Leicester City approach tonight’s Champions League tie fortunate to still be in the contest after being totally outplayed in the first leg. With thanks to Kasper Schmeichel, who kept out a penalty and made other crucial saves, the Foxes left the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium having conceded just twice.
Significantly, Jamie Vardy popped up with a goal when it mattered, finishing from a perfect Danny Drinkwater cross to give his side a crucial away goal.
380 – Jamie Vardy has scored with his first shot on target in 380 minutes for Leicester. Lifeline.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 22, 2017
That first leg turned out to be Claudio Ranieri’s last game in charge of the Blues, assistant Craig Shakespeare has since been given the job until the season’s end. Despite a three-week gap between the fixtures, Leicester have played only twice, winning both games 3-1.
Sevilla have had to play four games and after two victories stuttered to draws with Alaves and Leganes. Those poor results meant ‘Los Blanquirrojos‘ (the white and reds) missed an opportunity to leapfrog Barcelona in La Liga. They are now five points adrift of Real Madrid having played a game more.
Leicester’s line-up should be predictable as Shakespeare has named the same side with success in two previous fixtures. The return to 4-4-2, with Onyinye Ndidi replacing N’golo Kante, is as close the Foxes can get to replicating season’s league winners.
Guessing Sevilla’s team is more tricky, considering their squad boasts an impressive number of flexible players, allowing rotation and formation changes. Including the first leg of this contest, the Spanish side have used four formations in just five matches. It is, however, reasonable to expect a return to the side which dominated in Spain three weeks ago.
Leicester are almost injury free, Nampalys Mendy is out with a knee problem but was unlikely to feature anyway. Unless anything occurs in the warm-up, the Foxes will be able to put out the same side for a third successive game.
Sevilla remain without defender Benoit Tremoulinas and winger Michael Krohn-Dehli, who have missed the entire season. Jorge Sampaoli will recall Steven N’Zonzi, who appeared as a substitute against Leganes, and a rested Sergio Escudero is available to return at left-back.
This is a tough one to call, given the almost identical success/failure rate of teams losing 2-1 in an opening leg. Leicester won all three of their home Champions League games, whereas Sevilla are yet to concede on the road in Europe this season.
The Foxes’ recent revival should provide hope and generate a difficult King Power atmosphere for the visitors. An in-form Jamie Vardy and revitalised Riyad Mahrez will cause problems for Sevilla, who have recently struggled to score compared to a prolific December/January.
Score Prediction: Leicester City 3 – 1 Sevilla