Aston Villa-Leicester City Preview
Leicester City have made a surprisingly good start under new boss Claudio Ranieri and will be in a confident mood ahead of Sunday's match against Aston Villa at the King Power Stadium.
The Foxes (2-2-0) opened the season with back-to-back victories over Sunderland and West Ham before twice rallying from a goal down to earn 1-1 draws against Bournemouth and Tottenham Hotspur.
Leicester has lost just one of their last 13 top-flight matches dating back to last season, going 9-3-1, and the lone loss was a 3-1 defeat to Chelsea.
Foxes midfielder Marc Albrighton, who admits to having a number of Villa fans in his family, is looking forward to facing his former club.
"I won't approach the game any differently," Albrighton told Leicester's official website. "Obviously there's a bit more riding on it in terms of bragging rights with my family. Other than that it's pretty much the same as usual. I'll go into the game, prepare myself well and look to do as well as I can.
"I think it's been a bit of a mixed bag (for Villa so far this season). They've got a lot of new faces in and that will take a while to gel but it'll be interesting to see what kind of team they put out – whether they use them all or stick with some of the lads that have been there a while for that stability. Either way we'll go into in the game the same way we always do."
Villa (1-1-2) opened with a 1-0 win at Bournemouth and then slumped to consecutive defeats against Manchester United and Crystal Palace. The Villans regrouped to collect their fourth point of the campaign with a 2-2 home draw against Sunderland on Aug. 29, with Scott Sinclair scoring both goals for the Midlanders.
Villa boss Tim Sherwood was unhappy with the timing of the international break, which he argued did not help his side.
"The break was disruptive as we played so well against Sunderland," Sherwood told a pre-match press conference. "We had momentum. It's fragmented and it's a bit of an annoyance.
"That's part and parcel of having international footballers at the football club."
Switzerland midfielder Gokhan Inler, a summer signing from Italian club Napoli, is in line to make his full Premier League debut for Leicester.
Villa's Idrissa Gueye is doubtful after suffering a hamstring injury on international duty with Senegal, while fellow midfielders Jack Grealish and Adama Traore face late tests on ankle problems.
Both teams won their home matches in the league last season. Leicester triumphed 1-0 in January at the King Power Stadium with Paul Konchesky scoring in first-half stoppage time. The Villans won 2-1 a month earlier at Villa Park, with Ciaran Clark and Alan Hutton scoring after Leonardo Ulloa put the Foxes in front after 13 minutes.
These sides also met in the fifth round of last season's FA Cup, with Villa advancing 2-1 at home. Leandro Bacuna and Sinclair scored second-half goals before Andrej Kramaric pulled one back in stoppage time. Villa would eventually reach the final, where they would fall 4-0 to Arsenal at Wembley.
Leicester have lost only one of nine Premier League home games against Aston Villa, posting four wins and four draws.
A draw has been the most common result in the 18 Premier League meetings between these sides, with the points split eight times. Leicester have six wins and Villa four.