Fulham v Leicester City

Claudio Ranieri kisses the Premier League trophy after guiding Leicester City to the title
Claudio Ranieri faces Leicester City for the first time since guiding them to the 2015-16 Premier League title

TEAM NEWS

Fulham’s Andre Schurrle has overcome the minor injury that caused him to miss Sunday’s defeat by Chelsea.

Floyd Ayite is out with a groin strain as new manager Claudio Ranieri prepares to face one of his previous clubs for the second successive fixture.

Leicester forward Jamie Vardy is nursing an ongoing groin problem and could miss Wednesday’s match.

Harry Maguire is back in training but unlikely to play, while Rachid Ghezzal remains a doubt with a leg injury.

Wes Morgan appeared to pick up an injury against Watford, with manager Claude Puel admitting several unnamed players are fitness concerns.

MOTD COMMENTATOR’S NOTES

@IandennisBBC: Claudio Ranieri was serenaded by Leicester’s fans just over three weeks ago on an emotional afternoon in the first match at the King Power stadium since the tragic helicopter crash.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the travelling support did so again, as he will be in the opposition dugout for the first time since he was sacked nine months after famously steering Leicester to the Premier League title.

Leicester are on their joint-longest unbeaten run since that remarkable achievement in 2016 and they’ve also kept three clean sheets in their last four games.

Fulham are the only side yet to keep a clean sheet in English league football this season – but they have not conceded against Leicester in four previous Premier League meetings. How Ranieri’s side could do with extending that record on Wednesday night.

VIEW FROM THE DUGOUT

Fulham manager Claudio Ranieri on facing Leicester: “It will be very strange. Very emotional moment, but it’s okay – that is football.

“I wanted to come back to the Premier League sooner or later. For me it’s a good moment now, after Chelsea, to play Leicester.

“Every game is very important. I want to see good progress after Southampton and Chelsea.”

Leicester City manager Claude Puel on Ranieri: “We cannot forget what he brought to the club. We will play a tough game, not just because he is the manager but Fulham played very well against Chelsea and Southampton.

“We need to be aware and be careful of this team because they play very well. It will be a good feeling for Claudio and the quality of his team at this moment.”

LAWRO’S PREDICTION

After Sunday’s defeat at Stamford Bridge, new Fulham boss Claudio Ranieri faces another of his former clubs – and his old players at Leicester will be desperate to beat him, in the nicest possible way.

The Cottagers were competitive against the Blues and you can already see some signs that they are going to be more difficult to beat – but you cannot just conjure up drastically different results overnight with the same pool of players.

Prediction: 1-1

Lawro’s full predictions v The 1975 bassist Ross MacDonald

MATCH FACTS

Head-to-head

  • This will be the first league game between Fulham and Leicester since 2003-04, when Fulham won both Premier League meetings 2-0.
  • Leicester City have failed to score in all four Premier League meetings. No side has ever failed to score in their first five matches against a single opponent in the competition.
  • The Foxes haven’t won away at Fulham in any competition since a second-tier game in April 1983, drawing one and losing three of their subsequent four visits.

Fulham

  • Fulham are looking to secure consecutive home wins in the Premier League for the first time since April 2013.
  • They are in danger of losing more than 10 of their opening 15 league matches in a season for the first time.
  • The Cottagers could equal the club top-flight record of 19 fixtures in a row without a clean sheet, set from September to December 1950.
  • Their tally of 35 goals conceded equals the club’s worst defensive record after 14 games of a top-flight season, set in 1959-60.
  • Only Barnsley, with 40 goals, and Sheffield Wednesday and Bolton, with 36, have conceded more often after 15 Premier League matches.
  • Fulham have conceded at least two goals in 12 of their 14 league games.
  • Claudio Ranieri will face Leicester City for the first time since he was sacked in February 2017, nine months after leading the club to an historic Premier League title.
  • The Italian has won four of his five Premier League fixtures as a manager against Leicester, with the exception a 2-1 defeat at Filbert Street in February 2001.
  • Aleksandr Mitrovic has scored five goals in his last five Premier League home games.

Leicester City

  • Leicester’s current five-match unbeaten run equals their longest since ending the title-winning 2015-16 season with a 12-match streak under Claudio Ranieri.
  • However, they have only won two of their past seven league games (D3, L2).
  • The Foxes have conceded only one goal in their last four Premier League matches, scored by Brighton’s Glenn Murray in a 1-1 draw on 24 November.
  • Claude Puel’s side are unbeaten in all nine league matches this season against teams below them prior to the midweek fixtures (W6, D3).
  • Jamie Vardy could become only the sixth player to score a penalty in three consecutive Premier League appearances.

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