West Brom Team News
West Brom enter the weekend with only a couple of minor injury concerns. Townsend and Zohore both missed out on the Brighton game with ankle and calf injuries respectively, but that aside, Bilić has a fully fit squad to pick from.
With the current personnel at his disposal I suspect Albion will favour the 4-2-3-1 system as Krovinović, who was instrumental in making the 4-3-3 system work last season, has not finalised a move back to The Hawthorns.
With backup options Harper and Field as the only other centre midfielders that could slot in alongside Livermore and Sawyers, it would appear more likely that Matheus Pereira lines up as a number 10 and being flanked by two of Grady Diangana, Matt Phillips, Kamil Grosicki, Callum Robinson or Kyle Edwards.
As previously mentioned, Kipré could start, although Bilić may prefer Ajayi, Bartley and Hegazi at the heart of the defence after they all enjoyed decent pre-seasons.
All eyes will be on Albion’s striker in this game. Will it be Austin, Robson-Kanu or potentially Callum Robinson that starts? Are they capable of supplying the goals that they couldn’t always provide last season?
Albion Predicted XI: (4-2-3-1)
Leicester’s Team News
Leicester’s injury problems not only affected their performances at the back end of last season, but they also caused a tactical shake up.
At their best, at the beginning of the 2019/20 season, a 4-1-4-1 was their tactic of choice, but after a poor run of form and injuries and suspensions to key players Rodgers opted for a 3-5-2 — either system could be used against Albion on Sunday.
Leicester have some defensive injuries and suspensions that should be noted. Ricardo Pereira and Fuchs are still out, Evans is suspended and can’t play against his former side, whilst Benkovic is out with a hip problem. Morgan is carrying a knock and is expected to take late fitness tests.
That leaves Söyüncü as their only fully fit centre half, so if they were to play with three at the back, expect Justin to slide in at right-sided centre back alongside Söyüncü and Morgan depending on his fitness. Academy prospects Josh Knight or Darnell Johnson could be set for Premier League debuts but interestingly Rodgers also mentioned that he’d be willing to play Ndidi at centre half against Albion.
Whether Rodgers plays two or three centre backs, this is certainly an area for the Baggies to exploit. This definitely isn’t the same calibre of defence that kept thirteen clean sheets last year.
Maddison is the only injury concern for Leicester in the midfield and forward areas. He’s recovering from a hip problem but he’s had no pre-season and will probably be rested. Vardy is the biggest threat that Bilic and his boys will face on Sunday afternoon, but there’s less certainty surrounding who will be assisting Vardy in attacking areas.
Iheanacho had been deployed as a second striker playing behind their mercurial number 9, but this is also a position which Ayoze Pérez has played his best football in. Former Albion favourite Harvey Barnes is also in contention to play.
This uncertainty regarding their lineup and formation is a positive for Albion. This is a Leicester side who don’t know their best XI or their most effective tactical set up, especially when an abundance of key men are absent, which is evident by their results after the restart last season. There is perhaps no better time to play Rodgers’ men.
Predicted Leicester City XI: (5-2-3)