Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Prediction: Atletico Madrid vs Leicester City


Verdict: Atletico to win to nil

Best Odds: 5/6

Bookmaker: bet365

Last year’s runners up Atletico Madrid will fancy their chances of pipping Premier League holders Leicester City to a place in the semi-finals, but the Foxes have already shocked Sevilla and they seem determined to make the most of their first ever Champions League appearance, meaning we should see an interesting affair at Vicente Calderon.

Atletico Madrid

Diego Simeone has led Atletico Madrid to unimagined heights, helping the club end an 18-year wait for La Liga trophy and also taking them to two Champions League finals in three years, only to be beaten by bitter rivals Real Madrid in both of those matches. And while many believed los Colchoneros would crumble after yet another heartbreaking defeat in the final, they have come back even stronger and now stand a good chance of making it to the CL semis. Granted, Atletico Madrid failed to impress on domestic stage, albeit recently leapfrogging Sevilla to climb to third, but it is clear that their European campaign has the focus at the moment. Despite the fact that Leicester City are reigning Premier League champions who eliminated Sevilla in the previous stage, los Colchoneros have every right to feel confident ahead of the first leg on Wednesday, as their superior quality and a wealth of experience should give them the extra edge. Having won six of eight fixtures in the current campaign, Atletico are rightly considered favourites to win the first leg.

Team News

Kevin Gameiro and Nicolas Gaitan are rated doubtful through injury, whereas Tiago Mendes, Sime Vrsaljko and Augusto Fernandez are certain to miss out.

Leicester City

These past few years have been a real rollercoaster ride for Leicester City, who went from relegation strugglers to Premier League champions and back in the space of two years, and they are now also challenging for the Champions League trophy, oddly as it may sound. Nobody really knows why, but the players seem to have persuaded club chiefs to sack title-winning manager Claudio Ranieri as there is no other way to explain a genuine resurgence since Craig Shakespeare took over. A six-match winning run finally came to an end at the weekend as the Foxes were beaten by very good Everton side, and it remains to be seen how they will respond to said defeat. With virtually no Champions League experience, Leicester City did really well to reach the quarter-finals, but we seriously doubt they will be able to match a team such as Atletico Madrid. The Foxes were beaten by FC Porto and Sevilla on their last two European travels and we don’t think they can do much better at Vicente Calderon.

Team News

Captain Wes Morgan has failed to recover from a back injury, meaning Yohan Benalouane will continue to partner Robert Huth.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Leicester City lost last two away games in UCL
  • Atletico Madrid could reach third final in four years
  • Los Colchoneros won 6 of 8 matches in this year’s competition (D1 L1)
  • Leicester City conceded four goals in last two away games (W1 L1)
  • Atletico Madrid conceded one goal in last four matches at home (W3 D1)

Conclusion

Unlike Leicester City, who are enjoying their maiden Champions League campaign, Atletico Madrid have been one of the competition’s star performers over the last few years and that has got to count for something. We, therefore, expect los Colchoneros to win without conceding and edge closer to a place in the semis.

Verdict: Atletico to win to nil

Best Odds: 5/6

Bookmaker: bet365

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