Brentford v Leicester: Foxes to sneak through to the fifth round
With crucial midweek fixtures looming for each of these two sides, both managers look set to make changes. However, Jack Critchley thinks Leicester have the edge...
Brentford vs Leicester Saturday January 25, 12:45 Live on BBC One
Bees full of confidence
Brentford have enjoyed a fruitful campaign under Thomas Frank so far with the Bees currently five points off the automatic promotion places in the Championship. Their home form has been outstanding and they are a force to be reckoned with at Griffin Park. It may be their final season at this ground, however, they appear to be determined to go out in style and have won each of their last seven matches in West London. They've conceded just three goals here since the beginning of November with Huddersfield and Birmingham the only two sides to have left with maximum points.
At home, they are averaging a staggering 16.8 shots per game and their front three, affectionately referred to as BMW, have played a huge part in their impressive attacking displays. Brentford always register highly on the XG scale and only Leeds have had more efforts on goal so far this season.
Between them, Ollie Watkins, Bryan Mbeumo and Said Benrahma have accounted for 34 of the club's 44 goals in the Championship this season which has resulted in all three of them being linked a move to the Premier League this month.
Heavy rotation is expected
With automatic promotion a realistic possibility this season, the Danish tactician is highly to rotate his squad this weekend. The aforementioned Said Benrahma is highly unlikely to feature following a family bereavement whilst Ollie Watkins may be given a few days off ahead of a crunch match against Nottingham Forest on Tuesday.
Josh Dasilva and Rico Henry may also be left out of the matchday squad whilst injured duo Pontus Jansson and Mathias Jensen are unlikely to be risked. This game could provide the opportunity for the likes of Emiliano Marcondes, Mads Roerslev Rasmussen and Dru Yearwood to get some vital minutes under their belts. The latter featured alongside Luka Racic in Portugal for Brentford B earlier in the week, although the duo weren't in the squad for Wednesday's goalless draw with FC Ferreiras. Their ommission would perhaps suggest that they could feature in some capacity here.
In the third round of the FA Cup, a much-changed Bees side scraped past Stoke City with many fans left unimpressed by their lacklustre performance. They'll be hoping that the clubs youngsters can put in a much-improved display this time around.
Rodgers may have one eye on midweek cup commitments
It's a busy period for Leicester City with the Premier side playing four times in ten days. However, the Foxes will have the chance to recouperate during their 13-day break at the beginning of February.
Brendan Rodgers will have been concerned by the way striker Jamie Vardy pulled up against West Ham on Wednesday evening and he may look to preserve some of his other key players ahead of next week's EFL Cup semi-final against Aston Villa.
Wilfred N'didi is only just back from injury and is unlikely to be risked on Saturday lunchtime whilst the likes of Ricardo Pereira, Johnny Evans and Youri Tielemans could also be given the weekend off.
The 2015-16 champions still have enough stength-in-depth to accomodate a reshuffle with the likes of Wes Morgan, Demarai Gray, James Justin and Marc Albrighton all expected to step in. Rodgers has also confirmed that Dennis Praet and Hamza Choudhury will return to the squad this weekend after being surprisingly left out in midweek.
Cup specialist Iheanacho to notch again
Despite the loss of their talisman, the visitors still have plenty of firepower in their squad and Kelechi Iheanacho could the man to step up and replace to the Premier League's top goalscorer over the next couple of weeks. Three of his six strikes this season have come in the EFL Cup and he will continue his good goalscoring form in domestic cup competitions. He's played just 379 minutes in the top flight this season, yet has still managed to register three goals and three assists.
He looked determined to impress on Wednesday night at the King Power and even though strike partner Ayoze Perez took the majority of the headlines, the Nigerian was still heavily involved throughout the contest. At 13/10 anytime on the Sportsbook, he is worth backing to make a significant contribution in West London.
Visitors to book their place in the fifth round
It's impossible to predict how many changes each manager is likely to make for this tie, however, Leicester's fringe players should have enough quality to get them over the line. Brentford have looked unstoppable at home in the Championship this season, but their XI is likely to be much-changed here and has the potential to be fairly unrecognisable.
With a crucial match against a promotion rival scheduled for Tuesday evening, many of the home side's key men are unlikely to be risked here. As a result, it's worth backing the Foxes at 1.95 on the Exchange to ensure their name is in the hat for the next round.