This time last year Leicester sat bottom of the table as the calendars were changed, and even their most optimistic of fans wouldn’t have predicted that they would be joint-top 12 months on; however, that is exactly where they find themselves as they host Bournemouth this weekend.
Tuesday’s goalless draw with Manchester City brought the Foxes back level on points with Arsenal and showed that they are capable of going toe-to-toe with the Premier League heavyweights, which will give Claudio Ranieri’s side the belief that they can sustain their remarkable form.
A slight concern for the Italian will be the lack of goals over the festive period; having scored in every game until Boxing Day, the Foxes failed to find the net against Liverpool or Manchester City.
However, this should not detract from what has been a superb year for the team from the King Power Stadium – the challenge now is whether they can carry the momentum into 2016. They have lost just once at home all season, and will be confident of extending that record this weekend.
2015 has also been a magnificent year for Bournemouth, who have followed up their Championship title with some historic results in the Premier League, with victories over Chelsea and Manchester United already under their belts.
The Cherries saw a six-match unbeaten run end against Arsenal on Monday evening, a result which left them two places and three points above the bottom three. Like their opponents this weekend, the South Coast outfit also went goalless over Christmas, and despite the impressive form of Josh King and Junior Stanislas, it is likely that Eddie Howe will be searching for attackers to add to his squad now that the transfer window is open.
Bournemouth haven’t won at Leicester since 1988, and last time they met at the King Power Stadium two seasons ago, Jamie Vardy netted the winner in a 2-1 Foxes win; Howe and his side will be hoping history doesn’t repeat itself this weekend.
Claudio Ranieri has confirmed that Vardy has recovered from illness and will lead the line for the hosts, but Matty James and Jeffery Schlupp remain on the injury list.
For the visitors, there are no fresh injury concerns as Howe seeks to protect his players amidst the hectic festive schedule; Callum Wilson, Tyrone Mings and Max Gradel are all long-term absentees.
League Position: Leicester – 2nd (39 pts); Bournemouth – 16th (20 pts)
Last Meeting: Bournemouth 1-1 Leicester (August 29, 2015)
Form: Leicester – DWWWLD; Bournemouth – DWWWDL
Key Players: Leicester – Riyad Mahrez; Bournemouth – Junior Stanislas
Shoot Says: Leicester 2-1 Bournemouth