This Sunday, Aston Villa take on Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester City at Villa Park in the Premier League.
Three points separate the two Midlands based clubs as Leicester sit 10th on nineteen points and Aston Villa sit 13th on sixteen.
Villa come into the game off the back of a loss against the champions, Manchester City on Wednesday. However, despite losing 2-1, there were plenty of positives to take from the game. On numerous occasions, Villa’s playing out from the back managed to beat Man City’s press, and if Carney Chukwuemeka managed to sneak the absolute sitter he missed into the back of the net to level the scores, it would have been a completely different outcome.
Leicester come into the game off the back of a 2-2 draw away at Southampton. The foxes have only won one of their last five Premier League games, and that was a 4-2 win last week at home to Watford.
Aston Villa are without Leon Bailey for this game as he picked up a knock against City on Wednesday and was forced into being substituted off. Steven Gerrard has confirmed he will be out till after Christmas. On a more positive note, Danny Ings could be back. Steven Gerrard stated on Friday afternoon that he was going to be tested on Saturday, so there is a chance that we could see Ings play this weekend. Bertrand Traore & Trezeguet are still out.
Leicester could be without arguably their best player Youri Tielemens for this game which could be massive in terms of how the game will pan out. Wesley Fofana and James Justin are also out.
This will be the third time that Brendan Rodgers and Steven Gerrard face each other in management. Gerrard worked under Rodgers for three seasons at Liverpool as a player, and was part of the team that almost won the Premier League in the 2013/14 season. Having faced each other twice managing Celtic and Rangers respectively, this will be the third time they clash as managers.
As for how the game itself will pan out, it will be interesting. Leicester have won three of their last four Premier League meetings with Villa, including a 4-1 battering at Villa Park and a 4-0 thrashing at the King Power in the 2019/20 season. However, this Villa team is different. Despite only playing three games under new gaffer Gerrard, you can sense a feeling of change in the atmosphere at the club both on the pitch and off the pitch. On the pitch, the footballing philosophy has completely shifted into a more positive one, where Villa are beating Pep Guardiola’s pressing tactics and are playing some really good, exciting football, and that will have an effect off the pitch. Getting good results and playing good football will increase the morale and confidence amongst the squad and will create a good team spirit which is key in a dressing room.
Leicester are without some key players such as Tielemens and aren’t doing as great as their squad suggests at the moment, and Villa will be sky high on confidence following their recent upturn in form. It is also at Villa Park which is massive as Villa will have home advantage.
It could quite easily go either way, and it will be an interesting game.
BY HARRY BATTERS