Foxes and Baggies both look to steady those nerves

Leicester City v West Bromwich Albion; King Power Stadium, Saturday 20th April, 12.30pm

Leicester City take on Albion on Saturday with both sides looking to recover from something of a late-season wobble that is jeopardising their respective targets. Albion’s wobble is less pronounced having only just ended a ten-match unbeaten run although most Baggies fans will accept that performances haven’t been brilliant of late, while the Foxes have had something of a collapse.

A 2-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday in mid-February put them twelve points clear at the top of the table, fourteen points above third-placed Southampton and a further four points above fourth-placed Ipswich Town. A win on Saturday lunchtime would move them back to the top of the table for a few hours at least, but the top four are now in a real battle for the two automatic places. City are 19th in the ten-game form table having picked up only ten points in that time while current leaders, Ipswich Town, have doubled that points tally in the same period.

Albion remain in a strong position to claim a play-off place sitting a point ahead of Norwich City in sixth, six points clear of Hull City in seventh and nine clear of Coventry City, Middlesbrough and Preston North End. The Lilywhites’ defeat in their game in hand at Southampton on Tuesday effectively ruled them out if the picture while Boro’ are also highly unlikely to make up the eight points they need to on Norwich City with only three games left. The Tigers and the Sky Blues, however, are still in with a shout having a game in hand on both the Baggies and the Canaries, but that game is against one another next Wednesday so one of them at least is likely to drop out of the race after that match. Coventry City will still have a game in hand after that match, however, as they do not play in the Championship this weekend, instead playing Manchester United in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley.

The long and the short of it is that another three points should be enough for Albion as that would leave one of either Hull or Coventry needing to win all four of their remaining league games to beat the 75 points that the Baggies would have. They could, of course, match the tally with three wins and a draw but Albion hold a goal difference advantage of sixteen and ten goals over Hull and Coventry respectively. Fifth place, on the other hand, is certainly at risk for the Baggies as Norwich have a much easier run in facing Bristol City and Swansea City at home before travelling to Birmingham City on the final day.

All Carlos Corberán will be doing, of course, is concentrating on his own team’s preparation for the final three games of the campaign, targeting all nine points, I’m sure. Leicester City are still formidable opponents given the wealth of Premier League experience in the squad, but Albion matched them at the Hawthorns in December and certainly deserved at least a point. Most of City’s recent defeats have been on the road, but they have been beaten by both QPR and Middlesbrough at the King Power recently and were beaten by both Hull City and Leeds United at home in their impressive early season run.

Corberán will have to decide what to do regarding the absence of the suspended Brandon Thomas-Asante. Josh Maja has played only a few first team minutes since his return from injury before ducking out of the first team squad last weekend to get an hour’s competitive football for the U21s on Friday night. It would seem to be a big ask for him to start this match and I would expect to see Jed Wallace or Andi Weimann given the nod.

In the centre of the park, I am expecting to see Okay Yokuşlu and Alex Mowat paired up once again with neither Chalobah nor M’Vila having impressed hugely when given the opportunity in the last few games. Mowatt’s ability to progress the ball through the park and Okay’s quality in protecting the ball and maintaining possession put them both ahead of anything else in the squad.

Resting players to keep them fresh for an expected play-off campaign is a valid approach but it not only puts the team’s ability to qualify for the play-offs at risk, but it also disrupts the overall feel of the team when it is important to build momentum as those two or three massive games approach.

With no further midweek games left, I feel that Corberán must now choose what he thinks is his strongest starting eleven available to him. Based on the last few months, I think that is Palmer, Furlong, Kipré, Bartley, Townsend, Okay, Mowatt, Johnston, Diangana, BTA and either Fellows or Wallace on the right wing – to me, that is the only position without a clear choice. Maja may challenge BTA if he can get fit enough, and the rest of the first team squad can offer something from the bench.

Saturday’s match is obviously a huge test but, if Albion are serious about getting into the play-offs and through them, it is one they should relish and not fear. Getting ahead early would be a massive boost as that will antagonise a home crowd that is already restless and nervous given their recent form. A win would not only virtually guarantee the Baggies’ spot in the top six, it could also strike a psychological blow against a team that they could yet face in the play-offs.


Albion’s last victory over Leicester City, 2-1 at the King Power in November 2016, is the only time that they have bettered the Foxes in their last eleven meetings, but was the first time the clubs met after Leicester had surprisingly won the Premier League. Strangely, the current run of one win in eleven was preceded by a run of one defeat in ten as the fortunes of the two clubs have reversed. The turning point was, perhaps, City’s win at the Hawthorns in April 2015 thanks to a last minute winner from Jamie Vardy which was at the start of the remarkable turnaround in form that led to their escape from relegation, and then their unlikely Premier League title.

Earlier that season, on own goal from Esteban Cambiasso was enough to earn all three points for Alan Irvine’s Baggies, the third of only four Premier League victories that Albion earned under Irvine – he was sacked at the end of 2014 after the Baggies lost seven of the next nine matches.

When the Foxes beat Albion 3-0 at an empty King Power Stadium in 2021, it was their first home win over the Baggies since they left Filbert Street in 2002. Albion didn’t play at their new home until February 2007 when Tony Mowbray’s team earned a point – future Baggie, Gareth McAuley scored the hosts’ equaliser after a Diomansay Kamara penalty had given Albion the lead while future Albion assistant manager, Rob Kelly, was in charge of City that day.

The following season, the Baggies recorded their first win at what was then called the Walkers Stadium – Zoltán Gera gave the visitors a first half lead before Iain Hulme equalised for Leicester. Craig Beattie came off the bench to replace Roman Bednár and scored the winner with two minutes left.

Overall, Albion have won five and drawn three of their nine games at the Foxes’ current home, with their biggest win coming in October 2010 when goals from Simon Cox (2), Somen Tchoyi and Steven Reid earned Roberto di Matteo’s team a place in the fifth round of the League Cup with a 4-1 victory.

The Baggies’ record at Filbert Street wasn’t too bad, either, with 16 wins in 49 visits in all competitions and, should Albion win on Saturday, they will have won as many games away to Leicester that they have lost. Their biggest win at Leicester came in May 1977 when Mick Martin, David Cross and Laurie Cunningham scored to give Albion a 3-0 half time lead. Martin scored his second just after half time and Bomber Brown got in on the act late on to make the final score 5-0.

City’s biggest win over the Baggies is also 5-0 but way back on Christmas Day 1926 and all five goals were scored by City’s all-time record goalscorer, Arthur Chandler. Almost 30 years later, the second man on that City goalscorers list, Arthur Rowley, scored a hat trick in a 6-3 win over Albion in February 1955. Wolverhampton-born Rowley started his Football League career at the Hawthorns and went on to become the record goalscorer in the Football League with most of those goals scored while at Filbert Street.

Stat Attack

Current Form

Albion W D D D W L
Leicester City L L W W L L

All competitions; most recent game on the right

Last matches

Last meeting

2 Dec 2023 – League Championship
West Bromwich Albion 1 (Maja)
Leicester City 2 (Dewsbury-Hall, Winks)

Last meeting at Leicester City

22 Apr 2021 – Premier League
Leicester City 3 (Vardy, Evans, Iheanacho)
West Bromwich Albion 0

Last win

6 Nov 2016 – Premier League
Leicester City 1 (Slimani)
West Bromwich Albion 2 (Morrison, Phillips)

Albion’s Record against Leicester City

  Overall   Away
  P W D L F A   P W D L F A
League 105 46 22 37 181 159   52 19 13 20 76 90
FA Cup 4 1 0 3 4 8   1 0 0 1 1 2
League Cup 5 4 1 0 8 2   3 2 1 0 5 1
Other 2 0 1 1 1 2   2 0 1 1 1 2
Total 116 51 24 41 194 171   58 21 15 22 83 95

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