Leicester City vs. Wolves
Venue: King Power Stadium
Kick off: 2PM
One of the most intriguing matches on the opening weekend of the 2019-20 Premier League campaign will take place at the King Power Stadium this afternoon as Leicester City welcome Wolverhampton Wanderers.
The two teams will fancy their chances of challenging for a spot in the top six this season with both impressing during the 2018-19 campaign – Leicester claiming ninth and Wolves finishing in seventh.
Losing Harry Maguire during the summer transfer window was far from ideal, but Leicester’s fans will have been pleased with their business ahead of the new season.
A permanent deal for Youri Tielemans was secured, while Ayoze Perez, Dennis Praet and James Justin have all pitched up at the King Power Stadium.
Perhaps more importantly, though, the likes of James Maddison and Ben Chilwell have remained at the club.
It remains to be seen whether the Foxes are capable of challenging for the top six, but Brendan Rodgers will be delighted with his options heading into the 2019-20 campaign.
Leicester won five of their six pre-season matches – including a 2-1 victory over Atalanta BC last time out.
The Foxes will be keen to start well, but they have actually lost their opening league fixture of the season for the past three years.
That said, Jamie Vardy has four goals in his last four games on the opening weekend.
Rodgers’s side have a tough start to the new season when considering that they will travel to Chelsea and Manchester United in two of their first five matches, in addition to visiting Sheffield United and hosting Bournemouth.
A strong start will be important if they are to stay in touch with the top six.
Leicester are unbeaten at home to Wolves since December 1971, meanwhile, and will be fresher of the two teams when considering that their opponents have been in Europa League action over the last few weeks.
That said, the added match fitness could well work in the away side’s favour this afternoon.
As mentioned, Wolves have already played three competitive matches this summer. Indeed, the 2017-18 Championship winners recorded a 6-1 aggregate win over Crusaders in the second qualifying round of the Europa League before beating Pyunik in the first leg of their third qualifying round fixture on Thursday night.
Raul Jimenez scored twice for the English club in Armenia and it will be interesting to see how many changes head coach Nuno Espirito Santo makes for the trip to Leicester. In truth, it was not the most demanding of games for Wolves as they cruised to a four-goal success but the travelling might be an issue.
Santo’s team proved to be the best of the rest last season as they claimed seventh in the Premier League table – three points clear of eighth-placed Everton.
There will be fresh challengers for the club this season, but the fans will have been delighted with the transfer business that has occurred this summer.
Jimenez and Leander Dendoncker have turned their loans into permanent deals, while Pedro Neto, Patrick Cutrone and Jesus Vallejo are also amongst those to have made the move to Molineux. Exits have also been minimal, with the likes of Ruben Neves remaining at the club.
Wolves have a busy fixture list in the coming weeks when considering that they will host Pyunik in the second leg of their Europa League tie next Thursday before welcoming Manchester United in the league on August 19.
European football could end up being an unwelcome distraction this term – Nuno, though, has assembled a strong squad capable of dealing with the volume of matches.
Leicester possible XI: Schmeichel, Pereira, Soyuncu, Evans, Chilwell, Ndidi, Tielemans, Perez, Maddison, Albrighton, Vardy.
Wolves possible XI: Patricio, Bennett, Coady, Boly, Doherty, Dendoncker, Neves, Moutinho, Jonny, Jimenez, Jota.