Leicester’s start to life under Claude Puel has been exceptional on the whole, but they came back to earth with a bump last weekend. Roy Hodgson’s resurgent Crystal Palace came away from the King Power with a stunning 3-0 win, and the Foxes are sure to want to make amends for that result as they head into tonight’s EFL Cup quarter final.
The challenge facing them could scarcely be much tougher, however, with Manchester City their opponents. Pep Guardiola’s men have swept away all domestic opposition with consummate ease so far this season, and will fully expect to do so again here.
If Leicester are to stand any chance of progressing in the competition, it’s vital the Puel gets his team selection right. This is the XI we expect him to go with:
|PLAYER||% MINS PLD||GLS||AST.|
|0||0||2 / 0|
|0||0||1 / 0|
|0||0||2 / 0|
|1||4||2 / 0|
|0||0||0 / 0|
|1||2||1 / 0|
|1||1||0 / 0|
|6||4||0 / 0|
|4||1||2 / 0|
|1||3||2 / 0|
|7||1||1 / 0|
|Totals||21||16||13 / 0|
|TOTAL PREMIER LEAGUE EXPERIENCE|
Kasper Schmeichel, Wes Morgan and Danny Simpson were pillars of Leicester’s title winning side, and remain absolutely key. Tonight’s match will be the 72nd time they have started together for the Foxes, and hopes will be that their understanding can help to halt City’s rampant attackers.
Vicente Iborra and Andy King are a far less experienced partnership, having only started once together previously. That match ended in victory, however, with Leeds United dispatched 3-1 in this very competition, and a repeat of that outcome tonight would do very nicely indeed.
Demarai Gray has been one of Leicester’s standout performers since Puel arrived at the club, with Riyad Mahrez also finding his groove once more. Alongside Jamie Vardy they will provide enough thrust to worry any side, not to mention one suffering as many injuries at the back as City are currently are.
Overall, this is a Leicester side that is strong enough to challenge anyone on their day, as they proved when Pep’s men came to visit in the Premier League last season. While all will expect a City win here, the home side cannot be written off and with odds of 50/1 available to new Betfair customers on them triumphing, they might just be worth a cheeky punt too.
It must be said that KickOff’s all-new Acca Smacker fails to share such optimistm, with our unique predictive algorithm giving Manchester City a 68% chance of claiming victory.
Leicester’s victory being placed at just 14% likelihood does seem rather harsh, but when switching over to the ‘Form Streaks’ tab, the reasons for this are abundantly clear. Quite simply, there is no side in Europe on a better run of form than City right now.
Flick over to the ‘Pro Stats’ tab, and unfortunately for Leicester it’s more of the same. Using 18 key data points, 9 attacking and 9 defensive, from the past 10 games for each side, KickOff compares the two sides and finds that City come out on top in 16 of them.
There can be no doubt that City are the form team in this one, but if there’s one place fit for a cup upset, it’s a cold Tuesday night in Leicester.