Leeds United will hope for a positive start to a new era under Jesse Marsch when they travel to the King Power Stadium to face Leicester City on Saturday afternoon.

Leicester have fallen way short of being a top-four contender this season, with 30 points after 24 games placing them in 12th place in the standings. But the Foxes are only three points adrift of 10th-placed Brighton & Hove Albion and have two games in hand over the Seagulls. So Brendan Rodgers’ side still have plenty to play for, with a top-half finish still in sight. They are also one of the favourites to go all the way in the Europa Conference League.

The Foxes will enter this weekend’s contest on the back of a morale-boosting 2-0 victory over Burnley on Tuesday night. James Maddison and Jamie Vardy were on the scoresheet to register Leicester’s first league win of 2022 and snap their five-game winless run in the top-flight. Rodgers will certainly hope that his side keep the momentum going when they lock horns with an out-of-sorts Leeds United at home.

Meanwhile, a new era is set to kick off for Leeds United on Saturday, when newly-appointed head coach Jesse Marsch takes command of his first encounter. The Whites supporters will hope that the American coach can get the ball rolling straight away after a disappointing end to Marcelo Bielsa’s reign, leaving the team just two points above the relegation zone.

The visitors come into this encounter on the back of four straight league losses, shipping a whopping 17 goals along the way. They have not fared well on their travels this season and have one of the worst away records in the division, collecting just ten points from 13 matches.

The former RB Leipzig coach will be mindful of the magnitude of the challenge ahead of him at Elland Road. However, they still have enough games to turn the corner, especially with very winnable home games against Aston Villa and Norwich City following this weekend’s trip to Leicester.

Leeds United will certainly be optimistic about getting something out of their trip to the King Power, given they held the Foxes to a 1-1 draw in the reverse fixture in November last year.

Team News & Tactics

Leicester City

Leicester will remain without the services of Timothy Castagne, Jonny Evans, James Justin, Wesley Fofana and Ryan Bertrand for this weekend’s clash. Ricardo Pereira faces a late fitness test after being forced off with a hamstring issue against Burnley in the previous game.

In a big boost for the Foxes, Brendan Rodgers can now call upon the services of star striker Jamie Vardy from the start here after the speedster provided the assist for Maddison’s opening goal and then got on the scoresheet himself in the dying embers against the Clarets in midweek.

Kasper Schmeichel is a certain starter in goal, with the Foxes lining up in their customary 4-2-3-1 formation in front of the Danish shot-stopper. Rodgers can persist with the central defensive pairing of Caglar Soyuncu and Daniel Amartey that kept a clean sheet last time out, flanked by the full-back duo of Marc Albrighton and Luke Thomas.

Wilfred Ndidi could continue to partner Youri Tielemans in the midfield double-pivot, with the latter looking to support Leicester’s attacks. The width in attack will come from the enterprising wing duo of Ademola Lookman and Harvey Barnes, while Maddison will have the responsibility of providing the creative spark in the attacking third from the No. 10 role. He will slot in just behind the lightning-quick Vardy.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Schmeichel; Albrighton, Amartey, Soyuncu, Thomas; Tielemans, Ndidi; Lookman, Maddison, Barnes; Vardy


Leeds United

During his pre-match news conference, Marsch confirmed that Patrick Bamford is back in training and will make the trip with the squad to the King Power Stadium. Liam Cooper, Kalvin Phillips, and Leo Hjelde are still out, while Diego Llorente is a fresh doubt after missing training on Thursday.

One major criticism levelled at Marcelo Bielsa was that he was too stubborn to change his defensive strategy, and his preference for man-marking cost the Whites dearly in recent games. Certainly, Marsch will do away with that approach and would look to make them more pragmatic and tough to break down.

The American has generally preferred the classic Red Bull 4-2-2-2 shape, but could deploy a 3-4-3 system here to bring more defensive cover, while also utilizing the quality they have at their disposal on the flanks. Illan Meslier will start in goal for the Whites, with Luke Ayling, Robin Koch and Pascal Struijk forming a three-man central defensive unit this weekend as they try to shore things up at the back.

Junior Firpo is one player who can really flourish in this setup. The former Barcelona ace has struggled to cope with the rigours of English football since arriving at Elland Road, although he was at his best for Real Betis while playing as a left wing-back in a 3-4-3 formation. An ever-present Stuart Dallas will join him on the opposite flank.

Mateusz Klich and Adam Forshaw will occupy the two midfield slots for the Whites, with Jamie Shackleton an option from the bench. Raphinha and Jack Harrison will provide the threat from the wide areas and look to create goalscoring opportunities in tandem with Daniel James, who will play in a central position up front.

Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Meslier; Ayling, Koch, Struijk; Dallas, Klich, Forshaw, Firpo; Raphinha, James, Harrison


Key Stats

  • Leeds United are unbeaten in their last five league games on the road against Leicester (W3 D2).
  • Leeds ran out 3-1 winners in the corresponding fixture last season but have not won successive away games against the Foxes since September 1982.
  • Leeds United are on a six-game winless streak in Premier League (D1 L5) since a spirited 3-2 win over West Ham United back in January.
  • The Whites have been unable to close the floodgates at the back recently and have conceded at least three or more goals in each of their last five top-flight matches.
  • The Foxes have won all but one of their last nine home games in all competitions, with the sole exception being a 3-2 defeat to Tottenham.

Player to Watch

Harvey Barnes

Embed from Getty Images

Barnes, like several of his teammates, has struggled to regain the consistency of prior seasons even though he has seven goals and seven assists from 29 games in all competitions. The winger assisted Vardy’s goal with a teasing cross at Turf Moor in midweek and put up a lively performance.

The 24-year-old also netted in both Europa Conference League games against Danish outfit Randers. He may be regaining the top form that put him on the verge of an England call-up and saw him linked to Manchester City last year. With Vardy back to provide a focal point in attack, he will again be looking to make vital contributions to his side’s benefit here.


Leicester City 2-1 Leeds United

Given that both sides are defensively shaky this season and based on the past results between the two sides, one can expect an entertaining contest, particularly if the Whites experience the new manager bounce.

However, Leeds may need some time to adjust to Marsch’s style of play, which may play into Leicester’s hands, especially now that Jamie Vardy is back in business. The Hard Tackle predicts the Foxes to secure all three points in front of their home support against a much-improved Leeds United side.

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