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.
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.
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.
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.
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.