Five point preview: Leicester
AFC Bournemouth travel to the King Power Stadium to face Leicester City this weekend, so we picked out five points to preview ahead of the clash.
Foxes this season
Claude Puel’s side have had a steady season so far in 2017/18. Nine wins, nine draws and ten losses see them sat eighth in the Premier League table and seemingly safe for another year.
The Foxes could even push for a Europa League spot, being just one point behind Burnley in seventh. The position will guarantee qualification should the FA Cup winners have secured their place in Europe via the Premier League.
Head to head
AFC Bournemouth are unbeaten in their previous five games against Leicester, but it’s consistently been a rather close encounter.
With four draws and one Cherries win, there’s been little between the two sides. The victory for Eddie Howe’s men came in December 2016, with the then champions ousted 1-0 at Vitality Stadium.
The Foxes can be buoyed by their recent FA Cup run. Fleetwood, Peterborough and Sheffield United have all been defeated by Claude Puel’s side, who will now go on to face Chelsea in the quarter-finals later this month.
With Premier League status looking to be confirmed for another season, it may be a competition that Puel and his side decide to target, after coming so close to reaching the Carabao Cup semi-finals, losing out on penalties to Manchester City.
Vardy’s on fire
The Cherries will have to be wary of in form Foxes striker Jamie Vardy. The England international has netted in five of his six last games, as well as on ten other occasions this season.
Goals against Manchester United, Tottenham and Everton have helped his side avoid defeat, whilst he also bagged against Liverpool at Anfield in what was a narrow defeat.
Leicester’s Shinji Okazaki has been absent from the Foxes’ previous three games due to a knee injury, but could return this Saturday against the Cherries.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Claude Puel commented: “He came back this week in the squad and we will see tomorrow if he can come into the squad for the next game or not.”
Media View: Lowdown on Leicester
AFC Bournemouth travel to Leicester City this weekend looking to get back to winning ways in the Premier League.
But how do the hosts at the King Power Stadium look as they approach the game? We got the inside scoop from Leicester Mercury's Leicester writer Rob Tanner, who also wrote the acclaimed book '5000/1 - the Leicester City Story.'
First things first Rob, is this a big game for Leicester?
The game this weekend has now taken on great significance really. They’re not on the best of runs in terms of results and there’s a frustration at the last two home draws against Swansea and Stoke -teams they were expected to beat.
Especially as they’ve made it clear that 7th place could earn a place in the Europa League if the FA Cup is won by a side in Europe. They’re replacing large emphasis on this one, with Claude Puel demanding a response.
What went wrong for the sides in those two draws then?
It was going along so well around Christmas, they won four on the bounce and looked the strongest side challenging for that seventh spot.
But then the transfer window opened and there was a bit of uncertainty over Riyad Mahrez – that’s not the only reason for their dip but I think it has been a disrupting factor.
We all know what happened before that Everton game and it started a recent run of two points from four games – Mahrez is back in the fold and it’s quite evident there’s a large emphasis on him to be creative for the team.
Is there a big reliance on Mahrez and Jamie Vardy then for the Foxes?
In recent performances, they’ve been looking to get the ball to Mahrez to create, some other players need to help with the responsibility – he’s come of the back of a recent run of scoring five in five consecutive games, but Jamie Vardy has increasingly isolated.
He has one chance a game and takes it, he’s their only goal scorer at the moment and I think there is too much reliance on the pair.
Are there any other players to look out for?
Marc Albrighton is a very underrated player in my opinion. He delivers a great ball, he’s a bit like Beckham – I’m not comparing him to Beckham as a superstar but he’s similar in the sense of the gets wide, gets the ball out of his feet and delivers a great ball.
He plays on the left so he checks back onto his right, most of those crosses though go to waste as Vardy is the only real striker.
At the other end, how are things looking at the back for Leicester?
Well, Wes Morgan is back in, it’s the longest time he’s been out injured I’ve ever known, he’s made of iron!
Harry Maguire has been excellent, everyone is talking about him and he is tailor made for international football. He’s still learning defensively – he’s been caught out a few times being too tight and being pulled out of position, but he’s improved a lot.
On the ball, he’s really impressed charging out of defence, that’s something Bournemouth will have to be aware of this weekend.
Just finally, how’s Leicester’s home form been?
It’s been very good up until the last couple of games where they’ve been expected to win, they’re strong on home soil.
The crowd are always behind them and there’s a good atmosphere, the frustration is growing however as the other clubs challenging for 7th have dropped points so it’s up for grabs, even Arsenal’s form in 6th means that there’s a lot to play for.
City need to start winning or they'll drift away, so there could be a little tension in the crowd.
Andrew Surman prepares for training.
Joshua King posing for the camera.
Jordon Ibe heads over to Vitality Stadium for training.
Simon Francis on the ball.
Jermain Defoe tries to divert goalwards.
The players mark each other in a training match.
Eddie Howe instructs his squad.
Callum Wilson takes on Nathan Ake.
Asmir Begovic in goal during a training game.
Lewis Cook demanding the ball.
Jermain Defoe picks out a pass.
Ryan Fraser refuels during the session.
Jack Simpson trying a new way of defending the goal.
Lewis Cook sprays the ball.
Junior Stanislas is all smiles.
Adam Smith looking focused ahead of Saturday.
Eddie Howe oversees his players.
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Ref watch: Probert in charge again
Lee Probert will officiate AFC Bournemouth's game with Leicester City this weekend, and the referee has seemingly been a good luck charm for the Cherries this season.
Probert has refereed Eddie Howe's side on four occasions this campaign, and the Cherries have won all four of those games - Stoke away, Huddersfield and Everton at home and Chelsea away.
James Hayter's fastest ever Football League hat-trick recently had it's 14 year anniversary and coincidentally, Probert was the official that day as well.
He has officiated 23 games in total this season, 11 in the top flight, nine in the EFL and three in cup competitions.
The 45-year-old has refereed in the Premier League since his promotion to the panel of Select Group Referees in 2007.