Leicester City

The Elland Road faithful witnesses a crucial Premier League basement battle on Tuesday evening, as 16th-placed Leeds United tackle 17th-placed Leicester City.

The Whites’ plight continued with a 2-1 defeat to Fulham at the weekend, while Dean Smith clinched his first win as Foxes manager against Wolverhampton Wanderers by the same scoreline.

Supposedly on the radar of Manchester United and Chelsea as the Big Six rivals search for a new number one, Leeds goalkeeper Illan Meslier is doing his prospects of a big-money move no favours whatsoever, and he failed to cover himself in glory once more at Craven Cottage.

There was nothing to write home about for either side in the first 45 minutes, but Harry Wilson’s thunderous effort and Andreas Pereira’s close-range second propelled Fulham into the ascendancy before a late Joao Palhinha own goal gave the visitors a glimmer of hope.

However, there was ultimately no way back for Javi Gracia’s side, who have now been subjected to three successive Premier League defeats, and the Whites boss admitted that he was “worried about everything” as his side dance with the devil in 16th spot.

Before Bournemouth’s bout with West Ham United kicks off later on Sunday, Leeds hold the unfortunate label of being the Premier League’s worst defensive outfit – conceding 62 goals throughout the campaign, three more than the Cherries – and Gracia’s side have now shipped at least two goals in six of their last seven contests.

The hosts’ last two games at Elland Road have seen 11 goals fly past them in heavy losses to Crystal Palace and Liverpool, but Leeds can take encouragement from a seven-game scoring streak in the Premier League ahead of their most winnable home fixture in the final few weeks, as Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur prepare to pay their visits next month.

Having given Manchester City quite the scare in their final 10 minutes at the Etihad last weekend, Leicester headed into their showdown with Wolverhampton Wanderers with a renewed sense of cautious optimism, and the relieved King Power faithful witnessed a first triumph in 10 games for their side on Saturday.

Matheus Cunha may have drawn first blood for the visitors, but Kelechi Iheanacho restored parity from the spot after Jamie Vardy was felled by Jose Sa, and in the 75th minute, right-back Timothy Castagne charged into the area to coolly find the bottom corner and end the Foxes’ abysmal winless streak.

While lamenting individual mistakes which continue to contribute to his side’s defensive downfall, Smith insisted that Leicester’s “spirit” – which had been called into question – was there for all to see, as they left Everton and Nottingham Forest in their wake to rise to 17th place in the table.

Cunha’s opener made it 13 games without a clean sheet in all tournaments for Leicester, though, and next on the agenda for Smith is reversing a worrying trend of away form which has seen the Foxes collect just one point from the last 15 on offer on rival territory.

A spate of positive performances against Leeds makes for positive reading, though, as Leicester have only lost one of their last nine contests with the Whites in all tournaments and have prevailed in each of their last two without conceding a goal, but clean sheets should not be on the menu in midweek.

Leeds United Premier League form:

Leicester City Premier League form:

We say: Leeds United 2-3 Leicester City
With so much at stake between two sides who thrive in the final third and leave a lot to be desired at the back, fans and neutrals alike should strap in for an action-packed showdown at Elland Road, where attacking returns on both ends could prove telling.

Whether Leicester’s win over Wolves proves to be a turning point remains to be seen, but Smith’s side will make the journey with a fresh spring in their step and can capitalise on the hosts’ continued defensive shortcomings to edge a thrilling contest – significantly boosting their survival hopes while leaving Gracia’s men mired in demotion danger.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *