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Match Previews

PREVIEW: ALBION V LEICESTER CITY

29 March 2018

Kieran Cleeves
Albion welcome Leicester City to the Amex Stadium on Saturday.

Brighton & Hove Albion return to Premier League action this weekend, following a two-week international break, and Leicester City are the visitors to the Amex Stadium on Saturday afternoon, kick-off 3pm.

The Seagulls head into the match following defeats to Everton and Manchester United in the Premier League and Emirates FA Cup respectively, but Chris Hughton’s team had previously strung together seven unbeaten matches.

Albion find themselves in 12th position after 30 matches, while the Foxes occupy eighth place in the league table, six points ahead of the Seagulls with eight matches remaining.

Claude Puel’s team head to the Amex on the back of an FA Cup defeat to Chelsea, but recorded a convincing 4-1 victory over West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns last time out in the Premier League.


TEAM NEWS:

Hughton confirmed that Gaetan Bong will be fit after recovering from injury, but a late decision will be made on the participation of Dale Stephens.

Otherwise, Steve Sidwell (back and ankle) remains Albion's only absentee for Saturday's match.

Daniel Amartey could return for the Foxes after missing the club’s last match due to a hamstring injury, while Robert Huth (ankle) remains a doubt for Puel’s team.




REVERSE FIXTURE:

Albion’s first-ever Premier League away fixture came at the King Power Stadium back in August, and the Foxes claimed a comfortable 2-0 win against Hughton’s newcomers.

The Seagulls were still finding their feet in the division, following an opening day defeat to Manchester City at the Amex, and the hosts were rarely threatened after taking an early lead.

Shinji Okazaki fired the home side ahead inside the opening minute of the match, before Harry Maguire’s second-half header made things comfortable for the Foxes, who began the season with Craig Shakespeare in charge.


FORM:

The Seagulls were eliminated from the FA Cup at Old Trafford before the international break, as goals from Romelu Lukaku and Nemanja Matic sealed a 2-0 victory for Manchester United.

Albion’s run of seven matches without defeat was ended by Everton at Goodison Park, as another 2-0 defeat prevented Hughton’s team from picking up points on the road.

Three successive home wins came before that, including a 2-1 success against Arsenal and victories over Swansea City and Coventry City in league and cup competitions respectively.

February began with another eye-catching win at the Amex, as goals from Glenn Murray, Jose Izquierdo and Pascal Gross saw off West Ham United 3-1 on the south coast.

The Foxes also dropped out of the FA Cup at the quarter-final stage, and it was Chelsea who progressed to the final four, as Pedro headed home in extra time to seal a 2-1 win at the King Power Stadium.

Puel’s side ended a five-match winless run of Premier League games at the Hawthorns, as the Foxes found the back of the net four times to add to West Brom’s relegation worries.

Home draws against AFC Bournemouth, Stoke City and Swansea City came in Leicester’s five games without a win, in amongst away defeats at Manchester City and Everton.


LAST TIME OUT: ALBION

MANCHESTER UNITED 2
Lukaku 37
Matic 83

ALBION 0

Albion line-up: Krul; Schelotto, Duffy, Dunk, Suttner; Propper, Gross, Kayal; March (Izquierdo 68), Ulloa (Murray 76), Locadia.

Subs not used: Maenpaa (GK), Bruno, Goldson, Sanders, Baldock.


LAST TIME OUT: LEICESTER CITY



LEICESTER CITY 1
Vardy 76

CHELSEA 2
Morata 42
Pedro 105

Leicester City line-up: Schmeicel; Simpson (Diabate 106), Morgan, Maguire, Chilwell; Mahrez, Iborra (Silva 106), Ndidi, Albrighton (Gray 115); Iheanacho (Okazaki 68), Vardy.

Subs not used: Hamer (GK), Dragovic, Fuchs.




PLAYER TO WATCH: Riyad Mahrez

The Algerian signed for the Foxes in January 2014 and helped the team reach the top flight in his first season at the club, before making his Premier League debut later that year.

Mahrez took a while to adapt to Premier League football, but the 27-year-old came into his own during the 2015/16 campaign, which remarkably saw Leicester win the league with three matches remaining.

The winger fired 17 goals and claimed ten assists in 37 appearances that season, before scoring four goals in the Champions League the following season, as the Foxes reached the quarter-finals of the competition.

Mahrez has been in superb form for Puel’s team this season, and already has ten goals and nine assists in the Premier League, as he continues to cause havoc for opposing full-backs up and down the country.


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