European-chasing Sheffield United make the 130 mile-round trip to the East Midlands on Thursday evening to face a Leicester City side still with Champions League aspirations of their own, in what has all of hallmarks of a fascinating encounter.
The Blades, who initially struggled to replicate the type of form that sees them second only to Liverpool in the goals against charts, will be buoyed on by a string of more positive results – cruising to a 3-0 drubbing of Chelsea last time out.
Hosts Leicester meanwhile are desperate to draw a line under a second-half demise at Bournemouth, and with a rejuvenated Manchester United now breathing down their necks in the hunt for fourth place, Brendan Rodgers’ men have every reason to be anxious.
Midfielder John Fleck is poised to return to the fold for United having missed the Blades’ past four outings with a groin issue. Luke Freeman and Leon Clarke remain long-term absentees.
Çağlar Söyüncü’s dismissal at the weekend means Rodgers will be unable to call on his Turkish centre-back, while there are fitness tests for trio Marc Albrighton (knock), Ben Chilwell (foot) and James Maddison (hip). The latter has had to watch on from afar since being forced off against Everton on July 1.
A fiercely struck Harvey Barnes volley proved the difference when the sides met in the early-season sunshine at Bramall Lane, his effort going on to claim the August Goal of the Month crown.
Jamie Vardy had given the visitors a half-time advantage before Oli McBurnie bagged his first goal in United colours on the hour mark to level, but home fans’ joy would last a mere eight minutes as substitute Barnes took centre stage and left Henderson a spectator in the Sheffield United net to compel the Blades to a first Premier League loss.
Sheffield United have lost just once in games where leading marksman Oli McBurnie has found the net – incidentally August’s reverse fixture between the two.
Leicester City are seeking to keep four consecutive home clean sheets in the Premier League for the first time since February 2016, registering five during their illustrious title-winning campaign.
Seven of Sheffield United’s 14 PL victories have arrived courtesy of a 1-0 scoreline – a league high for that particular result – however, they’ve failed to score in three of the last four away fixtures (D2, L2).
Not since 1928-29 have Leicester managed to do a top-flight double over Thursday’s opponents, with this the 38th time of asking.
ONE TO WATCH
Youri Tielemans – Leicester City
A large part of The Foxes’ success this term can be traced back to their number 8. Missing just the once all season, Tielemans continues to pull off the type of lung-busting performances synonymous with somebody at the peak of his powers.
But it is so easy to forget that aged 23, we’re yet to see the very best of the former AS Monaco starlet, who has taken to life in England like a duck to water and encapsulates everything good about the contemporary box-to-box midfield player. If Leicester are to come away with a result here, you would imagine that he will have a big say in it indeed.
Sky Sports Main Event from 6.00pm BST is where you’ll catch the action complete with added crowd noise, or if you prefer to keep things authentic, Sky Sports Premier League. The game is also available for non-paying customers to watch on free-to-air channel Pick:
Freeview (channel 11), Freesat (channel 147), Sky (channel 159) and Virgin Media (channel 165).