Leicester City will head to Real Madrid for their quarter final first leg at the home of last year’s finalists Atletico Madrid. It’s tough to guess which Leicester side will turn up for the tie as they have been irresistible of late but can throw it away as we saw against Everton.
One major blow will be the absence of key defender and club captain Wes Morgan. Leicester will have to be far tighter and disciplined than they were at Goodison on Sunday if they have any hope of getting something out of the away leg. Atletico are played a feisty 1-1 draw at the home of arch rivals Real Madrid with star man Antoine Griezmann scoring the equaliser.
Predicted Leicester City lineup (4-4-2)
In goal, Kasper Schmeichel is set to keep his place and is one of six players who were unchanged for the Everton game on Sunday. He has been in good form overall and will need that and some more as he is likely to face a plethora of shots from the home side.
In defence, fullbacks Danny Simpson and Christian Fuchs will be recalled to the side after being left out of the starting line-up on Sunday. Both were rested for that game and will be eager to come back into the thick of the action. Defender Wes Morgan is out and his place will most likely be filled by Yohan Benalouane who looked really shaky trying to shackle Romelu Lukaku at Goodison Park. He will be partnered by Leicester stalwart Robert Huth who also had an afternoon to forget on Sunday.
In the middle of the park, Danny Drinkwater will start after playing the full 90 on Sunday. Wilfred Ndidi is set to come back into the IX after missing out with groin injury. In front of them, Player of the year Riyad Mahrez will look to give the Atletico defence a run for their money after playing only half an hour on Sunday. Marc Albrighton will look to continue his splendid form of late which has seen him provide two assists and a goal in the last two Premier League games. He will be expected to do a lot of defending as well.
In attack, Shinji Okazaki will partner Jamie Vardy in a two man strike force with Islam Slimani likely to get minutes off the bench. Okazaki gets in because of his superior work rate to that of the Algerian.
Okazaki’s presence could be key as Atleti will be expected to have the ball. If the Japanese can press the defenders, he could force something to transpire.
Vardy keeps his place in the starting eleven and Leicester boss Craig Shakespeare will be hoping he’ll have one of those days where he is just unplayable on the counter attacks.
Although it looks an uphill task, it would be foolish to write off a team like Leicester who, over the past year, have lived an impossible dream against all odds.