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EPL: Swansea v Leicester City Preview
Our footy writer previews the enticing EPL contest between Swansea and defending champions Leicester City.
The revival of Swansea under Paul Clement has coincided with the real capitulation of the Leicester City. Observers often speak about the near-mythical six-pointer. I could hardly think of a better example than this, especially with Sunderland and Hull picking up crucial victories last time out.
Swansea were excellent in the second half against a Gabriel Jesus-inspired Manchester City, showcasing the level of organisation and sheer zeal that Clement has injected into the side. Claudio Ranieri’s side were buoyed by FA Cup progression against Derby, but he even stated in a post-match press conference that he would gladly switch cup elimination for three points this weekend.
English Premier League | Sunday 12 February | Liberty Stadium | 18:00
To Win Match (90 Mins)
Swansea 27/20 | Draw 22/10 | Leicester 2/1
The signings of Martin Olsson and Tom Carroll have been integral to the recent success of the club, injecting the side with a vitality that was sorely lacking for the first half of the season. Carroll’s ability to manoeuvre the ball in midfield has greatly reduced the almost sadistic reliance that they have had on Gylfi Sigurdsson.
If Carroll and Sigurdsson are able to evade the attentions of Wilfred Ndidi and Nampalys Mendy, you would expect that Swansea will gain ascendancy in the match. I have been impressed with Mawson’s industry and he will need to watch out for a Jamie Vardy backlash this week.
Olsson will need to be disciplined down that left-hand side, with Riyad Mahrez recently returning to a semblance of form that saw him named PFA Player of the Season last year. Olsson loves to get forward, but he will need to be aware of the crafty Algerian.
Fernando Llorente will feel that he could dominate the beleaguered central-defensive partnership of Robert Huth and Wes Morgan. Sigurdsson’s ability to drift nonchalantly into those dangerous areas around the box will still be their biggest threat this week.
Leicester will be relieved to have finally picked up a victory this year, especially in front of their bedraggled home supporters. I was impressed with the sheer pace and aptitude of young Ben Chilwell down the left.
Surely this would be an opportune time for Ranieri to get Christian Fuchs out of the side. Fuchs has been a persistent defensive liability and has lost all his pace. The performances of Ndidi and Demarai Gray midweek will be a great source of optimism for Foxes fans the world over.
Ranieri will be hoping that Vardy and co will have been emboldened by the midweek heroics of Ndidi and Gray. This is a Leicester side that has really crashed completely under the radar, probably as a result of their heroics in the UEFA Champions League.
The media has only really jumped on to them recently, and I think that people underestimate the level of resilience in this side. We must remember that this was almost the same side that narrowly avoided relegation under Pearson two seasons back. Mahrez looks back to somewhere approaching his best and I’m backing the Foxes to get out of this.
Verdict: Leicester Win (2/1)
Conventional wisdom seems to almost exclusively point towards a Swansea result, but I think that the Foxes have enough quality in their ranks to momentarily silence the same cynics who were left apoplectic by their victory last season.
Written by Damien Kayat