Zorya Luhansk vs Leicester City: Predicted Starting Line-Up
The Leicester City Players and Officials observe a minute of silence prior to kick-off in memory of Diego Maradona during the Premier League match between Leicester City and Fulham at The King Power Stadium on November 30, 2020, in Leicester, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Last week, Leicester City confirmed their place in the Round of 32 of the Europa League. They now travel to Ukraine to face Zorya Luhansk as they look to try and secure top spot in their group.

The Foxes have enjoyed their time in Europe so far this season and are yet to lose, however, in the Premier League they have experienced back to back losses to Liverpool and Fulham.

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Manager Brendan Rodgers will be keen to use this game to bounce back and bring some more positivity into the camp after a poor result at the King Power Stadium on Monday.

Zorya Luhansk

Zorya currently sit in eighth place in the Ukrainian Premier League and are beginning to pick up form. They are unbeaten in five games and haven’t conceded a goal in their last three, winning 3-0 against AEK Athens in their most recent Europa League game.

Leicester started poorly in the first game between the two sides and Zorya looked dangerous, however, the Foxes' quality did shine through in the end. Although, the Ukrainian side’s performance will leave them ambitious ahead of Thursday’s match.

For the game at the King Power Stadium, Zorya lined up in a 4-3-1-2 formation and played very aggressively before they began to get exposed in the defence.

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They started with both Vladyslav Kabaev and Maksym Luniov upfront with Vladlen Yurchenko in behind them. This was quite a narrow system and lacked wingers which could have caused problems.

In their last game, in which they beat FC Minaj in the league, Zorya started in a 4-4-1-1 formation. This provided more width and they ended up scoring three goals with one coming from wide man Vladyslav Kochergin. He may come into the starting line-up on Thursday.

As well as this, Zorya started with Nikola Vasilj in goal and Joel Abu Hanna and Andrejs Ciganiks in defence. None of these players started the previous game against Leicester so this may make a difference when it comes to their defensive performance.

Leicester City

After the 2-1 loss to Fulham last time out, Leicester will be looking to quickly move on and return to winning ways.

With qualification already confirmed, three points in this game will secure top spot in the group. So with that in mind, will Rodgers play a strong team to get the job done or will he rotate and rest his key players ahead of a big league game at the weekend?

Wilfred Ndidi, Caglar Soyuncu, and Ricardo Pereira have all traveled to Ukraine for the game and may play some part as they complete their return from injury. This fixture may be used to help give them a small amount of game time before fully re-joining the starting 11 in the coming weeks.

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Kasper Schmeichel is expected to keep his place in goal but the defence in front of him may change. Christian Fuchs has played in five consecutive games and may be rested meaning a back four of James Justin, Jonny Evans, Wesley Fofana, and Luke Thomas may be put out.

Although Wes Morgan may come in for rotation purposes and Justin could play at centre-back in a back three if needed with Marc Albrighton starting at right wing-back.

If rotating, Hamza Choudhury will start with either Youri Tielemans or Dennis Praet in the middle. However, Nampalys Mendy may be preferred to start if Rodgers wants a bit more control in the middle.

Cengiz Under is expected to start with Harvey Barnes out wide as both were brought on at half time in the game against Fulham. Jamie Vardy will likely lead the line but Kelechi Iheanacho has performed extremely well in this competition so he can step up if needed.

Predicted Line-Up

Schmeichel, Albrighton, Justin, Fofana, Evans, Thomas, Choudhury, Praet, Under, Barnes, Vardy.

Prediction

Zorya gave a good account of themselves in the first game of the group stage but were still comfortably beaten, so Leicester have already shown their quality and should have enough to win once again.

Even if Rodgers rotates his side, the Foxes will have enough firepower to break down the Ukrainian side. Under, Barnes and Vardy will be hoping to run riot upfront if they start and if they can link up well they may get themselves a fair share of goals.

This could be a convincing victory, however, it may come down to how much Leicester want to win the group or if they are happy enough to settle with qualification as their main achievement with one eye on their dip in form in the Premier League.

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