Verdict: Total goals over 3.5
Best odds: 5/4
Leicester City are set to welcome Legia Warsaw to the King Power Stadium for their meeting in the fifth round of the Europa League group stages. As things stand at the moment, both teams are facing a very realistic danger of ending their involvement in the competition early next month.
Though Group C certainly wasn’t described an easy one to navigate, the Foxes will have been disappointed by sitting bottom of the table at this point. On the other hand, they have five points to their name, and a strong finish to the first part of the campaign could still see them qualify for the round of 32. After all, Spartak Moscow and Napoli, the two teams currently occupying the top two spots, have only seven points each.
Things haven’t been going that well in the Premier League either. Having narrowly missed out on Champions League qualification last season, Leicester are currently in 12th place with 15 points from 12 matches, the same tally as Everton in 11th, and one less than Crystal Palace in 10th. There has even been speculation about manager Brendan Rodgers facing pressure to deliver improvement quickly or risk losing his job, though that surely seems premature at this point.
Nonetheless, there’s no escaping the fact that the Foxes won only one of their last six matches in all competitions, and none since the 1-2 triumph away to Brentford a month ago. They managed to edge past Brighton and Hove Albion in the Carabao Cup on penalties after drawing 2-2 at home, they lost at home 0-2 to Arsenal, they drew 1-1 at home against Spartak Moscow as well as away to Leeds United, and they were comprehensively beaten, 0-3, at the hands of Chelsea at home a few days ago.
Youri Tielemans has been ruled out with a calf injury until mid-December, which is a big blow to Leicester’s midfield ranks. Centre-back Wesley Fofana and fullback James Justin will also be out for a while yet, as will fullback Ricardo Pereira who picked up a thigh problem in training.
Desperately needing his team to win, Rodgers will likely deploy James Maddison behind the partnership of Jamie Vardy and Patson Daka, though Ayoze Perez and Kelechi Iheanacho will also be hoping to start.
The one thing that will have given Leicester City a strong dose of hope ahead of this clash is the fact that Legia haven’t been on form any better than their own lately. The Polish side’s last-six run in all competitions contains a 4-1 defeat away to Piast Gliwice, a 0-1 win in the Polish Cup away to Swin Skolwin, a 0-2 defeat at home to Pogon Szczecin, a 1-4 thrashing suffered at home at the hands of Napoli, a 1-3 home defeat to Stal, and a 3-2 defeat away to Gornik Zabrze.
And yet, Legia enter this clash sitting above the Foxes by a point, and a win is imperative for them as well if they have any intention of reaching the next stage. It seems
Meanwhile, over in the Polish Ekstraklasa, things could hardly have gone worse. Legia sit second from the bottom, inside the relegation zone, with no more than nine points from 13 matches. The woes the team have gone through this autumn resulted in manager Czeslaw Michniewicz being replaced by his assistant Marek Golebiewski last month. So far it doesn’t look to have done any good.
Midfielder Bartosz Kapustka, who was on the books at Leicester between the summers of 2016 and 2020 but only managed three first-team appearances, won’t be able to face his former club due to an ACL injury. His return to the pitch isn’t expected before March next year.
Veteran goalkeeper Artur Boruc, significantly experienced when it comes to playing in England, is yet to recover from a back problem, which means Cezary Miszta will take his place between the posts once more. Midfielder Josue is suspended for this match.
Despite Legia winning their clash in Poland back in September and Leicester not being on great form, the Foxes should really be winning this match. The stretch of poor form seriously belies the quality in the ranks of the Premier League side. The odds of a home win are extremely short – 1/6, so you might want to consider another option.
Both teams need a win and we’re likely to see a fairly open contest, with a lot of chances, and hopefully, goals.
Verdict: Total goals over 3.5
Best odds: 5/4
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