Leicester City will travel to Elland Road for another Premier League relegation six-pointer against struggling Leeds United, aiming to build on Saturday’s victory over Wolves.

The fiercest Premier League relegation fight in years is in full flow. And with 17th-placed Leicester City now only a point behind 16th-placed Leeds United, it is all to play for at Elland Road, just six games from the end of the season.

The Whites appear to be in freefall as they slumped to a third successive defeat against Fulham on Saturday. Harry Wilson volleyed in the opener in the 58th minute, with Andreas Pereira adding a second from close range shortly afterwards.

Leeds United pulled one back with 11 minutes left on the clock as Patrick Bamford’s effort was deflected in off Joao Palhinha. But the visitors slipped one point above the drop zone ahead of the clash with relegation rivals Leicester at Elland Road.

The Peacocks have now conceded 13 goals in just three matches, including heavy 5-1 and 6-1 home defeats to Crystal Palace and Liverpool. But there is no time to mull over for the hosts. Tuesday is a big game for them, a six-pointer against Leicester City. So they must start positively to get the crowd on their side from the get-go as they look to turn the corner on the relegation zone.

In stark contrast, Leicester City received a huge morale boost as they surged out of the bottom three with their first win in ten as Timothy Castagne scored a late winner in Dean Smith’s first home game in charge.

The Foxes fell behind after Matheus Cunha pounced on Youri Tielemans’s mistake, with Kelechi Iheanacho restoring the parity from the penalty spot. Leicester pushed for a winner that came through their right-back. And combined with Nottingham Forest and Everton’s failure to win, it led to a big sigh of relief all around the King Power Stadium at the final whistle.

Leicester City will reminisce about the 2-0 victory in the reverse fixture at the King Power in October 2021. But defeat on Thursday could see them drop back into the bottom three if other results were to go against them, something Dean Smith’s men wouldn’t want. Thus, they can ill-afford a slip-up now.

Team News & Tactics

Leeds United

The Leeds United treatment table has emptied significantly in the recent few weeks. And Javi Gracia will only be without the services of long-term thigh issues Tyler Adams and Stuart Dallas for Tuesday’s pivotal clash.

Once again, the Spaniard made the unpopular decision to leave Wilfried Gnonto on the bench against Fulham. But with a short turnaround to factor in, the Italian wonderkid will no doubt be considered for a recall alongside Luis Sinisterra.

Patrick Bamford also showcased his goal-scorer instincts at Craven Cottage and should also come back into the fray, with Gracia sure to make a raft of changes after another disappointing result.

Illan Meslier will keep his place between the sticks. The back four could see quite a reshuffle. At right-back, Luke Ayling is likely to start ahead of Rasmus Kristensen, who could be dropped from the starting eleven alongside club captain Liam Cooper.

Robin Koch is also expected to keep his place in the team, with Maximilian Wober switching to a left-sided central defender role. To cap the back four off, Junior Firpo could come back into the starting XI.

Elsewhere in the midfield, Marc Roca and Weston McKennie are the only two options for the double pivot, so they should keep their positions but will have to massively improve their respective performances if they are to win the midfield battle against Youri Tielemans and Boubakary Soumare. Jack Harrison will line up in the attacking midfield role, with underperforming Brendan Aaronson potentially dropping to the bench.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Meslier; Ayling, Koch, Wober, Firpo; McKennie, Roca; Sinisterra, Harrison, Gnonto; Bamford

Leicester City

Dean Smith has confirmed James Maddison is expected to be back in the Leicester City squad for their relegation six-pointer against Leeds United on Tuesday night.

The 26-year-old attacking midfielder was set to play for the Foxes in their win over Wolves on Saturday but was ruled out after suffering a sickness bug overnight. He will be back in training sooner rather than later. The same goes for wide man Harvey Barnes, who was scheduled to return to training on Sunday. So he will also be in contention to face Leeds.

Jamie Vardy was substituted at half-time after receiving a lengthy period of treatment following the penalty incident in which Jose Sa stepped on the striker’s ankle as he dribbled around him and prevented him from taking the spot-kick. But he should also be fine to feature here, albeit in a substitute capacity off the bench.

The visitors will still be without the services of long-term absentees Ricardo Pereira (thigh), James Justin (calf), Jannik Vestergaard (calf), Ryan Bertrand (fitness), and Jonny Evans (illness).

Smith said he wanted his team to be the aggressors before the last game. But nobody could have predicted he would opt to play all three of his strikers together against Wolves, which led to a chaotic, end-to-end start to the game. Jamie Vardy, Patson Daka, and Kelechi Iheanacho all played together. With Maddison and Barnes back in the starting XI, he will revert to the usual 4-2-3-1 system.

Daniel Iversen is likely to remain in goal, while Timothy Castagne and Victor Kristiansen are the obvious picks as the full-back. With Evans absent and soon-to-be free agent Caglar Soyuncu delivering a rugged, battling display that Leicester sorely needed in their bid to avoid relegation, Smith may stick with the centre-back pairing of Soyuncu and Wout Faes, with Harry Souttar serving as a bench option.

Then, Boubakary Soumare and Youri Tielemans could play in the deeper midfield positions, with the latter looking to make amends for the horrible casual mistake he made against Wolves. Maddison will star in the number ten role, with Tete and Barnes supporting him to create chances from wide areas. Iheanacho could lead the line upfront on his own.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Iversen; Castagne, Soyuncu, Faes, Kristiansen; Soumare, Tielemans; Tete, Maddison, Barnes; Iheanacho

Key Stats

  • Leicester City hold the clear advantage over Leeds United in terms of record in recent head-to-head encounter, having won five of last seven games (D1 L1).
  • Leicester City’s Harvey Barnes has scored in each of his last five games against Tuesday’s opponents, dating back to November 2020.
  •  Javi Gracia’s side have conceded at least two goals in six of their last seven games.
  • The Foxes are without a clean sheet in their last 13 games in all competitions.
  • The visitors have collected just one point from the last 15 on offer on the road.

Player to Watch

Kelechi Iheanacho

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Without a doubt, Harvey Barnes and James Maddison have had more influence in their fight against drop. However, we pick Iheanacho as the player to watch here thanks to his much-improved display against Wolves last time out.

Iheanacho has scored five goals and provided four assists this season, which surely makes him one of the standout players on Leicester’s roster. He was the difference-maker for Dean Smith last week when he set up Jamie Vardy to win the penalty and then confidently converted in the 37th minute to give Leicester the confidence for a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Wolves.

While he blew a fine chance to add a third late on, with Patson Daka and Jamie Vardy still seemingly off-colour, the Nigerian frontman represents the Foxes’ best striking option at the moment.


Leeds United 2-2 Leicester City

When you manage only two shots on goal in a full 90 minutes of football, you cannot realistically expect to win Premier League games. That was the scenario for Leeds United last week when Javi Gracia’s side had trouble getting into Fulham’s penalty area. They risk being relegated to the Championship if things do not improve significantly.

The Whites will rely on the home support. But it has not amounted to anything in the last two games, where they were thrashed 6-1 by Liverpool, just eight days after their 5-1 loss to Crystal Palace.

If Leeds are to avoid relegation, they must play to their strengths: attacking with youth and pace. Should they play with a greater intensity buoyed by the home crowd, the Leeds players can intimidate their shaky opponents into errors. And that is why, we are going for a high-scoring draw instead of a win for the visitors in this relegation six-pointer.

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