Reigning Premier League champions Leicester City’ chances of clinching the historic place in the Champions League semi-finals are very much alive, but the Foxes’ attempts to exact revenge on their La Liga opponents Atletico Madrid following a controversial win in the first leg will be easier said than done.
Can Leicester continue the dream?
Leicester City have gone through a lot over the last year as Premier League champions as the current season turned out to be quite a bumpy ride for the Foxes. Claudio Ranieri was given a sack despite guiding the club to historic success in the league, but the Italian found out once again that there is no room for emotions in football when he was forced to pack his bags and leave. The Italian’s assistant Craig Shakespeare took the helm and managed to steady the ship with consecutive wins in the Premier League and notable result in the knockout stages of the Champions League much to delight of Leicester fans. However, the Foxes are once again experiencing a slump in form which saw them lose back-to-back matches at Everton and Atletico Madrid before being forced to settle for a 2-2 draw at Crystal Palace despite a two-goal lead before the hour mark. The forthcoming clash against Atletico Madrid marks a return to King Power Stadium following three matches on the road and a fine chance for the team to get back on Los Rojiblancos, who triumphed thanks to a dubious penalty call for a foul from Marc Albrighton which occurred outside the area.
Defender Robert Huth missed out through suspension and Shakespeare will be forced to field captain Wes Morgan, who is still not fully fit to feature. Nampalys Mendy and Molla Wague are confirmed absentees.
Can Atletico replicate last season’s success?
Diego Simeone has been doing a wonderful job during his time with Atletico Madrid, who have emerged as one of the strongest sides in Europe under his reign. Los Colchineros have been transformed into a tightly-packed unit renowned for their impressive defensive records and lethal attacking exploits and as a team which possesses great deal of character and personality, much like their boss. The last season’s Champions League finalists did not have the best of starts to the European campaign in the group stage, but they still managed to get this far even though many people expected them to fail. Atletico Madrid’s domestic season saw them lose pace in the title race and Champions League remains the only competition that will be able to save their season ahead what is like to be decisive summer for the club. The manager could very much leave Vicente Calderon, together with the best player Antoine Griezmann who is enjoying a rather successful season with Atletico Madrid.
Kevin Gameiro and Miguel Angel Moya are back in contention, whereas Tiago Mendes, Augusto Fernandez and Sime Vrsaljko continue to miss out due to respective injuries.
Atletico Madrid are a much more experienced side and will use all of the Champions League past knowledge to protect their lead and hit Leicester City hard on the counters. The hosts have no choice but to attack, which could leave them exposed to lethal visitors.
Top pick: Atletico Madrid 2.15 (23/20) @Betfair
Alternative Pick 1: Antoine Griezmann to score anytime 2.50 (6/4) @888sport
Alternative pick 2: Under 2.5 goals 1.70 (7/10) @BetVictor