Leicester City travel to Denmark to face FC Copenhagen knowing that victory will secure a place in the Champions League knockout-stages. Adapting to the demands of European football can take some time, but the Foxes have look extremely comfortable at this level. The attention Claudio Ranieri’s have paid to the competition may have affected their Premier League form, but who could blame Leicester for trying to make the maximum of what could be a rare Champions League foray.
Riyad Mahrez’s first-half goal earned them three points at the King Power, but it was an anxious night with Copenhagen’s Andreas Cornelius heading inches wide late on. The Danes are a very hard working team, so this will be no easy task for Ranieri’s men. Leicester have top spot in this group almost sewn up, which will allow them to play the second leg of their last 16 tie at the King Power. It can ensure an easier draw, but with Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund, plus Atletico Madrid and Bayern Munich in the same groups there is no guarantee that this year.
In the Champions League, Leicester have a perfect record with three wins from three put things have been patchy domestically. They picked up a very credible point at Spurs on Saturday having dispatched Crystal palace quite comfortably in their previous league outing. Ranieri has been talking about having ‘his Leicester’ back so they may have turned the corner. Copenhagen have a comfortable six point lead in the Danish Superliga and beat third place Midtjylland at the weekend to make it three straight wins domestically.
Predicted Line Up
Leciester starting XI
Injuries and Suspensions
Nampalys Mendy , Ben Chilwell and Matty James are long-term absentees, while Islam Slimani is also a doubt with a tight groin. Ahmed Musa took a knock at Spurs but has fully recovered.
Copenhagen and manager Stale Solbakken have a reputation for not giving much away, so Leicester might have to be very patient. The physical presence of Islam Slimani will be missed by the visitors, but Shinji Okazaki has re established himself in recent weeks and has helped the Foxes gradually improve. His work rate and movement gives Leicester some added ‘chaos factor’; something that Jamie Vardy certainly thrives on.
The England international wants the game to be a little helter-skelter in nature, and the presence of Slimani up top dictates that Leicester are more measured and considered in their build up play. Teams who can defend well and in numbers before counter attacking have always thrived in this competition, and Leicester have saved some of their best football for Champions League nights. However, we’re plumping for a low-scoring draw here that will make Ranieri’s men wait to secure qualification at home to Bruges in their next group game.
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