Analysis

FLIP’s Picks In-Play: Aston Villa vs Leicester

Written by Sam Hopkinson

One of the worst teams in the league faces one of the best—and wouldn’t it just be classic if Leicester were to lose this game after a brilliant away performance at Spurs. The Foxes are so deadly at their counter-attacking game, but can they still win when they need to force the issue themselves? Villa actually managed to win a game in the league for the first time since the opening day of the season, so some players might have convinced themselves this is the start of a good run. 8 points from safety seems like a chasm though—it would probably be some kind of record if Villa were to stay up now.

DEFENDER

Joleon Lescott

Beating Crystal Palace would not have been possible but for Lescott’s great showing in defence for Villa. Not only did he help the Villans keep a clean sheet, the Englishman managed to score at the other end to give his side a long-overdue win. As a veteran of many campaigns, it’s up to players like Lescott to try and translate this win into some momentum for a team in desperate need of some positive results. Right now they’re equal to Derby’s record low points tally of 11—perhaps focus on bettering that before any talk of escaping relegation. It’s an honour no one wants.

MIDFIELDER

Danny Drinkwater

One of Leicester’s many success stories over the past year, Drinkwater played well against Spurs in their last outing, drawing a fine save from Hugo Lloris and generally battling all game without the ball. He will be expected to create a little more in this match, and the Foxes ought to win in midfield—despite it being Villa’s strongest position. On this kind of form an England call-up is definitely not out of the question.

STRIKER

Shinji Okazaki

If you watch no other highlight from any other game this season, watch Okazaki score in the FA Cup Third Round 2-2 draw. Whatever it is Leicester have done to unearth these players, you can be certain most of the other teams in the league will try to copy their method. Okazaki works tirelessly all game, running himself into the ground—and is capable of truly wonderful pieces of technical skill. The fearless Japanese striker is another who will be in demand in the summer.

HONOURABLE MENTION

Kasper Schmeichel

Leicester would not have been able to come away with a win in their league game with Spurs had it not been for Schmeichel. A top-drawer save to keep the score 0-0 when Harry Kane thought he’d broken the deadlock is worth replaying. Even if Aston Villa manage to carve out a decent chance against the Foxes, they will have a hard time beating the Danish keeper.

About the author

Sam Hopkinson

Sam has attended matches everywhere from Cambodia to Canada, and is a persistent Spurs fan. If he didn’t have football, he’d probably turn to a life of crime just to get that exhilarating fix. Superstitious enough to believe that picking a player for his fantasy team spells doom for the poor sod.