WILL DYER (@w2Dyer) gives us his take on this crucial tie between 17th placed Swansea and 18th placed Leicester. The Foxes are on the ropes but can the midweek cup win against local rivals combined with managerial backing provide some inspiration or will Swansea’s revival under Paul Clement continue?
Swansea v Leicester | Sunday 16:00 | Sky Sports 1
The champions of England make the trip to South Wales on Sunday to face a rejuvenated Swansea. Leicester’s 3-1 win in extra-time over Derby in the FA Cup fourth round replay on Wednesday night will have done them the world of good.
There was a sense of positivity around the King Power manufactured by two brilliant goals in added time from youngsters Wilfred Ndidi and Demarai Gray. The win coming against fierce local rivals certainly helped.
Claudio Ranieri was given a vote of confidence in midweek, with the club announcing ‘unwavering support’ for the Italian boss. It’s completely just too after last season’s heroics and Paul Clement has echoed that in the build up to the huge relegation clash between the clubs this weekend.
Leon Britton and Ki Seung-Yeung are ruled out which leaves the Swans a little light in the middle of the park. The starting eleven should remain unchanged though and Jordan Ayew is set for his debut after signing last month but travelling to Gabon for the African Cup of Nations.
Leicester have won all of the last four meetings between the clubs and this exact fixture last season featured a spectacular hat trick from Riyad Mahrez. Prior to that though, the Liberty hadn’t been a happy hunting ground for the Foxes; they had lost all of the previous three trips there without scoring, since 2010.
Swansea have won three of their last five games. The problem they and Leicester share is the bunching up that’s occurred in the bottom six in recent weeks; just two points separate Middlesbrough in 15th to Sunderland in 20th.
The Swans have the worst defensive record of the lot but Paul Clement already looks like improving that once he gets a kinder set of fixtures. The South Wales club have performed very well against bottom half foes since their arrival in the Premier League in 2011.
This is a huge game for Leicester and points are much needed before the huge Champions League clashes with Sevilla. Overall, I make Swansea the favourites though based on recent performances – great defending at Manchester City and brilliant forward play versus Southampton and Liverpool.
The Foxes have lost nine of 12 away games this season, scoring just eight goals in the process. Islam Slimani looked rusty on Wednesday night but he had a good AFCON and with Jamie Vardy rested I do expect Leicester to be a goal threat.
Swansea to win the game looks a decent price at 6/4 but it’s not something I’m completely sold on. Instead, I prefer the 5/2 on Gylfi Sigurdsson netting anytime with PaddyPower. Many people have Gylfi down as the most under-rated player in the league
The Ice Man has scored in each of his last three outings, bringing his total to eight for the season. Clement is playing him as part of the front three, further forward than he was under Bob Bradley and Francesco Guidolin so I make 5/2 great value.
Swansea v Leicester – Gylfi Sigurdsson to score anytime (5/2 Paddy Power)