Wolves vs Leicester City
Friday at 3 PM ET on NBCSN
The inaugural winter break has come and gone like the wind from storm Ciara or a David O. Selznick production, and now we’re ready for football to be back. Luckily for us, we got two weeks to figure out just how in the hell we’re going to stop Adama Traore. That’s why Brendan gets paid the big bucks.
Currently 4 points and match in hand from sitting pretty in a Europe spot, Wolves certainly give off the impression that they are breathing down our necks, but if you look at their form, it’s not that impressive. One win in their last five league matches, a 3-2 comeback against Southampton, paired with two losses and two draws. One loss was to Liverpool, but the other was to Watford on New Year’s day despite a man advantage for the last 20 minutes. Since this is about as Midlands a derby we’ll get in the league, this match has been highly contested the past couple of seasons. Wovles will be looking to push higher in the league just in case they crash out of the Europa League, and this is a high profile scrap given Leicester’s league position.
This man scares me. He shouldn’t have the physicality of a linebacker with the touch of Ronaldinho. He somehow is improving as well (?!) and will cause us plenty of problems whatever side Nuno sets him up on. Given our recent frailty from set pieces, I don’t like the idea of him bombing crosses into our box to a waiting Raul Jimenez.
January was a rough month for us, and February could’ve gotten off to a better start had we not blown a lead to a meh Chelsea, but that’s behind us and the break was meant to refocus the squad and learn from our mistakes. This match won’t make or break our Champions League ambitions, but winning is the best way to keep pressure on 4th place and below. Our 10 point gap could quickly evaporate over the next two fixtures against Wolves and Manchester City, plus it would be fun to ruin City’s day and land in second place, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
There is only one conceivable way we keep going and that is through the feet of Jamie Vardy. We need him back on the score sheet badly. We haven’t won a game Vardy has scored in since we beat Aston Villa 4-1, and his last was the opener against Manchester City, a 3-1 loss. After returning from injury, Vardy has tasted victory just once, the 4-1 win over West Ham. Granted he should’ve had an assist had Harvey Barnes not missed an incredible sitter against Chelsea, but that’s me dwelling on the past once more. Vardy is still our key to success and getting him the ball as much as possible against Wolves will be key to three points.
I wouldn’t be at all shocked if this ended in a 0-0 or 2-2 draw. Neither defense has done enough recently to look solid and both offenses can strike with ease. We have the history of Friday matches against us, ugh, but I’m confident we’ll squeak out a point.