All articles by: Jools Jordan-Probert

Atletico Madrid v Leicester City Match Preview

Atletico Madrid v Leicester City Match Preview – Wednesday 12th April 2017 7.45pm  
Champions League Quarter Final, Vincente Calderon, Madrid


Here we have it, the biggest game in Leicester City’s history to date. The Premier League Champions face one of football’s most daunting tasks as they travel to Atletico Madrid’s Vincente Calderon for this UEFA Champions League quarter-final match.

Claudio Ranieri’s last game in charge of the Foxes was a resilient 2-1 away defeat against Sevilla in the last 16. Dominated in the first half, Leicester battled back and provided a wonderful second half performance reminiscent of the form that saw them crowned Champions and earning an away goal to take back to the King Power.

Craig Shakespeare will be looking to carry on the good work of Claudio Ranieri by looking to lead the foxes to the next round of the Champions League. Photo Credit: Belfast Telegraph

Craig Shakespeare will be looking to carry on the good work of Claudio Ranieri by looking to lead the foxes to the next round of the Champions League. Photo Credit: Belfast Telegraph

Since Ranieri’s infamous departure much has changed, Craig Shakespeare has taken over and bar the 4-2 defeat against Everton on Sunday, has emerged victorious in every match played. 6 wins out of 7 later and The Blues are seemingly revitalised and playing like the swashbuckling team that conquered all before them on the march to the Premier League title last season.

The Foxes will be hoping to elongate their incredible fairy-tale story but will have to better one of Europe’s best teams to do so.

La Liga Champions in 2013-14 accompanied by Champions League runners-up finishes in that same year and 2015-16 under the brilliant Diego Simeone highlights what a powerful side Atletico are.
There is further European pedigree under the Argentine too; as he has led Atletico to UEFA Europa League and UEFA Super Cup titles during his tenure.

Currently 3rd in La Liga and out of the cup competitions; European glory signifies the Spanish outfit’s only real chance of silverware this season. Unbeaten in their last 8 including clean sheets in 5 of those games; Atletico have already shown they are in prime battle-mode with a late equaliser against bitter rivals and Champions League holders Real Madrid on Saturday.


Team News

Leicester City will have to travel to Madrid without Captain Wes Morgan as he has been ruled out of the vital clash with a back injury and Nampalys Mendy is out long-term but Danny Simpson, Christian Fuchs, Shinji Okazaki and Riyad Mahrez are all expected to return to the side. The in-form Wilfried Ndidi is currently 50/50 to be fit in time after a groin concern.

Atheltico Madrid's - Kevin Gameiro looks set to miss the tie with the foxes

Atheltico Madrid’s – Kevin Gameiro looks set to miss the tie with the foxes

Atletico have several injury worries with Miguel Moya, Sime Vrsaljko, Augusto Fernandez, Tiago, Nico Gaitan and Kevin Gameiro all likely to miss out – stretching the squad to its limits.

Players to Watch

Atletico possess one of the world’s greatest players in Antoine Griezmann. The 2016 European Championships Top Scorer and Best Player has been in devastating form again this season – in 42 appearances his tally stands at 23 goals and a further 9 assists. He currently averages 0.53 goals a game in his Atletico career and became their top ever Champions League/European Cup goal-scorer with his strike against Bayer Leverkusen in the last-16 first leg. Griezmann has also been heavily linked with a move away from Madrid – Manchester United the apparent favourites for the signature with a potential world-record bid on the cards to prise away the Frenchman testament to his performances.

Antoine Griezmann & Riyad Mahrez will be the main men both sides will be looking to for goals.

Antoine Griezmann & Riyad Mahrez will be the main men both sides will be looking to for goals.

Last season’s PFA Players’ Player of the Year Riyad Mahrez may have seen his form dip this campaign compared to the phenomenal standards he had previously set – but in the Champions League he has been exceptional. The Algerian Player of the Year has directly contributed 6 goals (4 goals, 2 assists) in 7 matches and has won Man of the Match 3 times. The skilful wide-man undoubtedly possesses the ability to conjure a piece of magic that can win a game and if at his all-conquering best, the Atletico defence will have to be imperious to limit his effect.


Atletico are seeking to reach their third Champions League Final in 4 years and it is easy to see why Los Rojiblancos are massive favourites – the team is brimming with talent and has an unrivalled defensive nous under Simeone.

Atletico are also formidable at home, remarkably only conceding 5 goals in their last 20 home European outings. In addition, they are unbeaten against English sides in all 10 previous matches on home soil.
And to add to that, in 4 previous meetings Leicester have never emerged victorious in this fixture and make no mistake, this will be The Foxes’ most difficult test yet.

However, Leicester thrive in the role of underdogs – as proven with last season’s campaign  with remarkable triumphs. Even this season against the odds they have broken records in the Champions’ League Group Stage; becoming the first English team to win their first three matches in the European Cup and also not conceding a single goal in their first four.

It is also somewhat special that Ranieri guided the team through those records and that the last goal scored during his reign effectively put Leicester through to this stage on the away goals rule – and if Leicester do go on to reach even greater heights by winning this tie, no one will be able to deny the Italian’s part in this incredible story.

SkyBet Suggested Tips & Request-A-Bets
  • SkyBet Price Boost: Correct Score Atletico Madrid to win 3-0 – 7/1
  • SkyBet Price Boost: Correct Score Leicester to win 1-0 – 28/1
  • SkyBet Price Boost: Riyad Mahrez to score first – 20/1
  • SkyBet Scorecast Boost: Yannick Ferreira Carrasco to score first and Atletico Madrid to win 4-0 – 60/1
  • SkyBet Scorecast Boost: Shinji Okazaki to score first and either Leicester to win 2-1 or Draw 1-1 80/1
  • SkyBet Featured RequestABet Boost: Greizmann to score & Drinkwater to be carded first – 50/1
  • SkyBet Featured RequestABet Up-to 50/1: Leicester to win & Leicester 5+ Corners – 50/1
  • SkyBet Pundits’ Predictions: Phil Thomspon & Jamie Redknapp’s Tips – Antoine Griezmann to score frist and Athletico Madrid to Win 2-0 – 11/1
  • SkyBet Both Players To Score: Antoinne Greizmann and Riyad Mahrez both to score in 90 minutes – 9/1
  • SkyBet Player to Score outside the area: Mahrez to score outside the penalty area – 33/1
  • SkyBet Featured RequestABet Up-to 28/1: Griezmann & Ferreira Carrasco to Score, Atletico Madrid to win and 20+ booking pts each team – 11/1
  • SkyBet Featured RequestABet 80/1 and above: Atletico Madrid to win to nil, 4+ Leicester Corners, Vardy & Koke to be carded and atletico madrid to score a penalty – 200/1
  • SkyBet Featured RequestABet 80/1 and above: Diego Godin to score a header and Leicester miss a penalty – 300/1
  • SkyBet Featured RequestABet 80/1 and above:  Godin to score a header, Gabi to be booked & a penalty missed – 300/1
  • SkyBet Featured RequestABet 80/1 and above:  No Goalscorer & No booking points – 250/1
  • SkyBet Featured RequestABet 80/1 and above:  Greizmann and Mahrez to score outside the penalty area – 300/1 – Currently suspended by skybet – keep checking for it to come back.
  • SkyBet @FootyAccums Specials: Griezmann & Vardy to Score and Gabi, Huth & Ndidi to be carded – 200/1
  • SkyBet Featured RequestABets: Mahrez & Vardy to score and Godin & Fuchs to be carded – 200/1
  • SkyBet Champions League RequestABets – @FootyAccums Specials: Robben & Griezmann to score, 4+ corners in each half & each team 20+ booking pts in each of ATM v LEI & BAY v RMA – 66/1
    Note: this has been updated from the 50/1 given Robert Lewandowski won’t be playing for Bayern tonight.
  • SkyBet Cross Match RequestABet Specials: Each of Sergio Ramos and Diego Godin to be carded – void if any player doesn’t take part – 13/2
  • SkyBet Cross Match RequestABet Specials: A penalty awarded in each of ATM v LEI & BAY v RMA – 8/1

Kick-off:Vicente Calderón Stadium, Madrid, 7:45pm Wednesday 12th April 2017.

Everton v Leicester City Match Preview

Everton v Leicester City Match Preview – Sunday 9th April 2017 4PM – FA Premier League, Goodison Park, Liverpool

Champions of England, Leicester City will be looking for their sixth successive Premier League win under new manager Craig Shakespeare as they travel to European football-chasing Everton on Sunday.

Ronald Koman & Craig Shakespeare go head-to-head this weekend with both their sides being in good form this weekend.

Ronald Koeman & Craig Shakespeare go head-to-head this weekend with both their sides being in good form this weekend. Photo Credits: Sky Sports

Under intense scrutiny amidst the acrimonious departure of underdog hero, FIFA World Coach of the Year and Premier League winner Claudio Ranieri; Shakespeare has written a story of his own – 6 straight wins in all competitions has brought almost certain safety from relegation. All the while continuing the march to conquer Europe as the Foxes face Atletico Madrid in midweek in the UEFA Champions League quarter-final.

The team looks reinvigorated with a renewed sense of belief, defending with a clearer organisation and attacking with purpose – Jamie Vardy’s recent form is testament to that.

Everton meanwhile also have European football in their crosshairs – defeat narrowly escaping their clutches on Tuesday against Manchester makes the top 6 an uphill task, though they are sitting in 7th place, just 3 points away from 5th and 6th placed Arsenal and Manchester United respectively (albeit both teams have two games in hand).

After two tricky away matches against Liverpool and United, Everton will relish the sanctuary of Goodison Park this weekend in an attempt to rectify their recent form immediately. However, The Blues have not done the league double over Leicester since 1986/87 so victory will be no mean feat.


The Toffees have quite often been touted as the ‘best of the rest’ this season outside of the ‘big 6’ and the league table suggests that – West Brom have played a game more and languish 6 points behind the blue of Merseyside in 8th (whilst still having an incredible season of their own).

Ronald Koeman has integrated youth into the Everton side – introducing starlet Tom Davies, playing Mason Holgate, derby-day goalscorer Matthew Pennington and Dominic Calvert-Lewin to name a few – whilst also getting the best from big name players like Leighton Baines and Romelu Lukaku. This balance has created a formidable team for the Dutchman, and will be a stern test for the travelling champions.

Team News

Ashley Williams will inevitably be suspended after his injury time deliberate hand-ball against Manchester United on Tuesday night. Everton will also be without the injured Ramiro Funes Mori, Yannick Bolasie and Muhammed Besic (all knee) as well as Seamus Coleman (broken leg) and James McCarthy (hamstring) who both obtained injuries on international duty.
Aaron Lennon and the in-form Morgan Schneiderlin are also both doubts for the Toffees.

Leicester are mainly fresh but will travel to Merseyside without captain Wes Morgan in their backline as he has sustained a back injury. Nampalys Mendy will also miss out with an ankle grievance.


Players to Watch

Jamie Vardy & Romenlu Lukaku will be looking to feature amongst the goals this weekend.

Jamie Vardy & Romenlu Lukaku will be looking to feature amongst the goals this weekend.

Romelu Lukaku is unquestionably Everton’s dangerman. The Belgian beast has been directly involved in 27 (21 goals, 6 assists) of Everton’s 53 league goals this campaign which is a whopping 50.9%. Couple that with his recent lethalness when playing at home – scoring 10 in his last six – an anytime goal-scorer wager for the 23-year old looks a sure thing. The Belgium international is the complete package and keeping him quiet will be key to the champions obtaining a result.

Leicester also have a firing frontman in their ranks as the many-times told tale of Jamie Vardy keeps having new chapters added. The England international has scored in his last 5 games for the Foxes, including 5 in his last 4 in the Premier League. His lightning pace and tireless work rate are a constant threat and Everton will have a real test on their hands to put the famous Fox off the scent of goal. He also has two goals and two assists in his last three against The Blues.

Betting Markets with SkyBet

SkyBet have the home team as big favourites for this, as Everton are looking for a seventh home victory in a row (5 of the previous 6 home wins have also been clean sheets) – something that hasn’t been achieved in 3 years. In contrast, despite Leicester rapidly climbing the league the Foxes still have the third worst away form in the division. They are searching for back-to-back away victories for the first time in a year.

With both teams relatively flying high as of late and both also having the undoubted capability to bring firepower and magic, this has the settings for a superb Springtime encounter.

Suggested Tips:
  • Skybet Price boost – Everton to win and both teams to score – 3/1
  • Skybet Price boost – Romelu Lukaku and Jamie Vardy both to score in 90 mins – 6/1
  • Skybet Price boost – Everton to win 2-0 – 9/1
  • Skybet Price boost – Leicester to win 1-0 – 16/1
  • Skybet Request-A-Bet 80/1 and above – Slimani to score, Leicester to Win, BTTS and Fuchs to be carded – 40/1
  • Skybet Scorecast boost – Romelu Lukaku to score first and Everton to win 3-1 – 40/1
  • Skybet Scorecast boost –  Jamie Vardy to score first and either Leicester to win 2-0 or Leicester to win 2-1 – 50/1
  • Skybet Request-A-Bet 80/1 and above – Draw 2-2 and Davies, Fuchs & Gueye to be carded – 400/1
  • Skybet Request-A-Bet 80/1 and above – Lukaku to score, Everton 3-1 and Schneiderlin & Barry to be carded – 500/1

 Goodison Park, 4:00pm Sunday 9th April.

West Ham v Swansea Match Preview

West Ham v Swansea Match Preview – Saturday 8th April 2017 3PM – FA Premier League, Olympic Stadium, London

At the beginning of the season there wouldn’t have been a few billing this game as a massive one – but that is exactly what West Ham v Swansea is.

The battle to avoid relegation is incredibly tight; with West Ham being dragged into it over the past month.

Just 5 points separate relegation-zone Swansea who lie in 18th place on 28 points and West Ham in 15th place on 33 points. In the wider context of the league table, there are only 9 points between Southampton who are in 9th and the Swans.

Both teams are in woeful form; after the initial resurgence in reaction to the appointment of Paul Clement, Swansea have lost at relegation rivals Hull and Bournemouth whilst drawing with Middlesbrough and losing again to Spurs in heart-breaking fashion at home.

Pair that with West Ham’s 5 consecutive losses – their worst run since 2010/11 in a season that they were relegated – and the end product is a match where both teams desperately need the win.


West Ham manager, Slaven Billic has felt the pressure as a result of this form – forcing the owners of the club to publicly give their vote of confidence to the Croatian manager.

West Ham Manager, Slaven Bilic is feeling the pressure at the Olympic Stadium

West Ham Manager, Slaven Bilic is feeling the pressure at the Olympic Stadium

Both Crystal Palace and Hull will be playing away to Arsenal and Manchester City respectively bringing an opportunity for both sides in todays match preview to either gain ground or pull away from their relegation rivals.

Both teams will be looking to avenge this fixture where the Swans claimed a huge scalp in a surprise 4-1 victory in the penultimate game from last season at The Boleyn Ground and in the reverse fixture this season, The Irons tore Swansea apart at The Liberty Stadium by the same score-line on Boxing Day.

Injury News

West Ham’s star men Michael Antonio and Andy Carroll are both set to return to the squad despite leaving the pitch injured and ill respectively in the Hammers last game which ended in a 3-0 defeat against Arsenal.

The Irons will be hoping to have Carroll fit again. Photo: Sky Sports News

The Irons will be hoping to have Carroll fit again. Photo: Sky Sports News

However, the Hammers will be without key defenders Aaron Cresswell and Winston Reid for the vital clash. Angelo Ogbonna and Pedro Obiang are both also ruled out.

Swansea City also have injury concerns. Mainly whether top scorer and leading frontman Fernando Llorente will be passed fit, which is 50/50 at the moment. Swansea have only recorded a solitary point in the games where he has not featured (including and since going off injured in the first half against Hull).

Kyle Naughton also looks set to miss out after obtaining a hamstring injury in the defeat against Spurs on Wednesday night – which could see makeshift right back Leroy Fer deployed there again due to Angel Rangel’s long-term injury.

Lukasz Fabianski will be subject to a late fitness test after the injury he also picked up at the Liberty on Wednesday; but refused to be substituted for which he might have aggravated any knock further.

Players to Watch

As mentioned above, West Ham’s two best players are the returning Antonio and Carroll. The former’s unpredictability of movement and dribbling causes defensive instability and is The Hammers’ top scorer this season with 9 goals and an additional three assists.

Carroll has been his usual destructive self when fit this campaign; with an impressive return of 7 goals from just 14 starts (and three substitute appearances). He offers more than just his infamous aerial prowess – proven by his phenomenal scissor kick this season against fellow relegation strugglers Crystal Palace. Buoyed by a fantastic record against the Swans – five goals and three assists in six Premier League appearances. Expect the English bulldozer to have a say come game-time.

Key-Men: Llorente & Sigurdsson for Swansea. Photo: BBC Sport

Key-Men: Llorente & Sigurdsson for Swansea. Photo: BBC Sport

The Swans have a much stronger chance of winning when star man Gylfi Sigurdsson is on form – the Iceland international has a sensational output of 9 goals and 11 assists in the Premier League this season. Only Emil Forsberg of RB Leipzig has more assists than the attacking midfielder in Europe’s top five leagues; setting up more goals than players such as Ronaldo, Messi, Griezmann, Bale, Neymar and more.

A lot will rest on Fernando Llorente’s fitness for the South Welsh side; undoubtedly a different prospect as a team when the World Cup winning striker is leading the line. Clement’s outfit deliver a lot of balls into the box and need an outlet who can get on the end of those crosses or effectively play with his back to goal. 11 goals in his first season in England is an extremely respectable tally and Swansea fans will be hoping his return to the side can also signify a return to being amongst the goals.

West Ham have only won once in their last six home Premier League matches and Swansea have lost their last four consecutive four away games (never lost five in a row in the PL) – and with both defences unable to hold out for a victory at present – the value punt could well be with a 1-1 draw.

Betting Markets – odds from BET365

Draw – @ 13/5
1-1 Draw – @ 6/1
Carroll to Score and West Ham Win – @ 6/1
Siguardsson to Score and Swansea Win – @ 13/1
Carroll to Score First and 1-1 – @ 35/1
Lorente to Score First and 1-1 – @ 40/1