Brendan Rodgers says his Leicester City team “have to fight” if they are to end their shocking run of form away at Aston Villa on Saturday.
The Foxes have picked up just one point from a possible 15 since returning from the World Cup break, a patch that leaves them just one point above the relegation zone.
They will look to get back to winning ways against Villa, though that could prove a tough task with Unai Emery’s men having been victorious in three of their last four matches.
Rodgers wants his team to battle against Villa, telling reporters: “It’s a derby game. It’s a great stadium to play at.
“We want to play our football but also know we have to fight.”
Since replacing Steven Gerrard as Villa head coach, Emery has led Villa away from the bottom three and all the way up to 11th.
The former Arsenal boss wants his side to be ruthless and take advantage of any doubt Leicester players may have after their winless run.
“They have very good players,” Emery said. “But maybe they are in a moment where they don’t feel 100 per cent confident.
“They are towards the bottom of the table and they are going to try and win against us.
“We are playing at home, at Villa Park, and we need points because we can get into the top 10.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Aston Villa – Douglas Luiz
Douglas Luiz has the joint-most assists (four) and most chances created (23) of any Villa player in the Premier League this season, and has been involved in four goals in his last six league games (one goal, three assists), as many as he had in his previous 37 appearances. Can he continue that hot streak here?
Leicester City – Harvey Barnes
Barnes has been directly involved in five goals in his four Premier League starts against Villa (four goals, one assist), while only against Leeds (five) has he scored more goals in the competition than his four against the Villans. He will look to be a thorn in their side once again.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– Villa have won two of their last four Premier League games against Leicester (50 per cent), having won just 18 per cent of their first 22 against them in the competition (won four, drawn nine, lost nine).
– Both teams have scored in 12 of the 13 Premier League meetings between Villa and Leicester at Villa Park, with the exception being a 2-0 win for the Foxes in December 2001. Only Middlesbrough (15 vs Man Utd) and Fulham (14 vs Man City) have played more home games without ever keeping a clean sheet in the Premier League than Villa’s 13 against Leicester.
– Villa have won five of their seven Premier League games under Emery (drawn one, lost one), as many wins as they had in their previous 24 matches in the competition (six draws, 13 defeats). However, both games they have failed to win so far under the Spaniard have come at home (1-3 vs Liverpool, 1-1 vs Wolves).
– Since the Premier League restarted after the World Cup break, no team has lost more games (four) or won fewer points (one) than Leicester, while only Everton (11) have conceded more goals than the Foxes (10). Leicester had won four of their five games before the World Cup (lost one), keeping a clean sheet in each victory.
– Since his debut for the club in September 2020, Ollie Watkins has been involved in more than twice as many Premier League goals as any other Villa player (40 – 29 goals, 11 assists). However, he has never scored or assisted in four games against Leicester, only facing Chelsea more often without registering a single goal involvement (five games).