Leicester City will be desperate to snap a recent poor run when they host relegated Norwich City at the King Power Stadium in a midweek Premier League fixture.
As the Premier League season enters the closing phase, Wednesday’s midweek encounter at the King Power Stadium pits Leicester City against already-relegated Norwich City in a dead rubber game, with little at stake for either team.
Leicester are currently in a slump, having gone winless in their last five top-flight games, and their season is in great danger of fizzling out following the unfavourable events of last week. First, they got crashed out of the Europa Conference League at the semi-final stage to AS Roma before handing relegation-threatened Everton a lifeline just days later.
However, with back-to-back games against two relegated sides coming up, Brendan Rodgers’ side have a great opportunity to finish on a positive note in what has been a somewhat forgetful campaign.
With four games remaining, Leicester City are currently sitting 14th in the table, and while they still have an outside chance of finishing in the top ten, this is a significant underperformance considering the quality of their squad. That said, injuries to key players for most of the campaign have made their task much more difficult.
As for Norwich, they are only playing for pride at the moment after being demoted from the Premier League. However, they are showing no sign of pulling off an end-of-the-season upset, as demonstrated by their dismal performance at the weekend when they were thrashed 4-0 at home by West Ham United.
Leicester and Norwich played out a tightly-contested game in the reverse fixture at Carrow Road in August, with the Foxes coming out on top with a 2-1 scoreline, thanks to a 76th-minute winner from Marc Albrighton. Ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter.
Team News & Tactics
— Leicester City (@LCFC) May 10, 2022
Leicester City’s season has been bogged down by numerous injury problems to key players, and this midweek is no exception, as they remain without the services of Wilfred Ndidi (knee), Ryan Bertrand (knee), and Ricardo Pereira (hamstring) for the visit of Norwich City.
James Justin (dislocated shoulder) and James Maddison are doubts, but Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers is hopeful that the latter will recover in time to be available for selection. Rodgers opted for a three-man defence and a two-striker system in the Everton defeat but is likely to set up the Foxes in his preferred 4-2-3-1 formation here.
Kasper Schmeichel is expected to take his place in goal, with a central defensive duo of Wesley Fofana and Jonny Evans shielding him. The shift in formation would mean Timothy Castagne will have to switch back to the right-back slot, whereas young Luke Thomas will make a return to the playing XI on the left.
Youri Tielemans and Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall should start in the middle of the park, forming a double pivot, while Maddison ought to be lining up as the No. 10, although he will have the freedom to drift across inside the final third and wreak havoc.
The trio of Ademola Lookman, Jamie Vardy and Harvey Barnes should return to the attack after the strike-duo of Patson Daka and Kelechi Ịheanachọ failed to provide the cutting edge up top at the weekend.
Barnes will be looking to make those darting runs from the left-wing, whereas Ademola Lookman will be the other wide man, starting on the right flank, and will drift inside, thereby allowing Castagne to bomb forward and create opportunities from overlaps.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Schmeichel; Castagne, Fofana, Evans, Thomas; Tielemans, Dewsbury-Hall; Lookman, Maddison, Barnes; Vardy
Like his counterpart in the Leicester City dugout, Norwich boss Dean Smith has plenty of injury concerns with Mathias Normann (thigh) and Christoph Zimmermann (groin) ruled out for the trip to the East Midlands.
Meanwhile, the Canaries’ treatment room remains jam-packed with Josh Sargent (ankle), Kenny McLean (toe), Andrew Omobamidele (back), and Adam Idah (knee) all sidelined for the remainder of the season with respective long-term injury problems.
Smith has utilised a 4-2-3-1 formation in the last two games, but their toothless attacking performance last time out means the former Villa boss may revert to his preferred 4-3-3 system, while a couple of personnel changes are also expected.
? DS: “Normann is still out with his thigh injury, and Zimbo with his groin injury.
— Norwich City FC (@NorwichCityFC) May 10, 2022
Ben Gibson could return to the equation at the back to form a central defensive partnership alongside Grant Hanley as they look to protect veteran goalkeeper Tim Krul, who will again be lining up between the sticks. Should Manchester United loanee Brandon Williams be penalised for his controversial Instagram post, Dimitrios Giannoulis may be called upon to start at left-back, whereas Max Aarons is a sure starter on the right.
Jacob Lungi Sorensen will be tasked with shielding the back-four in the holding role, as well as preventing Leicester playmaker Youri Tielemans from dictating the play with his passing. The Dane will have support from Chelsea loanee Billy Gilmour, while the third slot in the middle of the park is likely to be taken up by Lukas Rupp.
Goals have come few and far between for the Canaries in recent games, but Teemu Pukki remains their biggest attacking threat, with ten Premier League goals this term. Kieran Dowell will again line up on the right flank while Milot Rashica will be lining up on the left, from where the duo will look to churn opportunities for the Finnish striker.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Krul; Aarons, Gibson, Hanley, Giannoulis; Gilmour, Sorensen, Rupp; Dowell, Pukki, Rashica
- Leicester have failed to win any of their last seven matches in all competitions (D3, L4).
- Norwich have lost ten of their last 12 Premier League matches (1W, 1D).
- Norwich City have managed only one win in their past six meetings against Leicester City (1D, 4L). In fact, they are yet to win a Premier League match at the King Power Stadium, with their last victory at the venue coming in the 2011/12 Championship season.
- Norwich have picked up just two wins on the road this season, while Leicester have only lost two of their last 11 home league games, winning six.
- The Canaries can be regarded as the worst team in the division in both attacking and defensive metrics, scoring just 22 goals while shipping in a whopping 75 from 35 games so far.
Player to Watch
Despite being out for the best part of four months due to knee and groin issues this season, former England striker Jamie Vardy remains Leicester City’s Premier League leading scorer with ten goals. The speedster made a cameo appearance off the bench against Everton last time out and might start here to restore his optimum fitness levels ahead of the 2022/23 pre-season.
It would not be surprising to see him return to scoring ways with his lightning speed and runs in behind against a Norwich backline that has leaked 12 goals in their last four games.
Leicester City 2-0 Norwich City
While it is apparent that the Foxes are also limping towards the end of the campaign, they are justified favourites here up against a team that seem to have thrown in the towel in recent games. Norwich are there for the taking at the moment, having conceded at least two goals in ten of their last 12 Premier League games, while failing to score in their last three.
With the attacking talents of James Maddison and Jamie Vardy expected to be back in the fold for this match-up, The Hard Tackle predicts the hosts to capitalise on the away side’s frailties to register a convincing 2-0 home win this midweek.