Aston Villa v Leicester – Double delight for Foxes fans
Leicester have the chance to garnish fans with a delightful double against Aston Villa where victory for the Foxes will ensure top spot of the Premier League table whilst simultaneously virtually condemning their midlands rivals to relegation.
With Arsenal not playing until Sunday, Leicester can underline their status as unlikely title contenders by moving three points clear of the Gunners – and gain revenge for last season’s 2-1 FA Cup defeat by Villa.
The hosts are in desperate times with new boss Remi Garde not having the impact desired or required since replacing Tim Sherwood.
However, Villa managed only their second win of the season and their first under Garde by beating an in-form Crystal Palace 1-0 in Birmingham to secure three points for the first time since beating Bournemouth on the opening day of the campaign.
A win against Leicester tomorrow and it will be the first back-to-wins achieved by Villa since May 2015 and will give their fans further cause for optimism.
EPL’S BEST AWAY RECORD
But online football tipsters and punters will point to the table and remind fans of their position and that of Leicester whose brilliant campaign continued at White Hart Lane on Wednesday with a 1-0 win against top four contenders Tottenham.
Boss Claudio Ranieri will be looking for more of the same from his men against Villa. His side boast the division’s best away form with 22 goals in 11 matches securing an unrivalled 24 points from a possible 33 and are looking to achieve four consecutive clean sheets for the first time since 1974. The Foxes have also already beaten their points haul for the entirety of last season – with 43 points from 21 games compared to 41 points from last season’s 38.
Villa, by comparison are languishing at the bottom of the table with just 11 points to show from their 21 matches to date. They are the league’s lowest scoring side, hitting the net just 17 times, have managed only five first half strikes all season, and are the team most likely to concede the first goal in the entire Premier League having done so 15 times in 2015-16.
Their home form has been dire for the last few seasons so Leicester may take extra confidence from the fact that Villa have won only 18 of their 80 games at Villa Park (drawing 22 and losing 40).
And against Leicester, Villa have managed only four wins from their last 19 Premier League against the Foxes but some tipsters (and many Villa fans) will point out that three of those of been from their last four meetings at Villa Park.
Midweek Garde was ebullient, saying: “The victory over Palace gave us more confidence. The players know the level they can play at. Hopefully we can do this from now until the end of the season.”
The managers have faced each other before and Ranieri boasts a winning record against Garde with his Monaco side beating Garde’s Lyon twice in Ligue 1.
By: Joe Cahal