Burnley will be aiming to climb out of the relegation zone when they host an out of sorts Leicester City at Turf Moor on Tuesday evening.
Burnley seemed to be in big trouble at one point during the season after a sluggish first half of the season. However, Sean Dyche’s men have dug their heels once more to string together a run of results and may just be about to pull themselves above the dreaded dotted line to retain their top-flight status for at least another season.
Burnley kept up the pressure on those above them in the table after securing a 1-1 draw against Crystal Palace last Saturday. The result meant the Clarets have picked up seven points in their last three games and are now 18th in the Premier League standings with 21 points after 24 games.
They are only one point away from safety, with two and three games in hand over Leeds United and Brentford, respectively. And a victory here would not only take them above the drop zone but will surge them as high as 15th in the table.
Leicester, on the other hand, continue to falter away in the Premier League and have failed to reach anywhere near the heights of the previous two campaigns. Still searching for their first league win of 2022, the Foxes have collected 27 points after 23 games and are languishing at 13th in the table right now, closer to the relegation zone than continental spots.
Into the #UECL last 16! ✊
— Leicester City (@LCFC) February 24, 2022
However, the Foxes registered a morale-boosting 7-2 thumping of Danish outfit Randers over two legs to qualify for the Europa Conference League last 16, where they will face French side Stade Rennais. The reverse fixture between the two teams played back in September last year ended in a pulsating 2-2 draw. Ahead of their latest meeting, the Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter.
Team News & Tactics
— Burnley FC (@BurnleyOfficial) February 28, 2022
Burnley forward Matej Vydra is back in full training following his hernia surgery. Still, the Leicester game may come too soon for the Czech attacker, while Johann Berg Gudmundsson remains sidelined for the foreseeable future.
Aside from that, Clarets boss Sean Dyche has no fresh injury concerns and could look for rotation depending on the squad’s fitness levels due to quick turnover between games. Nick Pope is a certainty in between the sticks, with Burnley lining up in a customary 4-4-2 formation in front of him.
Dyche could opt for his formidable central defensive partnership of Ben Mee and James Tarkowski, which has looked to be back to its telepathic best in recent games as they hope to shut out a very capable Leicester attack.
Charlie Taylor marked his return from injury after nearly two months out in Burnley’s 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace and could get a start at left-back after Erik Pieters was forced off injured on the hour mark on Saturday.
Ashley Westwood may also be in line for a return to starting lineup on Tuesday after recovering from COVID and making a half-hour cameo at Selhurst Park last time out; Josh Brownhill will join the 31-year-old in the middle of the park as they look to keep Leicester’s dynamic midfielders quiet.
Dwight McNeil would be a creative threat from the left-wing with his exceptional ability to put dangerous balls into the box to feed the forwards, while Aaron Lennon would attempt to retain his mini-goalscoring touch down the opposite flank.
Maxwel Cornet was fit-enough to make the bench against Palace but remained an unused substitute, so he is a strong contender to replace Jay Rodriguez to form a lethal attacking front-duo alongside a very mobile physical frame of Wout Weghorst.
Probable lineup (4-4-2): Pope; Roberts, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor; Lennon, Westwood, Brownhill, McNeil; Cornet, Weghorst
— Leicester City (@LCFC) February 28, 2022
In a big boost for Leicester, Brendan Rodgers has confirmed that full-back James Justin and talismanic striker Jamie Vardy will be in the matchday squad for the trip to Turf Moor, although the latter will almost certainly not start here after being out for a few months.
Timothy Castagne, Ryan Bertrand and Jonny Evans remain sidelined for the long term, while Wesley Fofana is close to returning after being back in full training. Rodgers is likely to opt for a 4-2-3-1 formation with minor personnel tweaks from the last game. Kasper Schmeichel retains the No 1 status at Leicester despite his inconsistencies in goal.
Caglar Soyuncu could return to replace Jannik Vestergaard and is expected to form the central defensive pairing alongside Daniel Amartey, with Ricardo Pereira and Luke Thomas set to take up full-back roles in the backline.
Wilfred Ndidi and Youri Tielemans will form the central midfield pivot. The Nigerian enforcer will be tasked to break up the opposition’s play and shield the backline effectively, while the latter would thrust the Foxes’ attacks and provide the necessary defensive cover.
James Maddison remains the chief creative outlet for the visitors in the attacking midfield role as he looks to churn out some goal-scoring chances for the front men. Meanwhile, Ademola Lookman and Harvey Barnes will offer width to the attack down their respective flanks. Finally, Zambian speedster Patson Daka will lead the line for the Foxes down the middle.
Probable lineup (4-2-3-1): Schmeichel; Pereira, Amartey, Soyuncu, Thomas; Tielemans, Ndidi; Lookman, Maddison, Barnes; Daka
- Burnley have only won three of their 13 Premier League encounters with Leicester City (D4 L6), although all three wins have come at Turf Moor.
- However, the Foxes have managed a mere tally of four points from their last five Premier League away games against Burnley (W1 D1 L3).
- The Clarets have only lost once at home in the Premier League since early October, but five of those eight matches ended in a share of spoils (W2).
- Leicester have won just two of their 11 Premier League games on the road, with their last four away league games all ending in defeat.
- The visitors have also shipped at least two goals in their last five away league matches.
Player to Watch
Despite Leicester’s struggles, Maddison has been a bright spot this season and continues to drag this underperforming Leicester side. He again lit up an otherwise disappointing performance with a superb brace in the 3-1 victory over Randers in the Europa Conference League.
In the form of his life, the Englishman has scored 11 goals and provided 7 assists in 35 appearances across all competitions, accounting for roughly a goal involvement every two games. With the Foxes looking to salvage something out of this uninspiring season, Maddison has to play a key role in the coming weeks and would be eager to make an impact against Burnley.
Burnley 1-1 Leicester City
Despite being embroiled in a relegation scrap, Burnley have been incredibly disciplined and resilient on their home soil, and only Manchester City and Liverpool boast a better defensive record at home in the Premier League than the Clarets this term, while the home side have also surrendered just three goals in their last five top-flight outings.
Leicester, meanwhile, continue to miss key players through injuries and have been underwhelming so far, especially on their travels. Still, they are expected to be the fresher of the two teams and look much stronger on paper. So, the Hard Tackle predicts a scruffy 1-1 affair at Turf Moor, with Rodgers’ side escaping their fifth consecutive Premier League away defeat.