Last season’s miraculous Premier League triumph by Leicester City was one of the most remarkable sporting moments in recent history. The Foxes have crashed back down to earth domestically this season but their European dream continues.
After Claudio Ranieri’s sacking, Leicester have recorded consecutive 3-1 home wins to drag themselves away from immediate relegation danger. In La Liga, Sevilla are punching above their weight under shrewd boss Jorge Sampaoli and trail Barcelona by a mere 3 points in 3rd place.
Sampaoli’s versatile unit won the first leg at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán but their narrow 2-1 advantage provides a possible route back for Leicester through Jamie Vardy’s crucial away goal. With Sevilla likely to control the ball for long periods of the game, the fleet Foxes will rely on Riyad Mahrez to provide ammunition for Vardy on the counter.
Ruled out: Mendy
Likely starting XI (4-4-2): Schmeichel; Simpson, Morgan, Huth, Fuchs; Mahrez, Ndidi, Drinkwater, Albrighton; Vardy, Okazaki
Ruled out: Trémoulinas, Krohn-Dehli
Likely starting XI (4-2-3-1): Rico; Mariano, Mercado, Rami, Escudero; Iborra, N’Zonzi; Sarabia, Nasri, Vitolo; Jovetic
He’s the the reigning Premier League player of the year, but Riyad Mahrez has endured a difficult season in 2016/2017 on the domestic front. The Algerian winger, however, has been instrumental in Leicester’s fine home form in the Champions League having directly contributed to 3 of their 4 goals at the King Power. Captain Wes Morgan’s Premier League fortunes have followed a similar pattern; imperious last season and forgettable this time around. Against a talented and unpredictable attack, the Jamaican will have to be at his burly best.
Ex-Stoke midfielder Steven N’Zonzi has attempted more passes than any other player in this season’s Champions League and the Frenchman’s physicality adds an extra dimension to Sevilla’s style. His height and ability to control the tempo of a match have contributed to Sevilla’s excellent defensive record of 5 clean sheets in the competition, no side has recorded more. Another man looking to prove a point back in England is Samir Nasri. The midfielder was deemed surplus to requirements at Manchester City and he opted for a loan move away. He’ll be desperate to improve on a record of 1 goal and 1 assist in 17 career knockout Champions League ties.
Key Match Stats
- There have been over 2.5 goals scored in Leicester’s last 3 matches in the Champions League.
- Leicester are the first team to have topped their group on Champions League debut since 2013.
- Leicester have never beaten Spanish opposition in European competition.
- Sevilla haven’t lost an away match in the Champions League this season.
- Sevilla have never gone past the last 16 of the Champions League.
- Sevilla have kept 5 clean sheets in the Champions League this season, no side has kept more.
This tie is on a knife edge which makes ClickaBet odds of 3.58 seem very attractive, especially given Jorge Sampaoli’s ability to adapt his side’s tactics according to those of the opposition.