Aston Villa and Leicester City compete in the second leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final on Tuesday night with the score currently level at 1-1.
Kelechi Iheanacho struck late to cancel out Frederic Guilbert’s opener in the first leg earlier this month, in what proved to be an exhilarating 90 minutes of action in the East Midlands, as both these sides slog it out to reach the final against one of the Manchester clubs.
Dean Smith’s side scored with their only shot on target in the first leg, but a mistake from Douglas Luiz allowed Jamie Vardy to race through on goal before teeing up his attacking teammate and setting up a mouthwatering return at Villa Park.
Read on for Aston Villa vs Leicester preview, predictions, TV coverage information, team news and more.
When is Aston Villa vs Leicester and where can I watch live?
Competition: Carabao Cup
Venue: Villa Park
Date: Tuesday, 28 January 2020
Kick-off: 7:45 PM (UK time)
TV coverage (UK): Sky Sports Main Event, Sky Sports Football
Last five meetings: Aston Villa vs Leicester
08 January 2020: Leicester 1-1 Aston Villa (Carabao Cup)
08 December 2019: Aston Villa 1-4 Leicester (Premier League)
16 January 2016: Aston Villa 1-1 Leicester (Premier League)
13 September 2015: Leicester 3-2 Villa (Premier League)
15 February 2015: Aston Villa 2-1 Leicester (FA Cup)
Aggregate Score: Aston Villa (DLDLW) 7-10 Leicester (DWDWL)
Ones to watch
Aston Villa: Mbwana Samatta
Aston Villa have not had much luck in the forward department this season, with summer signing Wesley suffering a serious knee injury to leave the Villans short of options up top.
However, Mbwana Samatta has arrived from KRC Genk to help ease Dean Smith’s attacking woes. A move to Villa Park has, unsurprisingly, led to an upturn in the Tanzania international’s Football Index value and that will continue if he hits the ground running in English football.
Smith has been forced to play without a recognised forward in recent weeks and may be tempted to throw Samatta straight into his side on Tuesday night. The 27-year-old’s form may yet define Villa’s season and he will be determined to make an immediate impact for his new club, having enjoyed a solid goalscoring record in Belgium.
Key stat:Mbwana Samatta scored 10 goals for Genk this season, including one Champions League strike against Liverpool at Anfield.
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Leicester: Caglar Soyuncu
Jamie Vardy has naturally been stealing the headlines, while James Maddison has also been a hot topic of conversation, but arguably the player of Leicester’s accelerating season has been Caglar Soyuncu.
The Turkey international has been the outstanding pillar of Brendan Rodgers’ defence; he is the chief policeman in the club’s watertight backline, but he offers so much more than a traditional centre-back.
Soyuncu is the springboard of Leicester’s attacks, able to carry the ball forward when in possession or play out from the back seamlessly. If the Foxes have hopes of subduing what is set to be a raucous Villa Park crowd, then Soyuncu will be the key component in that quest.
Key stat: Only Virgil van Dijk (1,860) has made more passes than Caglar Soyuncu (1,577) in the Premier League this season.
Villa will be without long-term absentees Wesley, Tom Heaton, Jed Steer and John McGinn, meaning Pepe Reina could make his first Carabao Cup start since the 2012 final, in which Liverpool beat Cardiff 5-4 on penalties.
Smith could decide to field Anwar El Ghazi as a false No.9, as he did in the previous encounter, but new signing Samatta may be in line for an intense baptism of fire.
Predicted XI: Reina; Konsa, Mings, Hause; Guilbert, Luiz, Nakamba, Targett; Trezeguet, Grealish, El Ghazi.
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Rodgers will be sweating over the fitness of Jamie Vardy, who was forced off through injury against West Ham earlier this week. However, the Leicester boss did confirm on Friday that he is “hopeful” his star striker will be fit for this midweek clash.
“It’s not his hamstring it’s a glute, so we’re hopeful for Tuesday,” Rodgers said.
“But there’s a little bit of work to do. He’ll get some work in with the medical team. He’ll stay with them for the weekend.”
Foxes fans were also buoyed by the introduction of Wilfred Ndidi against West Ham, with the Nigeria international missing the past three games – including the first leg of this fixture – with a knee injury. Nampalys Mendy, Matthew James and Daniel Amartey are all out for the Foxes.
Predicted XI: Schmeichel; Pereira, Evans, Soyuncu, Chilwell; Ndidi, Tielemans, Maddison, Perez, Barnes; Vardy.
The last time Leicester travelled to Villa Park they struck four past a hapless Heaton and will be confident of inflicting further misery on the Villa goal. With Ndidi back in the midfield to shore things up and optimism high on the King Power terraces, Rodgers should have enough momentum to galvanise his troops and coax a win.