Atletico Madrid host Leicester City in the first leg of their Champions League Quarter Final.
The two sides last met in 1997, when Atletico defeated Leicester in the UEFA cup. The tie still sticks in many Leicester fans memories as an unjust result, the first leg marred by some suspect refereeing decisions. Now, The Foxes will be out for revenge against an old foe.
The visitors arrive in rejuvenated form thanks to new manager Craig Shakespeare. The Foxes suffered their first loss under new management on Sunday against Everton but, in all fairness, had one eye on the upcoming European tie and rested players accordingly. Now, Leicester have the chance to continue their Cinderella story on the grand stage of the Champions League.
The hosts are on a mission to reach their third Champions League final in four years. After bitter defeats to rivals Real Madrid in the past two trips to the finals, Atletico will be hoping the third time will be the charm. However, Simeone’s men will have to go through Leicester to get there.
Location : Vicente Calderón, Madrid
Betting Line : Atletico Madrid: 2/7 Draw: 9/2 Leicester City: 10/1
Players To Watch
The French attacker has already scored four goals this Champions League campaign and will be hoping to add to his tally on Wednesday night.
Griezmann will be going against an unfamiliar center back pairing for Leicester and will look to exploit potential openings between the Foxes’ newly formed partnership.
The attacker’s rags to riches story captivated audiences last year and it may not be done yet. The Foxes’ main man is going against a talented, well-drilled defensive unit but one that may not be the quickest.
Vardy’s relentless speed and dogged work rate will be a danger Atletico are well aware of but one that could still hurt them if the hosts aren’t careful. If Vardy has any magic left in those glass slippers, than there is no better occasion for the unlikely Cinderella to add another chapter to the Foxes’ fairy tale story.
Simeone is without Tiago, Augusto Fernandez, Sime Vrsaljko, and Moya due to injury.
Many of the same players who featured against Real Madrid on Saturday will be asked to go again on Wednesday night.
Foxes’ captain Wes Morgan has been confirmed out by Craig Shakespeare and will be a big miss for the visitors.
Aside from Morgan’s absence, Leicester will be playing in familiar fashion. Comfortable to sit back in the 4-4-2 and use Vardy’s speed on the break.
Atletico are at home and the impetus will be on Simeone’s side to go after Leicester. The Foxes will be playing the familiar role of underdog and are happy to concede the majority of possession in favor of playing their familiar, counter attacking style.
The contest will likely be decided by Atletico’s midfielders. If the likes of Koke and Gabi can find a way to break through a stubborn Leicester team Atletico will get the job done. However, the longer the tie remains scoreless the better for Leicester. While the Foxes will be happy to take a draw, Vardy and Okazaki will hope to catch Atletico on the break and snatch a valuable away goal for the Foxes.