Aston Villa-Leicester City Preview
Mired in their longest Premier League winless slide of the season, Leicester City should be getting a boost in their quest to end that rut.
Star striker Jamie Vardy is slated to be fit for selection when the host Foxes aim to end their four-match league winless skid on Monday night in another matchup with relegation-zone dwellers Aston Villa.
Though third-place Leicester (15-5-8) topped Birmingham City in FA Cup action earlier this week, they're amid an 0-2-2 stretch within the top-flight, where they've dropped consecutive games to Manchester City and lowly Norwich City. The Foxes have also gone three consecutive league contests without the goal.
Leicester last went four straight such matches without scoring in 2016-17, but the possible return of Vardy (17 league goals over all competitions) could help end that drought. A calf injury kept Vardy out of the 1-0 Norwich defeat on Feb. 28 and the recent FA Cup fixture.
"He will be back available for Monday," Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers told birminghammail.co.uk.
That's obviously news for Leicester, who are trying to maintain their top-four place, with the focus squarely on themselves.
"Everyone's clear in our purpose now," Rodgers told Leicester's official website.
"We've got to concentrate on ourselves, on our own performance, and we know if we can bring our best game into each game between now and the end of the season, we'll have a very good chance of winning."
And the Foxes should be quite familiar with Monday's opponent. This will be the fourth time this season over all competitions that Leicester and Aston Villa (7-4-16) will meet.
The Foxes won 4-1 at Villa in Premier League action on Dec. 8, thanks to a brace from Vardy and a goal with an assist from Kelechi Iheanacho. Villa, though, got the best of Leicester with a draw and victory in League Cup play.
The Villans, who currently sit in the middle of the drop zone, will look to avoid a fifth consecutive defeat over all competitions after losing 2-1 to Manchester City in last weekend's League Cup final. Back in the Premier League, Villa have lost three in a row and are mired in a 1-1-4 rut. However, the fact that Aston Villa have seen quite a lot of Leicester already this season adds some sort of comfort to their confidence level.
"We know each other very well now," coach Dean Smith told Villa's official website.
"We know on our day we can more than match (Leicester), but they're in third place for a reason. We've got a great belief that we can win any of the 11 games we've got left to play."
Villa's Jack Grealish has a team-leading nine goals over all competitions, but none over his last six overall matches. He scored Villa's lone goal in that December league loss to the Foxes.
Updated March 7, 2020