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1516 burnley turf moor 04Last time Leicester City played at Turf Moor they were holders of the Championship title and they now return as current Premier League holders after their remarkable 2015/16 season.

I don’t think many of us would have thought we’d have gone into this game ahead of the reigning champions in the table but that’s how it is because of their stuttering and, more so, our incredible home form.

The win over Southampton in our last home game was our eighth. For people who think that football started in 1992, that’s a club record number of home wins in the Premier League, for those who realise it went on before that, it’s the best since the eleven we recorded in the old First Division in 1974/75 season.

Beating Southampton took us to 26 points and that had many trying to work out just how many points would be needed for survival. I have to say I’m delighted to have reached that points total and, looking back, what a boost that Christmas double header was when we beat first Middlesbrough and then Sunderland to take our total to 23 at half way.

It’s going to be a difficult one tonight. It was August 2010 the last time we took anything from a home game against Leicester. On that occasion goals from Ross Wallace, his firs for the Clarets, Chris Iwelumo and Graham Alexander from the penalty spot gave us a 3-0 win. Since then it has been four successive defeats so time to get that run ended.

It’s nine days since we last played a league game. That was the 2-1 defeat at Arsenal which left us bemoaning another controversial late winner and, worse still, another long term injury for midfielder Dean Marney.

He wouldn’t have played in the FA Cup tie against Bristol City I wouldn’t have thought but Marney will have to be replaced tonight in a team that will see little change from the one that lost at the Emirates.

Although both Scott Arfield and Johann Berg Gudmundsson are fit again, the most likely replacement is Joey Barton which would mean a left side position again for Steven Defour.

We could line up: Tom Heaton, Matt Lowton, Michael Keane, Ben Mee, Stephen Ward, George Boyd, Jeff Hendrick, Joey Barton, Steven Defour, Ashley Barnes, Andre Gray. Subs from: Paul Robinson, Jon Flanagan, Tendayi Darikwa, James Tarkowski, Michael Kightly, Scott Arfield, Johann Berg Gudmundsson, Sam Vokes.

What a time Leicester had last season. It’s still hard to believe what they achieved. A team that looked for much of the previous season as though they were guaranteed to go back down, they had a late run to avoid the drop and then went on to win the title.

Their summer after the title was disrupted with the potential loss of players. Both Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez were both linked with moves away. Both stayed, but the influential N’Golo Kante swapped the blue of Leicester for that of Chelsea and his loss has certainly made a difference.

This was a team that lost only three times throughout the entire season. That’s not been the case this time round and they’ve already suffered eleven defeats including eight on the road. We are the only team in the league with less away points and the only team with less away goals. They’ve secured three draws on their travels at Tottenham, Stoke and Middlesbrough.

Vardy, despite not having the same sort of season as he did a year ago, is still their leading goalscorer; both he and Islam Slimani, who scored twice against us, lead the way with five goals each.

Although he’s returned from the African Cup of Nations, along with Mahrez, Slimani won’t play tonight. Claudio Ranieri explained: “Slimani is not available. It’s a little problem but it’s also an old problem. It is important for him to recover as soon as possible.”

Meanwhile, fellow striker Shinji Okasaki is available. He’s had stitches in a foot injury but has trained well. Leonardo Ulloa won’t play though. Ranieri said: “He’s had a problem and is working with the physio. He’s not fit.” Even fit, he wouldn’t have played; Ulloa has blasted Ranieri and has said he won’t play for Leicester again with Sunderland having had bids for him turned down today.

Last time out in the league they were beaten 3-0 at Southampton. The Leicester team was: Kasper Schmeichel, Danny Simpson, Wes Morgan, Robert Huth, Christian Fuchs, Onyinye Ndidi, Danny Drinkwater, Nampalys Mendy, Shinji Okasaki, Demarai Gray, Jamie Vardy. Subs: Ron-Robert Zieler, Ben Chilwell, Andy King, Bartosz Kapustka, Yohan Benalouane, Marc Albrighton, Ahmed Musa.

 

LAST TIME THEY WERE HERE

 

It was the day I think we all knew time was up for us in the Premier League. A 1-0 defeat at the hands of Leicester was bad enough but the manner of it took some accepting with Matt Taylor failing to score from the penalty spot and Jamie Vardy winning it for Leicester less than a minute later.

Leicester had looked doomed to relegation for much of the season. Manager Nigel Pearson had completely lost the plot and there seemed no way they could survive. Then, all of a sudden, things changed. They were still bottom when they came to Turf Moor but they did so on the back of a run of three successive wins against West Ham, West Brom and Swansea.

This win took Leicester off the bottom and dumped us there and it was all decided in that single minute on the hour mark.

Jason Shackell played the ball forward for Lukas Jutkiewicz who cushioned the ball down well for Danny Ings. He weaved one way and then the other but his shot was just the right height for Kasper Schmeichel who saved the shot and got it out to Paul Konchesky. Taylor nipped in to get the ball, Konchesky clipped him and we’d got a penalty.

Ings didn’t want to take it but Taylor, just coming back from a long term injury, accepted responsibility. He slipped and his effort hit the outside of the post and went out for a goal kick. While we were reeling from that, Leicester took the goal kick, got the ball up the pitch. They won two headers and the ball found Marc Albrighton unmarked. His cross was met by Michael Duff who could do no more than turn it towards his own goal. Tom Heaton just about kept it out but Vardy was on hand to score from almost on the line.

It was a third successive 1-0 defeat for the Clarets and we were bottom of the league, although only three points from safety.

The teams were;

Burnley: Tom Heaton, Kieran Trippier, Michael Duff, Jason Shackell, Ben Mee, George Boyd (Ross Wallace 71), Scott Arfield, David Jones, Matt Taylor (Michael Kightly 84), Danny Ings, Lukas Jutkiewicz (Marvin Sordell 71). Subs not used: Matt Gilks, Michael Keane, Stephen Ward, Fredrik Ulvestad.

Leicester: Kasper Schmeichel, Marcin Wasilewski, Robert Huth, Wes Morgan, Marc Albrighton (Ritchie De Laet 72),  Andy King, Esteban Cambiasso, Paul Konchesky, Danny Drinkwater (Matty James 77), Leo Ulloa (Andrej Kramarić 65), Jamie Vardy. Subs not used: Mark Schwarzer, Matt Upson, Riyad Mahrez, Chris Wood.

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