30th September 2017
Bournemouth vs Leicester City
Kick off 3pm
My most recent memory of the Vitality Stadium was a 1-0 victory back in February 2014. When I say recent memory, I mean it was the last time I’d watched Leicester down on the south coast.
Super Kevin Phillips scored nine minutes from time sending the travelling Blue Army into raptures, including me, who’d managed to run down to the front along with other Leicester fans and celebrate with the players.
It turned out to be his last professional goal, before retiring at the end of that season; his famous ‘elderly man walk’ celebration (if you can call it that…) was made all the more funny and perfect as a result.
That goal sent the Foxes 10 points clear of second place QPR at the top of the Sky Bet Championship.
I love going through past memories as a football fan, it really makes it all the more special.
Back to this upcoming fixture between the sides, and already so early in the season, you could call this game a six-pointer. Both teams have struggled to put points on the board early doors, and as a result find themselves occupying two out of the bottom four positions in the table.
On paper, this game could go either way.
The only team with less points than Bournemouth this season are Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace, who are yet to win or even score in six attempts. Leicester haven’t exactly done much better,
with four points from a possible 18, winning just one game.
In the league, Bournemouth concede on average 1.83 goals a game, which for Eddie Howe would be a real concern. His side have only scored four goals too, with half of them coming in their only win of the season against Brighton.
With both sides seeming to struggle with defending, one area I looked at was goals per game this season.
Leicester’s six games so far have averaged 3.67 a game, Bournemouth averaging 2.67- the league average is 2.55 goals a game.
Bournemouth (HOME), and Leicester (AWAY), two out of each team’s three games in those categories have ended 0-0 at halftime.
This shows to me that both of these sides are classic ‘second-half teams’, which also leads me to believe that there won’t be many goals come Saturday afternoon.
Leicester haven’t kept a clean sheet away from home this season, and Bournemouth have scored in two of their three home games.
So in my opinion with Leicester’s defensive frailties, Bournemouth will score.
However on the flip side, the same can be said for Bournemouth.
They haven’t kept a clean sheet at home, and Leicester have scored in two of their three away games. So in that sense, these teams couldn’t be any more equal.
Three of the previous six games between the sides have ended in a draw, with Bournemouth only winning one; all roads point to a draw.
One more interesting stat to complete this section surrounds possession. Expect Leicester to hit Bournemouth on the break, as the Foxes only average 38.57% possession, although seem to still create openings, averaging 7.86 shots a game.
As always, we’ll round that up to eight…
This should be an open game, but a game in which not many chances are taken.
I would love Leicester to come away with all three points, obviously…
However, I can’t see it. I don’t know whether it’s because our form hasn’t been the best or just because we’re away from home- maybe it’s a combination of the two, but I just feel that a point here wouldn’t be a bad one.
If you asked ‘Shakey’ before the game would he take a point at the Vitality, of course, he’d tell you he’d want all three, but in reality, he’d snap your hand off and run. A point would not be an awful result, but if West Ham beat Swansea, then that point becomes irrelevant- Leicester will join the Cherries in the bottom three.
Josh King is the main threat for Eddie Howe’s side, with his pace, trickery and eye for goal, top scoring with two goals. Wes Morgan and Harry Maguire will need to be at it for 95 minutes to keep him quiet.
Other threats include England striker Jermain Defoe, and left-back Charlie Daniels, who you’ll remember scoring that stunner against Man City a few weeks ago.
Will Leicester change tact after their 3-2 defeat to Liverpool on Tuesday night? I’d like to see Iborra start, and Gray too. Gray left wing, Mahrez right, Iborra and Ndidi central midfielders, Iheanacho in the hole, Vardy up top- that’s what I’d like.
Mr Shakespeare, if you’re reading this…
As much as I don’t like doing this, I think I’m going to sit on the fence for this one and hope Leicester take all three.
Bournemouth 1-1 Leicester