Leicester have slumped to their lowest league position in months. 3rd. If the Foxes are to drag themselves out of that deep pit, they'll have to start with a good performance against Burnley. Here are some areas the game could be decided.
1. The physical battle
Leicester were beaten in most facets of the game by Southampton, but much of it stemmed from the Saints’ physical dominance. The absence of Wilfred Ndidi was really felt in the middle, where they really struggled with the ball in the air.
Burnley might be the most most direct team in the Premier League: 19th in possession, 20th in passing completion and the highest long ball percentage. Hopefully the week off will have helped the Foxes work on fighting for position under the ball.
Its a great privileged to win Nigeria's best footballer of the year. I couldn't have done this by myself, I want to thank my teammates both in the National team and at Leicester City. Thank you to the organisers of The Ballers Awards and all the fans. Thank you pic.twitter.com/IMNyzsUt5n— Ndidi Wilfred (@Ndidi25) January 13, 2020
The midfield isn’t the only area where it’s likely to come up, either. Former Fox Chris Wood scored the opener last time the teams faced off, and had three more very good chances on goal.
Söyüncü was uncharacteristically troubled by Shane Long last weekend and will have to be back at his best as he tangles with Burnley’s top scorer.
2. Cut out the mistakes
Despite their low possession style, Burnley are also bottom of the league in tackles per game. In a style that will look very unfamiliar after last week’s press-fest, the Clarets prefer to sit back and wait on mistakes from their opponents.
If the last few games are any indication, that could be quite a fruitful tactic against the Foxes, who have struggled to hold onto the ball. With the pressure off a bit, can they bounce back to the precision that had them riding so high not long ago?
They’re certainly capable of it; when these two teams met earlier in the season, Ben Chilwell had 119 touches and gave the ball away 0 (zero) times. The trick is “simply” to recapture that form.
I’m especially looking forward to watching Youri Tielemans’ performance. The collapse of the young Belgian’s passing accuracy lead to him being dropped for the Saints, but he did look much improved when he came on. With another week’s rest, can he get back to his best?
3. Get the wingers into the game
In Burnley’s last game, they were beaten out wide, with both of Chelsea’s non-penalty goals assisted from the wings. It lines up well with what we saw in our first contest, when Harvey Barnes picked up both assists and Ricardo Pereira had 5 key passes.
The following week, we tore apart Southampton out wide, but since then the production has fallen steeply. Last week we struggled to get Barnes or Perez into the game, while Pereira and Chilwell played mostly in their own halves.
If the Foxes are to pick apart Burnley’s tightly packed formation, they’ll need plenty of options to spread out the defence, and will have to bring their wingers into the game more than they have lately.
The key for me though is to get Ricardo Pereira higher up the pitch. The Portuguese fullback might be our most creative wide player, but took just 6 of his 86 touches against the Saints in the final third.