Brentford will look to continue their unexpected push for a European place when they play host to Leicester City in the Premier League on Saturday.
High-flying Brentford will aim to pile more pressure on relegation-threatened Leicester City when the two sides lock horns at Gtech Community Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Leicester are in the midst of a losing streak, and another poor result this weekend could see the visitors slip back into the relegation zone, while a victory for the Bees could propel them into the top six.
After having their incredible 12-game unbeaten league streak brought to an abrupt end at Everton last weekend, the Bees returned to winning ways with a 2-0 win at Southampton in midweek, with Ivan Toney and Yoane Wissa grabbing the goals.
That result meant Thomas Frank’s team has now taken a big leap up to eighth in the table, where they sit just a point behind 6th-placed Liverpool and 7th-placed Brighton. Now, back on home soil this weekend, Brentford will look to continue their rise up the table by claiming all three points against a hapless Leicester side that has flattered to deceive at many junctures this season.
The Foxes head to Brentford on Saturday seeking to end a run of five straight defeats in all competitions. But they may struggle to outwit their in-form hosts. They sit in the 16th spot, and only a superior goal difference is keeping them out of the bottom three.
Leicester’s losing run continued when they welcomed Chelsea to the King Power Stadium last weekend. The Foxes lost the game 3-1 and had defender Wout Faes sent off late in the game to add insult to injury, with Daka grabbing a consolation goal for the hosts.
Not only are they struggling to keep the ball out of their net, but they are also looking out-of-sorts in attack and have scored just twice during their five-game losing streak, firing blanks in each of their last two away from home. Ahead of the game between the two sides at the Gtech Community Stadium this Saturday, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter.
Team News & Tactics
Back in TW8 tomorrow 👊#BrentfordFC | #BRELEI pic.twitter.com/ZEourYP16L
— Brentford FC (@BrentfordFC) March 17, 2023
It is a pretty straightforward team news for Brentford and boss Thomas Frank ahead of hosting Leicester City, with little cause for concern over the health of the squad. Thomas Strakosha is still out with an ankle injury, although it is unlikely that he will be chosen ahead of David Raya at this point.
The same goes for Keane Lewis-Potter, who will be out for a few weeks due to a knee injury. But he, too, would not be deemed a nailed-on starter.
Mads Roerslev has not been included in the last two matchday squads. So he will need to be assessed late before this game, with former Bologna defender Aaron Hickey fit to slot into the right-back slot.
Thomas Frank has switched from his back-three variant systems to a back-four formation. But the principles remain the same, and they are extremely potent on turnovers. David Raya will take his regular place between the sticks.
The four-man backline in front of Raya would consist of Hickey, Ethan Pinnock, Ben Mee, and Rico Henry. Christian Norgaard will be tasked with providing defensive assistance from the base of midfield, with Mathias Jensen and Frank Onyeka providing a forward surge from the centre of the park.
While Ivan Toney takes all the plaudits, and rightly so, it is all the tenacity and hard yards that the likes of Bryan Mbeumo and Yoane Wissa put in week in and week out that have greatly contributed to Brentford’s impressive recent form.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Raya; Hickey, Pinnock, Mee, Henry; Jensen, Norgaard, Onyeka; Mbeumo, Toney, Wissa
Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers will have to make do without the services of a host of key players. James Justin, Victor Kristiansen, and Youri Tielemans all remain sidelined with injuries. Ryan Bertrand is still some way from match fitness as he continues his recovery from a knee injury, while Jannik Vestergaard has done some individual training and is likely not to feature here.
The Foxes are sweating over the fitness of playmaker James Maddison, who has a minor knock, but looks likely to shake it off. But Wout Faes is suspended after his sending-off against Chelsea.
"We collectively have to go and play well as a team to get the result." – Brendan Rodgers on #BRELEI 🗣️
— Leicester City (@LCFC) March 16, 2023
Rodgers is likely to field a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Danny Ward a certainty between the sticks. Harry Souttar will likely line up alongside Jonny Evans in the central defensive partnership. Timothy Castagne and Ricardo Pereira should be the two marauding full-backs.
Kieran Dewsbury-Hall and Nampalys Mendy will line up in the double pivot in the middle of the park. They will need to play out of their skins to keep Brentford’s dynamic midfielders quiet on Saturday.
James Maddison, if fit, holds the key for Leicester in the final third as he continues to pull the strings from the No. 10 position. Tete and Harvey Barnes will look to put their afterburners to good use as they aim to generate some opportunistic moments down the flanks.
And finally, Kelechi Iheanacho should spearhead the attack against Brentford. Patson Daka, who scored a brilliant long-range strike into the top bins last weekend, and veteran speedster Jamie Vardy will be the bench options up top.
Leicester City (4-2-3-1): Ward; Pereira, Souttar, Evans, Castagne; Dewsbury-Hall, Mendy; Tete, Maddison, Barnes; Iheanacho
- Leicester City have lost each of their last five matches in all competitions.
- Leicester City have won their last three away matches against Brentford in all competitions.
- Only five teams have picked up more points on home turf this season than the Bees (26).
- Leicester City have leaked 46 goals across their 26 Premier League outings this season so far, the third-worst record in the division.
- Almost 50% of Leicester City’s points tally have come away from home (12), though they have only won one of their last five on the road in the Premier League.
Player to Watch
Ivan Toney has been in superb form in the Premier League, scoring 16 goals in 24 Premier League outings this term and has been a driving force in firing Thomas Frank’s men into European contention. His stellar performances have not gone unnoticed, as he has forced his way back into Gareth Southgate’s England squad for March’s Euro 2024 qualifiers, where he will compete with Harry Kane for a starting berth.
But before heading out on international duty, he has a job to do against one of the poorest defenses in the division in Leicester City. And he will fancy himself to get on the scoresheet yet again.
Brentford 2-1 Leicester City
Despite the fact that Leicester have been unbeaten in their past five meetings with Brentford, it is the Bees who are worthy favourites for Saturday’s game on form. As such, Thomas Frank’s side may find it difficult to contain a Leicester side that possesses an attacking armoury filled with goal-threatening firepower. However, the Bees carry plenty of attacking threats themselves, and they should expect to breach a fragile Leicester backline.
With that in mind, as well as the fact that these two sides played out an entertaining 2-2 draw in the reverse fixture at the King Power back in August, The Hard Tackle are backing Brentford to edge out the visitors 2-1 this Saturday to continue their excellent form heading into the short international break.
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