Last updated & checked: 10/08/2021
In some circumstances, this match could be ripe for an upset. Leicester, focused on a top-four spot and a return to the Champions League, make a lunchtime visit to a Brentford side that have proven their quality by climbing into the top six in the Championship, and entering the conversation for automatic promotion. It’s a banana skin Brendan Rodgers could have done without, at the very least.
However, there is every chance the game won’t play out like that. Thomas Frank, Brentford manager, made extensive changes in the Bees’ previous FA Cup match against Stoke, securing a 1-0 win with an underpowered side. He may risk one or two more senior candidates for the visit of a Premier League big-hitter but, like Rodgers, there is a real possibility that Frank sees this more as a game he could take or leave.
Brentford vs Leicester City Prediction: Brentford 1-3 Leicester City
Brentford’s impressive league form has been built around their excellent front three – Ollie Watkins flanked by Said Benrahma and Bryan Mbeumo. There is, however, every chance that won’t be the front line that takes the field this afternoon, and while the side they fielded in the previous round was good enough to do for Stoke, the opposition they face here will be more of a test. The Foxes are likely to ring some changes – they must, with Jamie Vardy unavailable – but this season has seen them show decent form even when their star striker is absent.
Our recommended tip: Over 3.5 goals
One thing that this match is likely to have going for it is the players selected for involvement will mostly have points to prove, and we can expect to see 22 professionals giving it their all. Leicester have built a lot of this season’s success on the Soyuncu – Evans partnership in their back four; with those players likely to be rested, they may wobble in defence. However, with Vardy injured and Kele Iheanacho likely to be rested, this is a chance for Ayoze Perez to show his mettle through the middle – a chance he’ll be keen to take. We can expect a few goals, and Paddy Power offer 23/10 that it’ll be at least four.
The last time these sides met, Brentford scored a comfortable 2-0 win. Of course, a lot has changed in the mean time, with the previous meeting having come nearly 81 years ago, before even World War II. We can probably rule out any of the same players being selected for this outing. What we can say is that Leicester met Wigan, another Championship side, in the previous round and beat them 2-0 without really breaking a sweat. If Brentford field their reserves as expected here, a similar result is probably to be expected.
Top 3 FA Cup Bookies
Players to watch: Emiliano Marcondes & Ayoze Perez
The scorer of Brentford’s winner in the previous round, Emiliano Marcondes is a player looking to make up for lost time. His career at Brentford has been punctuated by injury, and he spent the first few months of this season on loan at the Bees’ sister club, FC Midtjylland in his native Denmark. The attacking midfielder will be looking for chances to demonstrate that he should be a more regular member of the starting XI here, and Leicester will need to be alive to his threat from set pieces.
Perez’s arrival at Leicester for £30million was considered a smart move for player and club, although anyone expecting a Vardy-esque finisher would have had to reset their expectations. The Spaniard operates more as a hard-working roaming forward, creating openings rather than finishing them. However, when he scores, he tends to score again – his first goal for the club came at Southampton in a 9-0 win, and that goal was followed by two others. At each of his three clubs so far, Perez has notched at least one hat-trick.