Aston Villa vs Leicester City Sunday at 9 AM on NBCSN
I have that image of Jack Grealish running and celebrating in Tim Sherwood’s arms etched into my mind for all eternity, mainly for what it was supposed to mean. It was supposed to end Leicester’s run, whilst simultaneously introducing Grealish to the Premier League and the rest of the world, but Claudio Ranieri’s fantastic foxes had other things planned, eventually coming back to win 3-2 and the rest was history.
Like the rest of the mid table teams, Villa are a bit of a mixed bag. One win in their last five matches, but even the casual follower of the league would think they’re having a pretty decent season. I honestly thought they were higher in the table than 16th and were certainly further away than 1 point from being in the relegation zone, but here they are.
Villa can score goals, and have only been shut out 3 times in the league, but their main problem is they are allowing the second goal too often. Two times in their last seven matches they’ve held opponents to one or less goals, and if you expand that to the whole season, it’s a whopping five. That seems like relegation form, but given the congestion in the table, a win could see them 12th excluding other results, a loss could also drop them into 18th if results went against them.
Wesley is Villa’s key goal scorer and will be the main threat outside of Jack Grealish or John McGinn. With 4 goals and 1 assist he accounts for just under 25% of Villa’s offense. He will keep Jonny Evans and Çağlar Söyüncü occupied for the full 90.
Despite a small dip in form, Brendan Rodgers Foxes are still getting the job done. Teams have taken notice of his side’s creativity and have decided sitting back as deep as possible is the best way to dam the goal scoring flood that is Jamie Vardy and company. For whatever reason, it just doesn’t seem to work. The benefit for Leicester this game is that Villa will have to come out of their shell being at home and can’t rely solely on a counter attack to win.
Two things that made me really happy in the win over Watford was that 1. Youri Tielemans got some rest and 2. James Maddison scored a goal. Struggling isn’t the right word, but their impact was missing a little bit in the past few matches, mostly due to having to come further back in midfield to receive the ball. If we’re going to win on Sunday, we’ll need the best from our main two offensive midfielders.
I think this match will mirror the Everton one, but without the late drama. Villa get an early goal and then we methodically break them down and find our goals. Leicester 3-1 Aston Villa.