Leicester City haven't won since September 21, a drought that would be absolutely laughable if it weren't for the fact Aston Villa just ended one that was three days longer. Like Villa, the newly-promoted Foxes got off to a decent start in their season. A debut draw against Everton, a hard-fought loss to Chelsea and a draw against Arsenal marked their August. Then, in September, they got their first win, a 0-1 over Stoke that had them riding high when, the next week, they drubbed Manchester United 5-3.
Then they stopped winning altogether. They were in 7th at that point, a mere two points behind 3rd-placed Aston Villa. And now we're here: Leicester have gained two points since September 21, and Villa have gotten six. The Villans sit in 13th while the Foxes are dead last. And what's worse is that it's hard to see how they can dig themselves out. The difference between a struggling Leicester and a struggling Villa is that the former is doing it against clubs like Burnley while the latter did it against one of the toughest scheduling stretches in the Premier League this season.
The only hope for Leicester comes in the form of an Aston Villa side who have seemingly put a halt on a nasty skid but who still have some glaring issues. Yes, Christian Benteke is back, but this is still a team who have only scored eight times (well, nine if you count Aly Cissokho's adventures in ineptitude against Arsenal). Luckily for Paul Lambert's squad, Leicester have the second-most porous defense in the league, having allowed 24 goals already.
Playing at home with Benteke available, it would be hard to imagine Villa not getting at least one goal. (Well, no, it wouldn't be hard to imagine, but play along here). And the defense has suddenly regained its composure too. Jores Okore has been surprisingly great (whereas we were expecting him to be unsurprisingly good) and Ciaran Clark has been astoundingly good. Raise you hand if you saw that one coming. Now put it down, because you're a liar.
So the Foxes are bad at scoring and bad at defending. Villa have a phenomenal striker coming back to form and a defense who should be able to hold well against sub-par opposition. In other words, this match has all the hallmarks of a match that Villa can and should win. And it would be a huge boost, too. The top half is out of reach right now, but a win could create some clear separation between the Villans and the drop.
But with all of that said: this is still Aston Villa. You should expect the win, but you should not take it for granted. Rarely has such a group of men been assembled who can so routinely underperform when it is least expected. Despite a four-match unbeaten streak, it's going to take a while until I can trust Villa again, even against the Leicesters of the world. Two