Only seven weeks after the previous league campaign came to an end, Premier League clubs are ready to return to competitive football this weekend.
Leicester City begin their 2020/21 season on Sunday with a trip to The Hawthorns to face newly promoted West Bromwich Albion.
The Foxes have won their last four trips to the face the West Midlands side. They will be hoping they can add another to this impressive tally and begin this season in a positive way after an extremely poor ending to the last campaign.
Opponents West Brom will be looking to continue their momentum after finishing second and winning promotion from the Championship last season.
The Baggies are expected to have a full squad available to them for their first Premier League game since 2018. Slaven Bilic brought in four new faces during the transfer window and they could all be used on Sunday.
Grady Diangana, Callum Robinson, and Cedric Kipre may be given a starting spot with David Button taking his place as back-up goalkeeper.
Leicester on the other hand are suffering from injuries and suspensions and may have to field a few unfamiliar faces.
Jonny Evans is suspended after receiving a red card against Manchester United on the final day of last season. James Maddison has trained with the squad but is expected to take a place on the bench. Also, Ricardo Pereira remains sidelined after picking up an ACL injury against Aston Villa in March. New signing, Timothy Castagne looks likely to make his debut on Sunday.
West Bromwich Albion: Johnstone, Furlong, Bartley, Ajayi, Gibbs, Livermore, Sawyers, Diangana, Harper, Pereira, Austin.
Leicester City: Schmeichel, Justin, Ndidi, Soyuncu, Castagne, Mendy, Tielemans, Praet, Gray, Barnes, Vardy.
The two sides last met over two years ago. Claude Puel’s Leicester travelled to The Hawthorns to face a struggling West Brom who sat inside the Premier League’s bottom three.
Salomon Rondon gave the Baggies the lead early on after tapping home from close range. However, this would be the most joy that Alan Pardew’s side would have with the Foxes producing an emphatic comeback.
A superb Vardy volley levelled the scoring in the first half and then Riyad Mahrez gave his team the lead on the hour mark. Leicester ran away with the game from this point on with West Brom heads dropping.
Kelechi Iheanacho made it three and Spanish midfielder Vicente Iborra added a fourth in stoppage time to condemn the Baggies to another defeat, leaving them eight points adrift inside the relegation zone.
Ones to watch
Matheus Pereira hugely impressed in his first season of English football last campaign. He managed to rack up eight goals and 20 assists in 42 games and made his name as of the best players in the Championship.
The Brazilian is likely to come up against a makeshift defence on Sunday with Leicester possibly being forced to start Wilfred Ndidi at centre-back. If Pereira can replicate some of the scintillating football that he played last season in this game, he may be able to lead West Brom to a shock win on the opening day.
Unsurprisingly, Vardy is expected to be a key player for Leicester on Sunday. Last season's top scorer has scored in all four of his trips to the Hawthorns and is known to haunt not only the Baggies defenders but also the fans behind the goal.
There may not be fans in the ground for this game but Vardy will still be aiming to continue his impressive scoring streak.
West Brom defender Ajayi has spoken about his team's attitude as they aim to prove themselves in their return to the Premier League. Speaking to WBA.co.uk, he said: “We’ve put a lot of hard work in over the last 12 months and it’s definitely not a chance we’re going to take lightly.
“I’m massively excited. Everyone has so much belief in each other because we see the quality in the players that we have day in, day out in training so it’s time for us to take that into the Premier League and show everyone else what we’re capable of.”
Leicester have only made one transfer this window and with a busy campaign ahead, the depth of the squad has been questioned. Brendan Rodgers shared his opinion on the situation and hinted at possible incomings in the next few weeks as he spoke to BBC Radio Leicester.
“No we don’t [have enough squad depth], and that’s something I’ve been clear on. When we lost players of quality last season we didn’t have enough depth,” he said. “Hopefully in the following weeks, we’ll have more clarity.”
How to watch
This game kicks off a 14:00 on Sunday 12th September and will be shown live on Sky Sports Main Event.