Birmingham news Leicester City v Aston Villa LIVE updates, team news & match action MetiNews.Com
MetiNews.Com - Dean Smith's Aston Villa head to the King Power Stadium looking to maintain their unbeaten start to the Premier League
Breaking News ! A frantic fortnight has passed since Aston Villa's 7-2 mauling of champions Liverpool and tonight they're up against fourth-placed Leicester City. Dean Smith has spoken of being wary of the Foxes threat prior to kick-off despite talismanic striker Jamie Vardy facing a late fitness test (calf). Villa ripped Liverpool to shreds last time out and it's fully expected Smith will name the exact same starting XI once more with loan ace Ross Barkley in a more advanced No.10 position. Villa, of course, have won all three of their Premier League games to date and go up against Brendan Rodgers' side who have won three and lost one, the latter coming last time out at the King Power Stadium in the shock 3-0 defeat to West Ham. Smith has no real injury concerns ahead of tonight's kick-off with Keinan Davis likely to be among the subs having sustained a calf injury in midweek. As for Leicester the East Midlanders could have as many as FOUR first-team players out through injury including Vardy, Caglar Soyuncu, Dennis Praet and Jonny Evans. James Maddison is also struggling and isn't expected to start. Last season, Leicester trounced Villa 8-1 on aggregate over both league meetings which included the last Premier League match that was played with a crowd prior to lockdown back in March. Villa, though, had the last laugh in the cup and beat Leicester in the semi-finals over two legs. Tonight's fixture is on Sky Sports Box Office for that much-talked about £14.95 price tag. Villa correspondent Ashley Preece will be inside the King Power bringing you the very latest in terms of team news, match action, goal alerts and post-match reaction. Stay tuned and keep up-to-date with our live blog, below, which automatically updates.Marc Albrighton lifts lid on his Villa exit in 2014Predicted Villa line-up: Barkley behind Watkins againOur predicted Aston Villa line-up for Leicester City this eveningWe're tougher to beat - Dean SmithLeicester City's Jamie Vardy (second right) scores his side's third goal of the game against Aston Villa (Image: Nigel French/PA Wire)It was a sorry Monday night the last time Villa travelled to Leicester with Dean Smith’s side on the brunt-end of a 4-0 whooping.When asked what’s changed since that grim evening, head coach Smith said:We’re tougher to beat. Defensively, from the front, our work rate and work ethic without the ball. And that’s down to fitness issues as well that we were able to deal with during the lockdown. It’s certainly improved us. I actually thought we had started that game (vs Leicester) well. We gave a poor goal away when Pepe ran out. In the second half a penalty was given away which wouldn’t be given this season - and I didn’t think it should have been last season.It was the way we felt sorry for ourselves in the last 15 minutes and conceded a soft couple of goals. It turned out to be a watershed moment because we went into lockdown and managed to return to form after that.I’ve always felt our players would be better the fitter they have got. I feel we have added genuine quality to that now. We feel a good team.Chemistry gone up another level - Ezri KonsaMahmoud Trezeguet and Ezri Konsa of Aston Villa celebrate win at FulhamVilla’s in-form centre-back Ezri Konsa has spoken about the confidence within the group, and said:It’s been a great start for us. We’ve carried on our form from last season, and we need keep going and keep the focus on ourselves.
.We’re definitely expecting a tough game against Leicester – it’s always tough against them.They’re a very good team. They lost their last game 3-0 (against West Ham) and I’m sure they’ll want to come back and get a victory.Leicester City's injury crisis explainedHere’s the latest from our colleagues at Leicestershire Live regarding the Foxes’ injury-hit squad:Wesley Fofana is set to make his Leicester City debut when an injury-hit side take on Aston Villa on Sunday evening.The £32m summer signing is the only one of five centre-backs in the City squad definitely fit for the Midlands derby.The teenager was an unused substitute in the 3-0 defeat to West Ham before the international break, but should now get his chance.However, who partners him and in which formation is uncertain.Caglar Soyuncu and Daniel Amartey are out, while there are concerns over Jonny Evans and Wes Morgan. Evans returned from international duty with an abdominal pain, but manager Brendan Rodgers said he was hopeful the Northern Irishman would be available. Morgan is more likely to be fit, but his long-standing back problem could keep him out.With fewer options, Rodgers is more likely to revert to a back four with Fofana and Evans or Morgan in the middle, but if neither of the two veterans are fit, a back three of Fofana, James Justin and Christian Fuchs would be the likely option.More HERE.We've been stung at the King Power before - Dean SmithAston Villa head coach Dean Smith arrives at the King Power Stadium for his side's clash at Leicester City (Image: Plumb Images/Getty Images)Dean Smith has spoken about today’s opponents who, let’s not forget, stuck five past Man City a few weeks back. Here’s what Smith’s said about Leicester:We have to be very respectful of a team that’s gone to Manchester City and won 5-2. We won 7-2 against Liverpool, so there are two teams there that are very good.We’ve been stung there [the King Power] a couple of times last season and we have to make sure we continue our level of performance on Sunday.We have to be at our best. The last time we played there we got beat 4-0 just before lockdown.We’ve started the season well, there’s confidence within the group and a belief that we’re better this season. It’s a tough game but one we’re looking forward to.Good afternoonAfternoon all, Ash checking in. I’m back in after a week off and, like you, I’m really looking forward to seeing Dean Smith’s early-season entertainers once more. It feels like a good time to play Leicester given their injury concerns while it’ll still be a good test knowing Brendan Rodgers’ side beat Villa 8-1 over two Premier League meetings last term.This, as you all well know, is a different Aston Villa this time around - a more resolute and dangerous side in equal measure. Kick-off for this one is 7.15pm with team news from 6.15pm.
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