League leaders provide next test for Corberán’s Albion

West Bromwich Albion v Leicester City; The Hawthorns, Saturday 2nd December 2023, 12.30pm

The league leaders visit the Hawthorns on Saturday to take on the team that are currently top of the six-match form table. Five wins from their last six games has put Carlos Corberán’s team firmly in the promotion picture while the runaway leaders have stumbled in recent weeks picking up just four points from their last four games conceding a last minute equaliser to bottom-of-the-table Sheffield Wednesday in midweek.

The Baggies are probably the last team that the Foxes would want to meet when they are looking to rediscover their remarkable run of form that saw them win thirteen of their first fourteen league games of the campaign, particularly at the Hawthorns where Albion have conceded just once in their last six games, and lost just twice in 24 games since the beginning of November last year.

Leicester City will not be very welcome in B71 having won on their last five visits with Albion nemesis, Jamie Vardy, having scored six goals in those games. However, their manager, Enzo Maresca, will surely get a warm welcome for his 47-game spell as a player at the Hawthorns in the late nineties that resulted in his £4.3m transfer to Juventus that effectively saved the club from administration.

Evergreen Vardy is once again Leicester’s top scorer this season with seven goals, closely followed by Kelechi Iheanacho who has six while Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall and Kasey McAteer both have five. The first three of those names were mainstays in CIty’s Premier League team and are demonstrative of the quality of their squad, while McAteer has emerged this season as a very capable attacking midfielder. James Justin, Ricardo Pereira, Harry Winks, Wilfred Ndidi and Hamza Choudhury are other squad members with plenty of Premier League experience and it is no surprise that they have proved too good for most of their opponents this season. However, they have proved to be fallible in recent weeks and that, coupled with Albion’s excellent form, points to it being a close encounter on Saturday.

The injury demons struck again this week for the Baggies with a shoulder injury to Jed Wallace following a robust challenge at Cardiff almost certainly ruling him out of this match although, with Carlos Corberán suffering an illness that meant there was no pre-match press conference, there has been no update on the skipper’s condition. No further issues have been reported beyond the known absentees (Dike, Reach and Kelly).

One note of caution is that Bartley and Okay are both on four yellow cards and need to get through tomorrow’s match without a caution to avoid a one match suspension. The cut off is at 19 games, so providing they get through that unscathed, they are clear until the 10 card suspension cut-off which comes after 37 games.

Corberán’s unusual starting eleven at Cardiff suggested that he was looking to rotate players meaning that we may see a more familiar line up on Saturday. Of course, with Wallace likely to be missing, there will be at least one change from the team that started against Ipswich Town last weekend. I would certainly expect Phillips to come back into the eleven after dropping to the bench in mid-week and, while Corberán seems to have been happy with a back four for a while now, might he consider a back three against the front three that Leicester are likely to operate? If he does, would Pieters return as he is left-footed, or would Ajayi come in with Kipré switching to the left? Personally, I don’t think he will change what has become a winning formula at the back, albeit that has only been in place for the last four matches.

Assuming Wallace is ruled out and the formation doesn’t change, will Sarmiento keep his place following his wonder goal on Tuesday, or might we see Tom Fellows given his first start under Corberán? The youngster has certainly impressed off the bench in recent weeks and his inclusion from the start must be on the Spaniard’s mind. I’d be minded to give him a go – he might not have the trickery of Sarmiento, but he has plenty of ability and a directness that defenders hate; furthermore, a starting place would do his confidence the world of good.

The last few matches have all provided a new test for Corberán’s Albion and they have stood up to each one, even in defeat at St Mary’s. The Baggies will be the team who will be looking forward to this match the most, Vardy aside, perhaps, given his penchant for a Hawthorns goal. Recent results and performances will have led to a continuous growth in belief amongst the Albion squad and they will not fear the league leaders, they will relish the opportunity to prove themselves against the team that most agree are the best in the division.

Should Albion record a sixth victory in seven games, the rest of the division will surely sit up and take notice.


Albion’s recent history in matches with Leicester City hasn’t been great although they retain a 51-40 lead in the overall head-to-head record. The Foxes have won on their last five visits to the Hawthorns with Jamie Vardy scoring six goals in those five games. That run started in April 2015 when a relegation threatened City were 2-1 down with ten minutes to go only for Robert Huth to equalise before Vardy scored a stoppage time winner – Leicester would go on to survive the drop and win the Premier League the following season.

The Baggies’ last home win over the Foxes was more than 13 years ago in April 2010 when a Robert Koren double and another from James Morrison earned Roberto di Matteo’s team a 3-0 victory. That was in the midst of a run of on defeat in ten matches against Leicester, with the outlier being a shock 4-1 home defeat in March 2008 six weeks before Tony Mowbray’s team won the Championship title.

That is Leicester’s biggest league win at the Hawthorns, but they bettered it in an FA Cup tie way back in 1905. In the days when the club was still known as Leicester Fosse, they travelled to the Black Country for what was the Intermediate Round of the competition – Albion were one of ten Division Two clubs who entered at this stage while Leicester, also in Division Two, had entered at the Third Qualifying Round winning four ties to reach the same stage. A hat trick from Arthur Mounteney and further goals from Tommy Allsopp and Jimmy Blessington saw the visitors win 5-2 and progress to the First Round “proper”. That is the only time that Albion have failed to take part in the “proper” competition since they first entered in 1883.

Albion’s record home win over Leicester City was in March 1965 – Jeff Astle (2), Gerry Howshall, Clive Clark, Ken Foggo and Graham Williams were the scores as they ran out 6-0 winners – a bad day for England goalkeeper, Gordon Banks, who was between the posts for the Foxes that day.

Stat Attack

Current Form

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

All competitions; most recent game on the right

Last matches

Last meeting

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

Last meeting at the Hawthorns

13 Sep 2020 – Premier League
West Bromwich Albion 0
Leicester City 3 (Castagne, Vardy (2 pens))

Last win

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

Last win at the Hawthorns

2 Apr 2010 – League Championship
West Bromwich Albion 3 (Morrison, Koren (2))
Leicester City 0

Albion’s Record against Leicester City

  Overall   Home
  P W D L F A   P W D L F A
League 104 46 22 36 180 157   52 27 9 16 104 67
FA Cup 4 1 0 3 4 8   2 1 0 1 3 5
League Cup 5 4 1 0 8 2   2 2 0 0 3 1
Other 2 0 1 1 1 2   0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 115 51 24 40 193 169   56 30 9 17 110 73


  Premier League Record
  Pld W D L F A Pts
Home 5 0 0 5 5 14 0
Away 5 2 2 1 6 7 8
Total 10 2 2 6 11 21 8

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