King Power Stadium – 08/09/2015 – K/O 3pm
Form – Leicester LWWDW, Sunderland WWDDL – Competitive games only.
Last Meeting – Sunderland 0 – 0 Leicester City.
Away we go again then…
Finally a reason to put in holidays to get the weekend off work, no mind numbing boredom on a Saturday afternoon and the love of my life ready to tear my heart out once again.
New season, new optimism, Dick back at the helm and some areas addressed in the squad that badly needed addressing. Our summer business though perhaps more low key than most is a welcome change from a scatter gun approach we’ve seen in recent years (De Fanti anyone?). We’ve seen pace arrive in the form of Jeremain Lens, much needed re-enforcement at centre half with Sebastien Coates back after a strong end to last season and Younes Kaboul, Adam Matthews to provide competition at full back and just now Yann M’Vila to give another option in the middle.
As for Leicester City, they’ve lost both their manager and talisman from the back end of last season in Nigel Pearson and Esteban Cambiasso. The fans I’ve spoken to seem to think both will be a big miss. Of their replacements Claudio Ranieri has come in and will need time to be judged and N’Golo Kante will attempt to fill the void left by the Argentine. Leicester have also strengthened their defence with the signings of Christian Fuchs and Yohan Benaloune, Robert Huth has also joined permanently and added Shinji Okazaki to their attack. Huth aside I don’t know a lot about the others. The opposition are somewhat optimistic though of both their chances this season (anywhere between 10th and 16th) and against us (not one fan even giving us a draw).
Going off the way they finished last season Leicester are likely to go 3-5-2 with Albrighton and Schlupp providing the width, Mahrez the creativity behind a front two that could be any two from four. From their opinions, Mahrez is the danger. I’m inclined to agree. Was very impressed with him last season. Vardy and Schlupp I can see being dangerous as well given our problems against pace in the past. However this is Ranieri, ‘tinkerman’, they could line up with anything but lets hope they’ve lost that cavalier attitude that saw them safe last season.
As we all know in our case, Dick is a 4-3-3 man. I’d expect debut’s from Lens and Coates at the least, potentially Kaboul (fitness permitting) and Matthews (fitness of Jones permitting). The big question is does Defoe play centrally and we go with Johnson or does he play wide to accommodate a more of a ‘focal point’ if you will in Fletcher or Graham? I’d say the latter is more likely given pre-season. Both full backs providing the width. Looking at Leicester’s likely back 3 it looks as though they could have similar problems to ourselves against pace particularly without Cambiasso providing a shield. Looking to get Lens, Defoe and even Van Aanholt in behind could be a good idea.
I think it’ll be scrappy but we’ll be more organised as they adjust to new manager’s ideas although they will be dangerous on the counter. If we can keep an eye on Mahrez and control the middle of the park then we could start the season with 3 points.
I reckon we’ll nick it 0-1
Ha’way the lads!