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EPL: Leicester City v Swansea Preview
Our writer previews the clash between defending champions Leicester and Swansea at the King Power Stadium on Saturday in week three of the 2016/17 English Premier League.
The reign of Leicester City began in somewhat ignominious fashion at Hull, but Claudio Ranieri will feel cautiously optimistic following that pugnacious point against Arsenal. The Gunners did the double over Leicester last season, virtually the only team that made their title quest appear somewhat fraudulent. Swansea have begun in relatively positive fashion and will see this as a magnificent opportunity to exploit the sense of expectation brewing at the King Power Stadium. There will probably be no better time to visit the Foxes fortress this entire season.
Leicester City v Swansea | Saturday 27 August | King Power Stadium | 16:00
To Win (90 Mins)
Leicester City 15/20 | Draw 51/20 | Swansea 39/10
Claudio Ranieri will have been left somewhat aggrieved by Mark Clattenburg's inability to award at least one penalty in that game against Arsenal. Quite frankly, Arsenal were flat and the Foxes missed a major chance to really heap the misery on Wenger. With that being said, there were various positives to be taking from the match. Mendy seemed more comfortable in the holding role while Riyad Mahrez threatened - at times - to rip the congested game apart with his characteristic dribbling abilities. The Algerian will fancy a crack at Naughton or Kingsley; especially considering the fact they may have large swathes of possession - more than they have become traditionally accustomed to having.
Therein lays the dilemma for the Foxes. Teams have finally cottoned on to their rather obvious template and now sit a lot deeper, inviting the Foxes to break them down. Swansea will look to absorb, especially with the likes of Fer, Cork and Barrow in midfield. Vardy will likely have limited opportunities to utilize his speed. This could be a tough assignment for a Foxes side built to be underestimated. They will feel confident that they have enough quality to break the Swans down - especially with the livewire Musa on the bench - but don’t expect Francesco Guidolin's side to go down without a fight.
On paper, one would feel that the Swans would be amongst the favourites to go down this season. This sentiment was exacerbated by the loss of inspirational captain Ashley Williams. But there is something in the DNA of this side that makes it strangely resistant to inevitability. Llorente, though yet to open his account, has provided Swansea with a nominal front man. His movement and physicality will be critical in disrupting that solid partnership between Huth and Morgan.
Sigurdsson’s dead ball expertise was often the difference for Swansea last year. It is actually staggering to think of where the Welsh outfit would be, were it not for Sigurdsson. I expect Guidolin to sit back, with Cork and Fer probably playing in exceptionally deep midfield areas, thus depriving Vardy and Mahrez of the space that they reveled in last season. Routledge and Sigurdsson should provide the ingenuity and pace while Llorente’s vast experience will be an interesting test for Huth and Morgan.
Verdict: Swansea Win/Draw Double Chance (1/1)
I think that the Swans have it in them to outfox the Foxes. They will sit back and absorb the Leicester's pressure and launch penetrative counterattacks. They may not have quite enough to win but I see them at least earning a point against a Leicester side still struggling to adapt to life as a known entity.
Written by Damien Kayat @Hollywoodbets.net