Leicester City will be looking to get back to winning ways when they head to Brighton & Hove Albion this weekend but Brendan Rodgers has a selection headache ahead of the clash on the south coast.
The Foxes secured 1-1 draw on the road against Burnley on Wednesday thanks to a well-taken Kelechi Iheanacho strike, but lacked a cutting edge to take all three points from the match at Turf Moor.
Despite missing a number of important players through injury, including James Maddison and Harvey Barnes, Leicester ground out an important point, but will be hoping to add more creativity to their game against the Seagulls.
Rodgers started with Hamza Choudhury, Nampalys Mendy and Youri Tielemans in a midfield three, however, as Brighton adopt a more possession-based style, there could be room for an attack-minded playmaker to dictate the middle of the park.
A player in contention to take that position is 19-year-old Sidnei Tavares, who came on to make his Premier League debut in midweek having made his Leicester bout as a substitute in the Europa League tie against Slavia Prague. After coming through the Foxes academy, Tavares possesses an abundance of talent but could he be the answer to City’s recent creative woes?
Shining in Maddison’s absence
Rodgers confirmed in his pre-Brighton press conference that Maddison will miss the game, after sitting out the previous three matches with a hip injury he picked up in the 2-1 victory at Aston Villa. Leicester have scored just once in the former Norwich City man’s absence and evidently missed his inventiveness to break down a stubborn Burnley defence.
But after Tavares came on in the 77th-minute, Leicester looked more of a threat going forward with his direct, skilful style of play. Some Foxes fans are still unsure whether he can fully fill the mantle when Maddison is out, however, early signs suggest it might not be the worst idea to give the Portuguese youth international a start on Saturday.
He has shone for the under-23s so far this season in the ‘number 10’ birth just behind the striker which earned himself a senior call-up and the next step in his development could well be starting the midfielder in the first-team. His form for the youth side has also sparked interest from a host of European clubs and has the talent to fulfil his potential with what he has been showing.
Giving youth a chance and resting key players
Leicester have had a hectic fixture schedule of recent late, having played 14 games in 46 days since mid-January in all competitions and some of their key players will require a rest ahead of the run-in.
Tielemans is one of those who has been an ever-present this term, featuring in all but one of Leicester’s 38 matches so far. The last game he missed was the 1-0 defeat to Zorya Luhansk in early December and is due a rest to recharge his batteries. The Belgian has arguably been City’s most influential player recently with his energy and dynamism.
Choudhury and Mendy are likely to continue in midfield, with Ndidi dropping to the bench after he has played in six straight games since returning from injury and Tavares can slot into the more attacking position to give Leicester more of a creative threat.
It will be interesting to see what Rodgers does against Graham Potter’s men but with Chelsea and Everton winning on Thursday, Leicester need to get back to winning ways and continue their push for Champions League football next season.