On the road and finally away from the north west
We’ve not had much travelling to do so far this season with the first two away games in the Premier League in Liverpool, and with most of the long trips to come in the second half of the season we head tomorrow to the King Power Stadium to play last season’s FA Cup winners Leicester City.
It’s not been the start to the season we were hoping for. This time last season we’d won one point from five games, scoring three goals, and conceding nine while reaching and going out of the League Cup in the fourth round. This season the league record is identical while, in the League Cup, we’ve reached the fourth round.
For much of the game last season at Newcastle, followed by that less than exciting 0-0 draw at West Brom it was poor and think how much better we’ve played this time round. But the simple fact is we sit in 19th place and could, should we fail to win at Leicester with Norwich beating Everton, sit bottom of the league this time tomorrow.
Yes, I do think we’ve been better this season and I do believe we could, and probably should, have picked up points from four of the five games we’ve played, the one exception being Liverpool when, despite the result, I thought we had some really good spells in the game.
It’s simple. We have to start picking up points sooner rather than later and, as tough as it might be tomorrow, Leicester would be a good place to start. It’s some time since we did win there. Four times in our first five visits we won 1-0. The first of those games was with Stan Ternent in charge, then two with Steve Cotterill and our most recent win there came in November 2007 with Steve Davis enjoying his one game in charge following the departure of Cotterill.
Matt Lowton, who wasn’t in the team for the first four Premier League games last season but has been an ever present since, spoke of the win against Rochdale, a game he finished as a substitute in midfield: “It was really important. I don’t think we have been playing that badly to be honest, but it is a results industry. So, it was nice to get the win and do it in the manner we did. Hopefully, we can take the positives from that game and take it into the Premier League.
Lowton, who has made a total of 180 appearances for the Clarets, will play his 140th Premier League game for us tomorrow, which he can add to the 72 top flight games he played for Villa before joining us.
Will there be changes though from the team beaten by Arsenal. That we don’t know but there was already clamour from the fans before last Saturday for Matěj Vydra to play with Maxwel Cornet’s name added after his substitute appearance. Now Jay Rodriguez, with four goals against Rochdale, is surely also in the reckoning.
We will know around 2 p.m. tomorrow but what we do know is that eight players are currently ever present in the team with the only changes coming in the centre of midfield and up front with Rodriguez starting the first game of the season against Brighton.
We are only without two players with Dale Stephens and Connor Roberts on their way back to full fitness after summer surgery but Wayne Hennessey, Kevin Long and Josh Brownhill are all expected to be fit.
It’s one of those weeks when, given we are expecting changes, it might be same again. If so, and I suspect it won’t be, the team will be Nick Pope, Matt Lowton, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee, Charlie Taylor, Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson, Josh Brownhill, Ashley Westwood, Dwight McNeil, Ashley Barnes, Chris Wood. Subs from: Wayne Hennessey, Will Norris, Phil Bardsley, Nathan Collins, Kevin Long, Erik Pieters, Jack Cork, Aaron Lennon, Maxwel Cornet, Matěj Vydra, Jay Rodriguez.
It’s hard to believe sometimes what’s happened at Leicester in the last few years. They went up with us in 2014 and looked almost certain to go straight back down when they went into April on 19 points with nine games to play.
Astonishingly, they picked up 22 points from the final nine games and a year later we crowned Premier League champions. Three average years followed but they’ve just had two fifth place finishes under Brendan Rodgers, just missing out on a return to the Champions League each time on the final day of the season although they had some consolation last season in winning the FA Cup for the first time ever.
Backed substantially by their owners, they are now a team carrying expectations and it is too early yet to say whether this is going to be another good season or not. They kicked it off winning the Community Shield, beating Manchester City 1-0 at Wembley with the goal coming from a late penalty scored by former City player Kelechi Iheanacho.
They’ve already played on Europa League game at home against Napoli, drawing 2-2. They’ve still to play both Legia Warsaw and Spartak Moscow twice alongside a trip to the Italian city where we played in 1967 (and good luck with that one). They also won through in the League Cup with a 2-0 win at Millwall and now face Brighton in the next round.
In the league, they’ve won one and lost one at home while winning one and losing two away. At home they’ve beaten Wolves but lost against Manchester City. On the road, they kicked off with a win at Wolves but were then beaten heavily at West Ham before getting nothing at Brighton last week after being on the wrong end of some bizarre VAR decisions.
Although they’ve used 21 players in the five league games to date, like us they’ve had a nucleus of ever presents with seven players having started all five games, but they’ve got a boost ahead of tomorrow which might bring changes. Ayoze Pérez is available having served a three match ban but the big news for Rodgers is the availability of Jonny Evans. After a couple of substitute appearances, he started at Millwall, his first start since last season’s FA Cup final win when he was forced off after just over half an hour.
Leicester, who are currently 12th in the table, had this line up for their most recent Premier League game at Brighton: Kasper Schmeichel, Ricardo Pereira, Çaglar Söyüncü, Jannik Vestergaard, Ryan Bertrand, Youri Tielemans, Wilfred Ndidi, Soumaré, James Maddison, Jamie Vardy, Harvey Barnes. Subs: Danny Ward, Timothy Castagne, Daniel Amartey, Marc Albrighton, Hamza Choudhury, Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, Patson Daka, Ademola Lookman, Kelechi Iheanacho.
LAST TIME WE WERE HERE
Leicester had won 3-0 at West Brom with Timothy Castagne giving them the lead to be followed by two Jamie Vardy penalties. That was the opening day of the season that we sat out with Manchester United, our scheduled opponents, given an extra week off.
That meant our season kicked off a week later at the King Power where we fell to a 4-2 defeat with a team shorn of central defenders James Tarkowski and Ben Mee as well as Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson, Jack Cork and Ashley Barnes with Robbie Brady forced off before half time.
It meant Kevin Long and Jimmy Dunne were our defensive pair while the seven man subs bench included Bobby Thomas, Anthony Glennon and Josh Benson. None of Dunne, Thomas or Glennon had played in our first team at the time while Benson had played 15 minutes on the previous Thursday in the League Cup against Sheffield United.
Dunne scored our second, the most recent player to score on his league debut for Burnley (pictured above). It gave us 17 minutes plus stoppage time at 3-2 down to try and rescue a point but a Dennis Praet goal six minutes later completed the scoring.
The teams were;
Leicester: Kasper Schmeichel, Timothy Castagne, Wilfred Ndidi, Çaglar Söyüncü, James Justin, Nampalys Mendy, Ayoze Pérez (James Maddison 62), Youri Tielemans, Dennis Praet (Marc Albrighton 83), Harvey Barnes (Wes Morgan 90+1), Jamie Vardy. Subs not used: Danny Ward, Christian Fuchs, Hamza Choudhury, Kelechi Iheanacho.
Burnley: Nick Pope, Phil Bardsley, Kevin Long, Jimmy Dunne, Charlie Taylor, Robbie Brady (Erik Pieters 40), Josh Brownhill, Ashley Westwood, Dwight McNeil, Jay Rodriguez (Matěj Vydra 70), Chris Wood. Subs not used: Bailey Peacock-Farrell, Matt Lowton, Bobby Thomas, Anthony Glennon, Josh Benson.Share this page :