Leicester vs Wolves: Pre-match analysis

In what will be a fascinating spectacle, VAVEL analyses Leicester City and Wolverhampton Wanderers ahead of the game on Sunday. 

Parallel recent histories

Both Leicester and Wolves have very similar recent histories with regards to falling from grace and rising back to the top.

In 2008, Leicester were relegated into League One. They gained promotion straight away, finishing 1st and after a few years of life in the top half of the Championship, they gained promotion into the Premier League

Similarly, Wolves found themselves relegated into the third tier of English football in 2013. Then just like Leicester, after being crowned champions of League one, followed by a few years of Championship football, the path was eventually paved to the Premier League. 

Of course, Leicester have lifted the Premier League title, a feat Wolves have yet to do. This season though, both of the teams from the Midlands find themselves in very similar positions.

Two teams in good form

Leicester are right now the 2nd best team in the league in every department. They currently occupy second in the league with 15 points, sitting just behind current champions Liverpool.

They also have the joint second-most goals scored, joint second least goals conceded and joint second goal difference in the league.

Wolves on the other hand find themselves in 6th on 13 points. Going into the weekend, they share the best defensive record with Manchester City, having only conceded 8 goals.

It is on the other side of the pitch where Wolves have struggled, with only the current bottom four teams in the league having scored fewer goals than Wolves' eight so far.

Compare that to Leicester's seventeen and you begin to ask questions. Yet, both teams are only separated by the fact that Wolves drew one of their games. 

It is key to note here that Leicester have won all of their away games, but have lost two of their three home games so far. Although it has only been three games, it still represents a potential weakness that Wolves may look to exploit. 

Past meetings both historically and recently

In all competitive matches, the teams have met 115 times. Wolves just edge the foxes out, having won 43 meetings to Leicester's 38, with 34 games drawn. In terms of percentages, Wolves have won 37% of the games, Leicester have won 33%, with 30% of them being draws.

Taking a look at both clubs in the Premier League from when Wolves were promoted tells a slightly different story. The clubs have played each other four times in the league and once in the League Cup. Three games have been draws and the other two have been a home win for both teams. 

Interestingly, three of those recent meetings have been 0-0 draws. However, Wolves' victory was in the form of a 4-3 score line in 2019, unlike the 4-3 classic in 2003 between the two sides. This suggests either a very close game or a gung-ho, ding-dong battle could occur between the sides.

Key men to watch for Leicester

Leicester have been unstoppable at times, managing to put five past Manchester City and most recently four past Leeds United. His age might still be getting higher, but Jamie Vardy is still finding the net, scoring seven goals this season. 

After a bright start to the season, Leicester will be without full-back Timothy Castagne after the Belgian pulled his hamstring. They do have Harvey Barnes, who is in great form this season. Youri Tielemans will also be looking to put in another fantastic performance, after his last outing against Leeds. There is still the potential that James Maddison may finally come into form too.

With the ever consistent Kasper Schmeichel in goal and the so-far-solid James Justin in front of him in defence, Wolves will no doubt have to do something special to get the ball in the back of Leicester's net. 

Key men to watch for Wolves

Wolves are very much a team building momentum, with the last two games seeing much more creativity and fluidity in the final third. Raul Jimenez has an amazing knack of finding goals out of nowhere for the Wanderers, having scored half of the club's goals this season.

Daniel Podence and Pedro Neto have managed to keep Adama Traore on the bench and the two wingers are beginning to find their feet in the Premier League. With Ruben Neves finding his passing range against Crystal Palace, it will be interesting to see if he can continue to give Wolves the width they like to work with. 

It is more in defence that Wolves have flourished this season. Eventually, people will stop mentioning futsal when they talk about Maximilian Kilman and focus more on what the young Englishman is bringing to the team in old gold. His performances have been fantastic and has only conceded one goal so far this season.

With both Conor Coady and Willy Boly beside him, the defence has been a rigorously strong unit. This defensive unit will be essential to keeping Leicester at bay and let the Wolves attack to find a way past Schmeichel. 

In the middle of the park is a man that has been fantastic for Wolves, yet has not been getting much of the glory. Leander Dendoncker has been the 'engine' in the Wolves midfield, providing energy, grit and protection, not to mention those incredible dashes he makes into the opposition's penalty box. 

Overall

Leicester have an exciting attack, but Wolves have a solid defence. If Wolves can keep Leicester out, they then may look to exploit a side that have struggled at home so far. But Wolves have struggled for goals too, so this may be decided by a silly mistake or a flash of genius. Yet, this season has been completely strange and another 4-3 may be on the cards.

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