Bournemouth 6th (2-1-1) vs Leicester City 8th (2-0-2)
Live from the Vitality Stadium at 10 AM ET on the NBC Gold App
With only a point separating them in the table, this is the perfect away clash to set the tone for the upcoming list of fixtures. Three of the next four matches on the road, and only one win out of two away from home so far, it’s key the Foxes hit the ground running on Saturday.
Bournemouth kicked off their season with a home win over newly promoted Cardiff City. They then came back from behind to beat a struggling West Ham on the road 2-1, before a stunning 2-2 draw back at home against Everton. Their last match before the break was against high-flying Chelsea and while they held on as long as they could, the Blues finally broke their defenses after 72 minutes and eventually down 2-0.
In the Cherries two wins they averaged over 10 shots per match and have scored two goals. Against Cardiff they bossed the possession with 63% but failed to do so against West Ham with only 39%. Clearly the two clubs play differing styles, but the common thread between the two games is the amount of shots Bournemouth allowed, over 10 per match.
As Bournemouth’s leading goalscorer, Callum Wilson has netted 1⁄3 of the Cherries total goals this season, is unequivocally their danger man. He has 14 shots to date with 6 on target meaning every third shot on target he makes finds the back of the net. Leicester will have to work hard to limit his chances if they want a chance at walking away with all three points.
What is about Leicester’s performances not equaling the result? Despite allowing two goals against Liverpool that could have easily been avoided, Leicester bossed the game. They had 52% possession, completed 496 passes, and managed 5 of 12 shots on target. Largely that was because of Kelechi Iheanacho coming off the bench in the second half and changing the tone. While the pains of missing Jamie Vardy were evident at times, Demarai Gray wasn’t the striker Leicester needed on the day.
Along with club football being back, Jamie Vardy is also back from suspension. Although he has as many goals as he does red cards, there is no doubt Vardy is going to be a huge part of what Leicester accomplish this season. His recent retirement from England means he got plenty of rest through his suspension and hopefully his groin is now fully healed.
I would like to finally see the performance match the result. If Leicester want to be an intricate passing / possession team that controls the game and creates the chances for goals they need to find that next gear and become the lethal attack they want to be. For that to happen though, they need to start showing up in the first ten minutes of matches. These easy opportunities they give to teams in the first five to ten minutes can really deflate matches and could really meant trouble if they start allowing goals instead of near-misses.
As far as this match goes, I think a 1-1 or 2-2 draw is in the mix. We’ve struggled with Bournemouth as of late, and while I’d love nothing more than an amazing performance and smashing result, I’m not convinced Leicester is quite there yet against a high-pressing side like Bournemouth.