Two teams tipped to challenge the established top-six in the Premier League this season meet at the King Power Stadium this Sunday, as Leicester City face Wolves. Despite losing Harry Maguire to Manchester United for £80m earlier this week, Leicester still look in good shape to kick on under Brendan Rodgers this season with an extremely talented squad to boast. Likewise, Wolves have been tipped by many to build on last season’s seventh-placed finish, which also saw them enter the Europa League qualifiers.
The lack of wholesale changes and transfers at the King Power Stadium this summer suggests this is a squad that Brendan Rodgers is particularly pleased with heading into the new season. The Foxes will be looking to improve on last season’s ninth-placed finish and with the young talent at the club all now one year older and wiser at this level, one would suggest this is a team that will only get better this year, particularly under the guidance of a manager who has a track record of developing talent. Ben Chilwell, Youri Tielemans, Wilfred Ndidi, James Maddison, Harvey Barnes and Demarai Gray make up an extremely talented young core at the King Power Stadium. However, they will have to improve on the run of form they ended last season with, having won just one of their last five games in the Premier League.
Wolves were tipped by so many to be the surprise package of the Premier League last season that it really was no shock whatsoever when they managed to achieve a seventh-placed finish. This time around, however, Nuno Espirito Santo’s team will be no unknown quantity to the rest of the league, who will be well aware of the quality they possess, with the likes of Ruben Neves, Joao Moutinho, Diogo Jota and Raul Jimenez all making huge impacts at Molineux last season. Their performances helped Wolves enter the Europa League qualifiers, meaning their competitive season started on July 25. That could well play a part on Sunday, with the away side potentially having greater match sharpness as a result of their early season preparations.
Leicester City have no injury concerns heading into this Premier League opener, leaving Brendan Rodgers with a fully-fit squad to select from. Youri Tielemans should start in midfield after making his loan move permanent in the summer, while fellow summer signings James Justin and Ayoze Perez will also be looking to be involved. Jonny Evans and Wes Morgan should start at the heart of the Leicester defence following the departure of Harry Maguire to Manchester United.
Matt Doherty could play some part on Sunday after recently returning to training following a knee injury. New signings Jesus Vallejo, Bruno Jordao, Pedro Neto and Patrick Cutrone will all be hoping to make their Premier League debuts after completing summer moves to Molineux. Forwards Diogo Jota and Raul Jimenez combined to score 27 goals for Wolves in all competitions last season and both are expected to lead the line in their familiar 3-5-2 formation.
Playing a Europa League qualifier less than 72 hours before their Premier League opener is hardly the best preparation for Wolves, which is why we are backing Leicester to pick up three points in this one. They are currently priced with most bookmakers at around 2.20 to start the new season with a win. However, Leicester had the worst defensive record of all the sides that finished in the top half last season and they have lost their best defender in Harry Maguire, so we like both teams to score at 1.90. James Maddison scored his first Leicester goal against Wolves last season and is priced at 3.75 to find the back of the net in this contest.