With longer to improve Leicester’s rocky league form, Claudio Ranieri has put emphasis on the Foxes’ UEFA Champions League campaign and made it his and his team’s priority ahead of their Group G double header with Danish champions FC Copenhagen.
The Foxes take on the Danes at the King Power Stadium on Tuesday night having won both of their opening matches in Group G, and a good result in both games to come may leave them on the brink of qualification for the knockout stages in their first ever Champions League. Winning the group and potentially missing out on facing the likes of Barcelona, Bayern Munich or Real Madrid, will also be at the forefront of Ranieri’s mind, and with a home clash with Club Brugge to follow their double against the Danes, the Foxes will consider themselves as having a real chance.
The Foxes take on FC Copenhagen at the King Power Stadium on Tuesday with six points from six in the Champions League, Ranieri’s men beat Club Brugge 3-0 in their opening Champions League match, before a 1-0 win over Porto. The Danes sit second in Group G with a four points from their opening two, following a 1-1 draw with Porto at the Estadio do Dragao, and a comprehensive home win over Club Brugge.
But the Premier League champions are faring much worse domestically, having taken just eight points from the first eight matches in their title defence, and come off the back of a 3-0 humbling at Chelsea over the weekend. Leicester have already lost four league matches this term – one more than in the whole of their title winning campaign. Copenhagen in comparison currently sit top of the Danish Superliga, with two wins and a draw from their last three in Denmark, including a 2-0 win over Silkeborg on Saturday.
Winger Riyad Mahrez and striker Islam Slimani are expected to return to the Foxes starting line-up for the first of their back-to-back games against FC Copenhagen. Both players were on the bench during Saturday’s defeat at Stamford Bridge, and they came on 67 minutes into the 3-0 defeat with rest ahead of the Copenhagen clash in Ranieri’s mind.
Daniel Amartey is expected to partner Danny Drinkwater in midfield, with Danny Simpson returning to right-back after Luis Hernandez was preferred against Porto. Marc Albrighton is likely to be preferred ahead of Ahmed Musa on the left of midfield.
The Italian coach has prioritised the two matches against the Danish champions, telling the BBC that they are “very important” and “will tell us what we can do in the Champions League”.
For Copenhagen, with everyone fit they are likely to stick to a similar line-up which humbled Club Brugge, with skipper Thomas Delaney a danger man in midfield and former Cardiff City man Andreas Cornelius leading the line alongside Paraguay international Federico Santander.
Leicester City predicted starting XI FC Copenhagen predicted starting XI
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The only absentee for Leicester is that of Nampalys Mendy, the summer signing from Nice, who remains out after minor surgery on an ankle problem.
FC Copenhagen boss Stale Solbakken has no injury or suspension concerns ahead of his side’s trip to the East Midlands.
Despite their indifferent league form, Leicester City’s record at the King Power Stadium is imperious, and they are expected to make that count against Copenhagen. Ranieri has been clearly prioritising the Champions League and doing well in the competition has helped ease the pressure regarding their domestic form, so anything other than a win here will raise eyebrows.
The Danes will be dangerous, but Leicester defensively seem to have found a winning formula at home, as well as creating themselves many more goalscoring opportunities, which should render them a little to hot for the ice-cold Danes to handle. We’re going for a 2-0 Leicester win.
Featured Image: All Rights Reserved by Alex Hannam.