Express & Star

Aston Villa v Leicester City preview

Few are the occasions in Villa’s history when a home win over Leicester City would have been considered a statement.


Yet that is precisely what Dean Smith’s men will deliver should they turn over the Foxes tomorrow. Even a draw would be a significant result.

Leicester arrive in B6 the Premier League’s hottest commodity, their recent form even eclipsing that of runaway leaders Liverpool.

Brendan Rodgers’ men have won their last seven league matches – their last eight in all competitions – to surge up to second in the table.

“They are on a fantastic run of form,” acknowledged Smith. “But we believe we are too at Villa Park, there aren’t many teams who will come away from our ground and think they’ve had an easy game.

“We’ll be up for it, our supporters will be up for it. We’re ready and prepared to stop their run.”

Villa, as Smith suggests, will take confidence from a home record which includes a strong performance, albeit in agonising defeat, against Liverpool.

In addition to trying to end Leicester’s winning streak, the hosts will also be aiming to become the first team since Liverpool on October 5 to stop Jamie Vardy finding the net.

All told, the striker has scored 11 goals in his last nine Premier League appearances, including at least one in each of the last seven.

“He is a handful,” said Smith. “I see people playing high lines against him and he uses the space in behind really well.

“I have seen low lines, low blocks and he is still getting in behind teams. You just have to make sure your defenders are really good on the day, but also stop the supply lines to him.

“That is one of the biggest things too. But they are a very good team with very good players and a very good coach. When you get those ingredients you usually get a very good team.”

“He (Vardy) is a late grower into the game and is certainly flourishing.

“I think people thought maybe the season they became champions was his big season and might have been the top. But he is certainly showing and proving to everyone there is still life in him.” Anwar El Ghazi (knee) was due to train today after missing Wednesday’s defeat at Chelsea and could return.

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