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Key battles to watch for: Leicester City vs Burnley

The Foxes have lost their last 2 visits to Turf Moor

Liverpool v Burnley - Premier League Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images

Hey, look at that, we’re winning again! Leicester City are back in business and will be looking to keep it going against a Burnley team who are dropping worryingly close to the bottom of late. The Clarets will be fighting tooth and nail for this, but have lacked the quality of late.

We’ve broken down some of the key areas and individual match ups that could decide the outcome.

1. Pack the middle of the defence

Burnley usually come out in a 4-4-2, with top scorer Ashley Barnes and former Fox Chris Wood up front together. Both are capable players, but mostly thrive as “traditional” centre forwards, getting on the end of balls in the box.

The Clarets have taken less shots than any other team, but boost their scoring numbers by taking 16% of them inside the 6 yard box, comfortably the league’s highest. The key to keeping their front men out will be to pack the width of the box. Far too often we’ve seen teams score from what feels like their only chance all game, so it’s key that we keep up concentration and don’t let our opponents create the high percentage chances they thrive on.

Newcastle United v Leicester City - Premier League
Let’s get B I G
Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

Although he switched back to a four-man back line in his first win, we could even see Brendan Rodgers bring back the three-man system he used in his first game. Harry Maguire and Jonny Evans are certainly capable of handling the strikers, but an extra man would certainly help and this is exactly game Wes Morgan lives for.

2. Youri Tielemans vs Sean Dyche

Even away from home, I think we can already see how long stretches of this game will look: Leicester City in steady possession, trying to find their way through the home team’s deep and packed defence.

Only two sides play with less possession than Burnley, and yet they’re also right near the bottom of the list for tackles made and attempted. Despite all of the opportunity to try to take the ball from their opponents, expect Burnley to simply sit back, trust in Sean Dyche’s defensive system and wait for us to make mistakes.

Fortunately, we don’t rely on just one player to get us through these encounters anymore, but loan star Youri Tielemans may be the key this time. Maddison, Barnes and the like will find their chances to run at defenders, but the passing vision of the young Belgian Tielemans will be vital to find an incisive path through the defence.

3. Jame Vardy vs Tom Heaton

After a slightly subpar year, in a system that he wasn't suited to, Jamie Vardy might just be back at his best. If he is, well, best of luck to anyone tasked with watching him, even if it’s England international James Tarkowski.

He will get away from them at some point, and when he’s in this kind of form, Vardy’s finishing is absolutely deadly. He only needs one chance to win the game.

Burnley have their own secret weapon though, in goalkeeper Tom Heaton. After missing the first half of the season through injury, his sparkling form early in the year seemed to spark a revival for Burnley as well as winning him a recall to the England squad. Of late though, his and Claret’s form has wavered, and he was blamed for mistakes leading to two goals last time out. He’ll have to be at his absolute best to keep Vardy out.