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Leicester City are welcoming West Brom on Monday and are desperate to kick-start their season after underperforming displays in the first two months of the campaign.
The Foxes are currently in the 17th position with just five points, and a potential loss could leave them in a relegation zone, so the win is imperative for Craig Shakespeare and his squad.
Leicester are without a league victory since August in a 2-0 home win over Brighton and this fixture could be a season-defining one for the former EPL champions.
Favorable fixtures ahead
They have had a rough schedule so far, facing Arsenal, Man United, Chelsea, and Liverpool, losing all four encounters, but there is room for improvement as Leicester will have a much easier job in the coming weeks.
The only positive is that they managed to get to the 1/8 finals of the Carabao Cup after eliminating Sheffield United and Liverpool, but it is the right time to concentrate on the Premier League.
After a duel with the Baggies, Leicester will play at Swansea, then against Everton at King Power Stadium, and will visit Stoke City, so they could collect crucial points before Man City comes to town on November 18.
In the meantime, the Foxes will host Leeds United in the Carabao Cup, and it is an excellent opportunity to get to the quarter-finals, which is certainly expected from this team.
Better display from the wingers
It is evident that Leicester cannot solely rely on Jamie Vardy and Shinji Okazaki as they need more support from wingers.
Leicester are a way better with inspiring Riyad Mahrez in the starting lineup, but the Algerian is a shadow of the player who won the EPL POTY award two seasons ago. Mahrez recorded a miserable pair of assists in seven matches this time around, and Craig Shakespeare decided to bench him in the previous tilt at Bournemouth as a result of a poor form.
The Foxes were reluctant to sell him in the summer, and it looks that Riyad’s disappointment reflected on his performances on the pitch.
Leicester need him to step up and continue with his work professionally, something that Philippe Coutinho currently does at Liverpool following his collapsed deal to Barcelona. Like any other player on the squad, Mahrez is paid to do the job, but he failed to produce so much-needed spark thus far.
Demarai Gray is also underperforming in this campaign as the 21-year-old added only a goal and an assist in nine appearances, which is not enough considering his talent and opportunities he’s getting. Gray has been a regular in the Foxes starting lineup, but if he continues with pale displays, Shakespeare could lose his patience with the former Birmingham City winger.
Vardy’s health and Iheanacho’s misfiring
Jamie Vardy is currently the team’s top scorer with five goals in six matches so far, but he is suffering from a niggling hip injury that forced him to miss England WC qualifying games last week.
He should be fine to play against West Brom on Monday, but if the hip continues to torture him throughout the season, Vardy will need to be rested for some fixtures.
That can be a problem for the Foxes, as Kelechi Iheanacho, who arrived from Man City to jump in when Vardy is out of form or injured, is playing awfully, and the fans have already voiced their displeasure over the Nigerian’s displays.
Leicester do have Islam Slimani, Shinji Okazaki, Leonardo Ulloa, and Ahmed Musa as well, but they spent almost €28 million for Iheanacho to score goals, not to sit on the bench, so it is only a matter of time when the former Citizen will start terrorizing opposing keepers.
Written by Oliver Zivic
Follow Oliver on Twitter @guli86
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