Busy start for Leicester
Leicester have had a slow start in the Premier League with six points from their opening five matches, leaving them 12th in the table, although they have been busy in other competitions too.
Brendan Rodgers’ side won 2-0 at Millwall in the League Cup on Wednesday night, earning a fourth-round tie at home to Brighton. After a 2-2 home draw with Napoli in their first Europa League match, the Foxes travel to Legia Warsaw next Thursday.
Rodgers has Ayoze Perez available again after a three-match ban. Kelechi Iheanacho and Ademola Lookman are in contention for their first league starts after scoring the League Cup goals in midweek.
Rodriguez hits scoring form
Burnley are second bottom after taking just a point from their first five matches. Having finished 17th last season, albeit well clear of the bottom three, they look set to be involved in the relegation battle this time.
Like Leicester, Sean Dyche’s side advanced in the League Cup in midweek, winning 4-1 at home to Rochdale to set up a fourth-round home tie against Tottenham.
Jay Rodriguez scored all four goals and will be hard to leave out of the starting line-up here. Maxwel Cornet, the headline signing of the summer in a £13 million move from Lyon, is also in contention after making an assist on his first start on Tuesday.
Josh Brownhill missed the cup game with a dead leg but could be ready now. Kevin Long and Connor Roberts are getting closer to match fitness after lengthy layoffs.
For a club with European ambitions, it is worrying that Leicester have lost three of their first five Premier League games, although there are a couple of points worth noting.
The first is that the teams who have beaten them (West Ham, Manchester City and Brighton) are all in the top eight in the early standings, while the matches Leicester have won were against teams below that level. This fits with the Foxes’ strong record against teams below the top eight last season (W14 D5 L5) and every expectation is that Burnley will be in that group again.
The second point with Leicester is that they have a low draw rate for a team with such lofty ambitions. Last season just six of their 38 games ended all-square, which was the third-lowest total in the league, and consequently that pushes up their loss rate.
Ultimately that cost them a place in the top four last season, as they matched or bettered Liverpool and Chelsea for wins but lost 33% more matches than both of them.
Burnley’s only point came from a 1-1 draw at home to Leeds. They have conceded in all five league matches and scored just three goals, all in singles.
Given that they lost seven of their last 10 matches at the end of last season, the Clarets are in a prolonged slump. Their record since early March, when they started that 10-match run-in last season, is W3 D1 L11.
The wins have been infrequent during that run but they have been impressive when they have happened – 2-1 at Everton, 4-0 at Wolves and 2-0 at Fulham – and they were all on the road.
Dyche’s side also won 3-0 at Crystal Palace and 1-0 away to both Arsenal and Liverpool last season, although those wins came in a 12-match spell that was their best form of the season (they took more than half of their total points in those dozen games).
There is no real hint that they are about to go on a similar run and they have never won at Leicester in the Premier League (D2 L4).
It is difficult to go against Leicester even though their form isn’t sparkling and the odds are short at 1.635/8.
One way to improve the return is to consider that a high proportion of Leicester’s league wins under Rodgers have had over 2.5 goals. Last season it was 14 out of 20 (70%) and the overall figure is 71% in his two and a half years at the club.
As noted, Leicester trend towards high goals under Rodgers. In his two full seasons they have ranked joint-sixth and joint-top for over 2.5 goals (61% overall).
Burnley rank towards the lower end (45% over 2.5 goals in the past two seasons) but the main drag on their figures is low goals tallies at home. On the road they are closer to an even split of over/under 2.5 goals.
Seven of the 12 Premier League meetings between these sides have gone over 2.5 goals, including four of the five since Rodgers took charge at Leicester.
Burnley have lost their last three away league games, last losing more consecutively on the road in February 2017 (7). Overall, the Clarets have taken just one point from their last 24 available home and away in the Premier League (D1 L7), netting just three goals in that run. Leicester to win to nil is 2.6413/8.