Leicester take on in-form Aston Villa in the Midlands derby this weekend
Leicester to win 3-2
Aston Villa have done wonderfully well to earn three wins out of three to start their season, showing that they have come a long way from their last day escape from relegation last campaign.
Most would consider their wins over Fulham and Sheffield United not particularly interesting, but it was their 7-2 thrashing of Liverpool before the International break that provided one of the biggest shocks in Premier League history.
Their new signings have settled in well, and while they won’t finish in their current 2nd position, they should find themselves comfortably safe in the league at the end of the season.
Leicester have also been terrific, with just one blip coming in the rather poor defeat to West Ham last time out. They also caused a stir, by dishing out a 5-2 beating on the mighty Manchester City.
This should be an entertaining game.
Form Guide (all comps): WWLWL
Reasons to be cheerful:
Only one defeat against Villa in five years
Brendan Rodgers side are attacking brilliantly
Reasons to be fearful:
Several players are injury doubts
3-0 defeat to West Ham derailed their momentum
If it were not for the strange way in which Leicester lost to West Ham, it would have been the perfect start to the season for Brendan Rodgers’ side.
They had just thrashed Man City, with Jamie Vardy scoring a hattrick and several players looking in the form of their lives.
But the West Ham game showed that even the in-form teams can suffer from inconsistency and they will be keen to show that this nothing more than a minor blip.
There are some injury concerns that they will have to manage. Soyuncu is out while his defensive partner Evans is a doubt, as is key striker Vardy. James Maddison should be fit to start in midfield, however.
Wesley Fofana, a new defensive signing, is likely to come straight into the side.
It is likely they will still have too much for Villa this weekend.
Star Man – James Maddison
Scored with a wonder goal against Man City and will want to make up for lost time after injury.
Form Guide (all comps): WWWLW
Reasons to be cheerful
Morale will be sky-high after thrashing Liverpool 7-2
New signings are playing excellently
Reasons to be fearful
Have a poor recent record against Leicester
International players face fatigue
Dean Smith will be absolutely delighted in how his side have started the season.
There was a confident way in which Villa despatched Fulham and Sheffield United that showed fans that this should be a very different season to last. They have their sights set on a top half finish this time around.
The win against Liverpool was the icing on the cake. 7-2 is an absolutely ridiculous scoreline against any side, let alone last season’s champions.
Ollie Watkins with a hattrick will please his manager greatly and is someone who has looked at home in the Premier League so far. Jack Grealish is also playing well.
Fatigue could be a problem – the likes of Luiz, McGinn and Hourihane all featured heavily for their countries over the International break, so squad rotation could be key.
It will be a tall order to continue their form against Leicester this weekend.
Star Man – Ollie Watkins
Was electric against Liverpool, scoring a hattrick. That’s five goals since he joined.
Could be another high-scoring game between two attacking teams
If Vardy is fit then Leicester could edge it
Both sides will fancy their chances of winning this
Although Leicester are favourites here, Villa won’t mind that one bit.
The underdog title could suit them this season, particularly against the top sides. They now have quality to play alongside Grealish in the form of Watkins and scoring goals is no longer the problem for them that it was last season.
If Vardy is fit enough to play, then Leicester will be favourites, particularly with Maddison just behind.
Their defence could be a little shaky without first-choice partnership Evans and Soyuncu and if Villa are at it once again, there could be another surprise on the cards.
Leicester to win 3-2