Leicester take a one-goal deficit into the second and home leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie against Sevilla on Tuesday night (7.45pm, BT Sport 1).
The Premier League champions were comprehensively outplayed for much of the first meeting between these two sides, but they deserve great credit for digging in and securing a decent result at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan. Indeed, a 2-1 loss in Spain means Leicester still have an excellent chance of advancing to the quarter-finals for the first time in the club’s history, although Sevilla will also be confident of getting the job done at the King Power Stadium.
The Foxes controversially dismissed title-winning manager Claudio Ranieri around 24 hours after last month’s first leg, with Craig Shakespeare – the Italian’s former assistant – subsequently guiding Leicester to successive 3-1 victories over Liverpool and Hull City in the Premier League. The East Midlanders have pulled clear of the relegation zone as a result, and they may therefore feel able to give the Champions League a good go now that the threat of demotion has become significantly less intense.
Sevilla are still not out of the title race in La Liga, but it would be a major surprise if one of Real Madrid or Barcelona did not finish on top of the pile this year. Nevertheless, the Rojiblancos have the potential to be a dark horse in the battle for the Champions League title, with former Chile boss Jorge Sampaoli having already gained a sizeable number of admirers for the work he has done in his debut season in European football.
Sevilla play aggressive and intense football and threatened to overwhelm Leicester in the first leg. It may be difficult to replicate that performance given that they will be away from home on Tuesday, but Foxes fans will now be fully aware of what their upcoming opponents are capable of when they hit their stride.
Leicester will be missing January signing Molla Wague (shoulder) for this week’s encounter, but Shakespeare has no other injury worries to contend with. The 53-year-old has employed a 4-4-2 formation in his early days in the dugout, as Leicester attempt to rediscover the approach that fired them to an unlikely championship in 2015/16. The home side will look to sit deep, absorb pressure and cause problems on the counter-attack through lone striker Jamie Vardy (pictured), while 20-year-old midfielder Wilfred Ndidi will be a key figure when it comes to winning the ball back in the centre of the park.
Sevilla are unable to utilise Michael Krohn-Dehli , Benoit Tremoulinas and Carlos Fernandez Luna (all knee), but Sampaoli otherwise has a fully fit squad of players to choose from. Sampaoli has shifted between 3-4-2-1 and 4-2-3-1 formations this term and will probably opt for the latter against Leicester, with Stevan Jovetic leading the line, Vincent Iborra providing support from the No.10 position and former Premier League pair Samir Nasri and Steven N’Zonzi in the engine room. At the back, centre-halves Gabriel Mercado and Adil Rami will look to keep a handle on Vardy.
Our Preview’s Leicester v Sevilla Betting Tips’ Verdict
Leicester have given themselves a chance after their away goal at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, but Sevilla should still have too much quality for the hosts at the King Power Stadium on Tuesday night.
Shakespeare’s side will look to play on the counter-attack and keep things tight in defence, but they have been shaky at the back for most of the campaign and may struggle to deal with their opponents’ attacking firepower. With that in mind, then, it is probably worth backing Sevilla to emerge victorious from this week’s second leg, while ex-Arsenal and Manchester City man Nasri would be a good choice to find the back of the net anytime on his return to English soil. So this preview’s betting tips are, with odds provided by our No.1 recommended bookmaker Bet365: