Priestfield Stadium will be buzzing for this 3rd Round FA Cup tie between League 2 outfit Gillingham and Premier League club Leicester City. The Gills are sitting at the foot of League Two, obtaining just 14 league points all season. There are 79 places between the two teams in the football league pyramid and Leicester are the overwhelming favourites to prevail despite their own struggles this season.
I’ve collated all the necessary stats for this lunchtime kick off in the FA Cup. The numbers behind goals, shots, cards, corners and more, can be found below. Unsure as to how to get the most out of my stats pack? Then make sure to check out my Stats Pack Guide.
Gillingham have been using a mixture of different formations this season ranging from 3-4-3, to 4-3-3 but are likely to line up in a good old fashioned 4-4-2 system for this game. It would give them two strong banks of four to try and get a foothold in the game and defend with some substance.
Striker Lewis Walker and attacking midfielder Ben Reeves are ruled out through injury and new signing Tom Nichols is cup-tied. Goalkeeper Jake Turner will start after loanee Glenn Morris recently left the club.
Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers said in his pre-game press conference ‘We’ll pick a team we believe can win the game. We have to bear in mind that we have a game on Tuesday. We’ll look at doing that, assessing the guys, making sure we’re not risking them to get any more injuries’.
The Foxes’ injury list is extensive with the likes of James Maddison, Dewsbury-Hall, James Justin & Patson Daka all on the sidelines. 21 year old Kasey McAteer could get the nod in attacking midfield, whilst Kelechi Iheanacho or Ayoze Perez battle it out for the striker spot.
Gillingham are bottom of the football league pyramid and one of the main reasons for that are their issues in front of goal. They average just 0.30 goals per game which is shockingly low. At the heart of those issues are only 8.96 shots per game, of which an appalling 2.26 are on target. Their xG per match of 1.01 is a lot higher though, so they have been underachieving by quite some margin. Gillingham have conceded an average of 1.22 goals per game which isn’t too bad.
Their opponents have only averaged 3.26 SOT in each fixture which shows their defence probably isn’t the problem. It is a surprise to see Gillingham average more corners in each game (4.39) than their opponents (4.35), although this could be explained by the fact that they’ve trailed a lot this season. Their disciplinary numbers are about average, picking up 1.78 cards in each game compared to 1.65 from their opponents.
Leicester have an xG of 1.44 goals per game and that is the exact figure they’ve returned on the field. Their average goals against of 1.72 also correlates very closely to their xGA. It is worrying how many shots the Foxes have conceded per game (13.39), of which 4.39 have been on target.
Brendan Rodgers’ men at least have a decent SOT ratio of 4.17 compared to their overall shots per game of 10.94. The Foxes have picked up very few corners (3.78), whilst their opponents have amassed an average of 6.06 in each fixture. Leicester have been quite a clean team only obtaining 1.22 cards per game, with their opponents picking up 1.78.
Player Shots and Shots on Target
Striker Lewis Walker averages the most shots per 90 mins for Gillingham (2.26), but his SOT rate is only 0.76. Walker is injured and not expected to feature. Alex MacDonald is next on the list (1.94), but he is another who has a poor SOT figure of just 0.69 per 90 mins.
This is a miserable looking list for the Gills and their lack of offensive firepower is wholly demonstrated when you delve into these statistics. No other player outside of those two mentioned averages more than 0.41 SOT per 90 mins. Striker Hakeeb Adelakun fires in 1.54 shots per match and maybe he might try a couple of speculative efforts here.
Of those expected to play here, Harvey Barnes is worth considering because he tends to convert a good number of his shots on target. Barnes averages 1.21 SOT per 90 mins from 2.43 attempts.
Kelechi Iheanacho could start upfront and would be another candidate to fire in a few attempts. He averages 2.88 per 90 mins, although his accuracy rate isn’t very good. Midfielder Youri Tielemans averages 1.24 shots per 90 mins and will likely be on set piece duty, so can’t be ignored in the shooting markets in a match like this.
Player Goals and Assists
Gillingham have only scored seven league goals in 23 games this season. Defender Will Wright has therefore done extremely well to assist three times! Kashket and Baggott are the joint leading scorers with two goals each, but at this stage of the season this list is more one of embarrassment.
The Gills attack has been a shambles and it is difficult to see where any threat comes from. They really do need some magic of the cup to help them out.
Harvey Barnes has scored six goals but has surprisingly not yielded any assists form the left wing. He is very much an inside forward type of player and can sometimes be selfish. James Maddison is the leading scorer and assist provider but is not expected to play here due to injury.
Jamie Vardy only has one goal but does have four assists. The chances are that the veteran forward will be rested for the FA Cup. Midfielder Youri Tielemans has scored three goals and is always a threat from set pieces and long range shots.
Defenders Max Ehmer and Will Wright lead the Gills for cards with five each. Ehmer averages more fouls per 90 mins (1.38), but both are strong candidates to go into the book here.
Elsewhere, midfielder Stuart O’Keefe is another to keep an eye on. He has obtained three cards and averages 1.25 fouls per 90 mins. Striker Adelakun also tends to weigh in with at least one foul per game and is no stranger to going into the referee’s book.
Kelechi Iheanacho or Ayoze Perez should start for Leicester upfront. Whoever gets the nod will be a tough matchup for the left centre back, most likely Max Ehmer. Perez especially can be elusive, averaging exactly 5.00 dribbles per 90 mins and is fouled on a regular basis.
Harvey Barnes will cut inside from the left wing and offer a significant challenge for Will Wright. Barnes averages nearly three dribbles per 90 mins and is a strong candidate to be fouled. James Maddison is injured so the key midfield battle could be Nampalys Mendy, who will likely come up against O’Keefe.
Match-Ups to watch
Max Ehmer vs Ayoze Perez or Kelechi Iheanacho
Will Wright vs Harvey Barnes
Stuart O’Keefe vs Nampalys Mendy
James Maddison is the biggest Leicester offender on this list with five cards but likely won’t play. Wilfried Ndidi could feature in midfield. Should he start, he would definitely be one to watch, averaging 1.61 fouls per 90 mins, the most of any Foxes player on this list.
This is generally quite a clean team though, perhaps too soft at times and nobody else really stands out. Tielemans averages over one foul per game and someone in his position will always be drawn into some midfield battles.
Midfielder Stuart O’Keefe has been fouled on average 1.64 times per 90 mins and a midfield matchup with either Tielemans or Ndidi much be considered. Winger, Jordan Green has mostly been used as a substitute this season but has a high foul count on him (3.60) per 90 mins.
Midfielder Shaun Williams is another who might be targeted and left back David Tutonda locking horns with Timothy Castagne could be a feature of this game.
Match-Ups to watch
Youri Tielemans vs Stuart O’Keefe
Nampalys Mendy or Wilfried Ndidi vs Shaun Williams
Timothy Castagne vs David Tutonda