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Wolves and Foxes go head-to-head

Wolverhampton Wanderers and Leicester City go to battle in a six-pointer at the lower end of the table. Both clubs are in the bottom three and a win would lift either team out the relegation zone.

The bottom four places in the Premier League are currently occupied exclusively by Midlands-based clubs with Aston Villa, Wolves, Leicester, and Nottingham Forest all in early danger of relegation from the English top flight.

Wolves and Villa, both from West Midlands, are without full-time managers after Bruno Lage and Steven Gerrard were dismissed this month. Over in East Midlands, Forest recently rewarded Steve Cooper with a new long-term contract, meanwhile Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers is hanging onto his job by the skin of his teeth.

Lage was shown the door by the Wolves board following just a single win from eight league matches, while Gerrard was the latest managerial casualty after Villa went down to Fulham on Thursday evening. Aaron Danks was named caretaker at Villa Park while Steve Davis is in charge of Wolves in the interim.

Wolves haven’t been convincing on any front and they have scored fewer goals than any other team (5) after finding the net just three times in their first nine games. Both their wins this season came at home and they’ll be aiming to renew this pattern when Leicester pay a visit to the Molineux.

On the other hand Leicester don’t necessarily have trouble scoring, as they comfortably have more goals than any team in the bottom half of the table, but it’s the other end of the pitch proving problematic for Rodgers. Last season no Premier League team conceded more goals from dead-ball situations than Leicester (19).

This term the Foxes leaked the most goals with 24 in the first 11 matches. They are also in possession of the worst away record in the league with 5/5 defeats on their travels. Rodgers’ men have leaked 19 goals away from home, averaging almost four goals conceded per game.

Leicester were the last PL team to pick up a win, eight games into the campaign, when they thrashed local foes Forest, 4-0. Rodgers is on borrowed time and the Northern Irishman has it all to do if he is to keep hold of his job, beginning with a trek to Wolves on Sunday.

During his time at Leicester, Rodgers has recorded two wins from six encounters against Wolves while striker Jamie Vardy has failed to score in all of his five trips to the Molineux. Last season Wolves took a 2-1 victory in this fixture after Leicester won 1-0 on the opening day of the season.

Bet365 have Wolves (2.30) to win; (3.30) Leicester to win; (3.20) for a draw.

Back at Villa, Gerrard was booted less than a year after his appointment and his time ultimately ran out with the club on the cusp of the drop zone after 11 games. Villa sit in 17th position and they are only outside the bottom three courtesy of scoring two goals more than Wolves.

The ex-Liverpool skipper mustered only two wins which were overshadowed by six damning defeats. Gerrard was relieved of his duties with 12 victories from 38 Premier League games in charge, a dismal 31,5 per cent win rate, and his reign came to an end with Villa on 9 points and a -9 goal difference.

Villa’s first game in the post-Gerrard era sees them host Brentford on Sunday, with Thomas Frank’s men winless in five away games this season. It hardly gets easier for the Villains as they also face Newcastle and Man United prior to the World Cup.

Forest upset Liverpool, 1-0, at the City Ground on Saturday to register just their second win since returning to the Premier League.

Cooper’s men have incurred the joint-most defeats this term (7) and they next face a daunting trip to league leaders Arsenal. Forest then host Brentford and Crystal Palace before the season comes to a halt next month for the FIFA World Cup.

The Tricky Trees made a whopping 22 signings following promotion, after 23 years away from the top flight, but the fresh batch of ingredients are struggling to jell thus far. Cooper has not retained the same starting XI for any two consecutive league matches this season, and the 42-year-old Welshman urgently needs to discover the winning formula.

Historically speaking Forest have the superior track record among the Midlands clubs, having won back-to-back European Cups in 1979 & 1980, although Leicester remain the only Midlands team to have conquered the Premier League. Villa lifted the European Cup in 1982.

PL table ahead of five fixtures on Sunday.

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