Leicester City have been struggling at home and abroad, and Kevin Hatchard believes they could have a nervy night against Legia Warsaw...
"Leicester have been vulnerable defensively all season, and even against a struggling side like Legia, they can't be trusted to keep a clean sheet."
Leicester City v Legia Warsaw
Thursday 25 November, 20:00
Live on BT Sport 2
After a flood of roses, some brickbats are finally being hurled at Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers. Despite his impassioned pleas that he isn't interested in a move to Manchester United, the speculation hasn't done him any favours, with the Foxes having their toughest spell of his reign.
Rodgers has set the bar incredibly high. He narrowly missed out on qualification for the Champions League in each of the last two seasons, and delivered the FA Cup last term, beating the future European champions Chelsea in the final. Comparatively, this season has been a big disappointment. Leicester's timid 3-0 defeat at home to Chelsea (which brought rare boos from the crowd at the King Power, something that didn't impress the manager) left the club closer to the bottom three than the top four.
Defensive instability has been the chief feature of the season so far. A pre-season injury to the incredibly talented Wesley Fofana has proved to be a massive blow, and Caglar Soyuncu's miserable experience with Turkey at Euro 2020 seems to have shattered his confidence.
Leicester have leaked 21 goals in 12 Premier League games, and they haven't kept a single clean sheet in the Europa League. They also have the worst record in the Premier League when it comes to defending set plays, something Rodgers insists is being worked on.
Key midfielder Youri Tielemans is still out, while James Justin and Wesley Fofana are long-term casualties. Ricardo Pereira is short of full fitness, and may not be risked.
Legia staring into the abyss
As title defences go, Legia Warsaw's this season in the Polish Ekstraklasa is becoming memorable for all the wrong reasons. The capital club have lost ten of their first 13 games in the top flight, and even a change of coach hasn't stopped the rot. Legia have lost their last seven league matches, conceding at least three goals in five of those defeats.
It's worth remembering that when it comes to Polish football, Legia is an enormous club. They have won 15 Ekstraklasa titles, including the last two, and they have won the Polish Cup 19 times. They were playing in the group stage of the Champions League as recently as 2017.
Given this season's collapse, it's all the more remarkable that Legia were able to win their first two games of this UEL group stage, and they have scored in three of their four outings. If they win this game at the King Power, they could eliminate Leicester from the competition.
Former Foxes winger Bartosz Kapustka is injured, while Joel Abu Hanna is also on the sidelines.
Foxes are favourites, but can we trust them?
Even in their current form, Leicester are right to be favourites here against a Legia side that is completely out of form and that was smacked 4-1 and 3-0 by Napoli. However, a price of 1.182/11 for the hosts in the Match Odds market doesn't appeal, given that the Foxes haven't won a game in 90 minutes for a month, and that it could be quite a nervy affair.
If you want to boost the price, I would back the home win and both teams to score at 2.8815/8. Legia are losing games, but they have found the net in 11 of their last 14 matches, while Leicester haven't managed a shut-out at home since August.
Legia have raised their game in the UEL, so I'll simply back both teams to score on the Exchange at 2.3211/8. Just backing Legia to score a goal gets you odds of 2.26/5 on the Sportsbook.
Harvey to hit the net?
Keep an eye on the team news, but Harvey Barnes is worth backing in the To Score market at 2.3411/8. He has found the net in three of his last nine appearances, including the recent 1-1 draw at Leeds, and he scored against Napoli at the King Power on Matchday One.
On the Legia side of things, defender Mateusz Wieteska has scored a couple of goals in the Ekstraklasa this term, and the 6ft 2in centre-back is a whopping 36.035/1 to score here. Given Leicester's inability to defend at free-kicks and corners, that price is worth considering.
KEVIN HATCHARD 2021-22 EUROPA LEAGUE P/L
Points Staked: 24
Points Returned: 19.42
P/L: -4.38 points
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