Leicester City-Aston Villa Preview
Brendan Rodgers is enjoying the challenge of readying his Leicester City team twice as a week as they prepare for a quick turnaround and a trip to Aston Villa.
Leicester were in the Czech Republic to play Slavia Prague in the Europa League on Thursday, securing a goalless draw to take into next week's second leg.
The Foxes' involvement in that competition, along with progress in the FA Cup, is adding to a busy schedule, but Rodgers is not making excuses.
After knocking Brighton and Hove Albion out of the cup last week and then beating Liverpool, the challenge is for Leicester to follow up a solid away stalemate with another victory at Villa Park
"We're really enjoying the games," Rodgers said. "Of course, it's tough from a physical perspective.
"But if you look at what we did last week, we had a really tough game against Brighton, which we got through, and we're then playing at the weekend arguably the most physical team in terms of running and aggression.
"We dig in, have a great result and perform well and we're looking at the same this week.
"We've come away, tough game, sets us up well for the second leg, and then we're on to Villa.
"They've got some fantastic players and it will be a tough game for us, but we go in with a strong mindset to get a result."
By contrast, Villa will have had eight days since a draw with Brighton manager Dean Smith would sooner forget.
"My dog had a longer walk last Sunday because I wasn't happy with the performance on Saturday," Smith said. "That gave me a bit more thinking time.
I was thinking I wouldn't do a debrief with the players simply because the performance was that bad.
"For me, sometimes people just have an off day, a bad day at the office. And that is what I have put it down to."
Aston Villa - Emiliano Martinez
Leicester will have to find a way past Martinez. He has kept 12 clean sheets in 22 Premier League games for this season, the most by a Villa keeper in a single top-flight campaign since Brad Friedel in 2009-10 (15 in 38).
Leicester City - Jamie Vardy
Another milestone is on the horizon for Vardy, who has scored five goals in his past four league games against Villa. He has been directly involved in 99 Premier League goals (81 goals, 18 assists) since turning 30. Only Teddy Sheringham, Frank Lampard, Ian Wright, Alan Shearer and Gianfranco Zola have had 100 involvements after their 30th birthdays.
- Aston Villa are looking to complete their first league double over Leicester since the 2003-04 campaign, following their 1-0 win at the King Power Stadium earlier this season.
- Leicester won this exact fixture 4-1 last season but have not triumphed on consecutive top-flight visits to Aston Villa since October 1960.
- Leicester have only lost once in their 12 Premier League away games this season (W8 D3 L1), with only Manchester United (none) registering fewer away defeats this term. Indeed, the Foxes are unbeaten in their past seven on the road in the top flight (W4 D3).
- Villa have won only one of their last 20 Premier League matches against opponents starting the day of the game in the top three of the table (W1 D4 L15), with that sole victory coming against Liverpool in October 2020 (7-2).
- Leicester manager Rodgers has won all five of his away Premier League games against Aston Villa as a manager, his best such 100 per cent record versus an opponent in the competition.
Updated February 19, 2021