Leicester vs Brentford predictions: Leicester can outgun Bees
Leicester and Brentford supporters went into 2021-22 with wildly contrasting expectations as the former were tipped for a European finish while the Londoners were happy just to be back in the top tier following a 74-year absence.
However, the season concluded with Bees supporters buzzing and Foxes fans fuming, after a campaign in which Thomas Frank’s men survived in style — while Brendan Rodgers’ side dropped from fifth place to eighth in the Premier League, as well as falling agonisingly short of a first-ever European final appearance.
Both managers have since lost talismanic Danes this summer, with Kasper Schmeichel ending a glorious 11-year run between the sticks at Leicester and Christian Eriksen moving on after his season-defining stint at Brentford.
As a result, both sets of fans go into the new season with more questions than answers about their direction of travel — and both had better hold on tight for a rollercoaster campaign.
The injury curse that undermined Leicester’s 2021-22 season seems to have followed them into 2022-23, with Rodgers facing concerns over up to seven of his players.
Ricardo Pereira and Harvey Barnes were injured in Leicester’s final warm-up match against Sevilla, with Barnes ruled out for a few weeks and the luckless Pereira facing six months out with a ruptured Achilles.
Ryan Bertrand is the only other confirmed absentee but fringe players Ayoze Perez and Hamza Choudhury missed last weekend’s friendly through illness, while Wesley Fofana and Danny Ward have both been working their way to fitness during the latter stages of pre-season.
Ward will likely be pressed into action given that, following Schmeichel’s departure, the former number two is the only goalkeeper at the club with any Premier League experience, albeit very limited.
Brentford manager Frank has far fewer injury issues but they are all concentrated in his backline, with central defenders Ethan Pinnock and Kristoffer Ajer ruled out alongside wing-back Sergi Canos.
That may prompt Frank to switch from last season’s favoured 3-5-2 to a 4-3-3, in which new signings Ben Mee and Aaron Hickey slot straight in at centre-back and right-back, respectively.
Winger Keane Lewis-Potter, signed from Hull for £17million, is likely to start on the Bees’ bench.
While an injury-ravaged Leicester side suffered frustration on all fronts last season, Rodgers’ men remained reliable on home soil.
The Foxes did not lose a single one of their nine European or domestic cup games at the King Power Stadium, winning four of those and holding the likes of Roma, PSV and Napoli to draws.
Even more impressive was the fact that they lost only one of 14 Premier League home games against teams finishing outside the top five, beating Liverpool and Manchester United.
The defeat that bucked the trend could also be forgiven as it was a 2-1 loss to Everton that came less than 72 hours after Leicester’s heart-breaking Europa Conference League semi-final exit.
Away wins were harder to come by for Leicester but they did the double over Brentford, winning both matches 2-1 to make it nine wins and one draw in the last 10 meetings between the two clubs.
Brentford started 2021-22 brightly, claiming three wins and three draws from their first seven league games.
However, they tailed off badly over the winter, losing nine of their 11 Premier League games from Boxing Day through to the end of February.
The introduction of Eriksen, allied with a switch from a back three to a back four to accommodate him, produced a remarkable transformation.
The Bees went from one win in 11 league games to seven wins and a draw in the 10 games Eriksen started.
There is something of an air of gloom hanging over Leicester as they go into the new season — and understandably so given the injuries, lack of signings and persistent rumours of star men potentially departing.
However, while all of that may harm Leicester’s prospects over the course of the campaign, Rodgers’ well-drilled unit remain an impressive side who are used to overcoming adversity and they can lift the mood with an energetic opening day performance.
Brentford remain an exciting, interesting team but the departure of Eriksen is a significant blow — and the absence of key defenders makes them vulnerable to Leicester’s dangerous attack.
The Bees should continue to entertain neutrals this season but they could suffer a high-scoring away defeat on the opening day.