We are back for the 1st Soccer Saturday of the new year and on to another round of club football, frisking the fixtures for good opportunities to start of the year in a profitable manner.
Leicester have managed to have a disappointing winter set of fixtures with 1 draw and 1 loss over the last 2 games; and will be looking back at 2015 as being their year in terms of wins as compared to many other teams. 2016 is a new year and Ranieri will look to push his team on for victories as they are safe for another season; and will now go and push for those European spots; and potentially even the title.
Riyad Mahrez have been the lively of the players as Vardy has been slightly doubtful due to his niggles. Leicester have focussed more defensively in recent weeks keeping 3 clean sheets in their last 7 games including holding off Man City to a 0-0 draw last time around. Ranieri might look to shuffle the back bringing Ulloa up front to start with Vardy while keeping Mahrez sitting in the midfield with a more disciplined approach to start getting back to victory.
Bournemouth have had the same results like Leicester with 1 draw and 1 loss over the last 2 games. Bouremouth’s problem coming into these fixtures has been their in-consistency on the offensive end. While they managed 3 wins on the trot against United, Chelsea and West Brom; they have failed to deliver this constantly on the offensive end. Bournemouth being the new side haven’t invested a lot of money, often relying on their existing players to help them survive. This has seen them particularly more on the defensive end where they have conceded 34 goals in 19 games; for the 2nd worst defence in the league.
This game will look to be a cagey one seeing the performances of the 2 teams and the potential exhaustion of the busy Christmas period for the first timers in Bournemouth; I expect Leicester to sneak through with a victory in this encounter.
West Ham v Liverpool
Watford v Man City
Arsenal v Newcastle
Espanyol v Barcelona