Leicester City vs Porto: Match preview and predicted line-up

Leicester City vs Porto: Match preview and predicted line-up

Leicester City’s maiden Champions League campaign got off to a flying start in Belgium a fortnight ago with a 3-0 win over Club Brugge. The opposition may have been thoroughly average, but it shouldn’t be underestimated how difficult it is to win away from home in European competition; more experienced and established teams than Leicester have had their struggles abroad. Now, the Foxes need to build on this promising beginning against Porto at the King Power Stadium.

Their fate is very much in their own hands, and three home wins will see them safely through the group and into the knockout stages. The visitors began their campaign with a home draw against Copenhagen, and have won four of their first six matches in the Primeira Liga. Porto are a side that regularly navigates their way out of the group stages and are canny operators at this level, so Claudio Ranieri’s men might have to be patient.

 

Recent Form

The champions have had a patchy start to the Premier League season, slumping to defeat against newly promoted Hull on the opening day and losing heavily away at Liverpool and Manchester United. However, they have been solid at home, comfortably seeing off Swansea City and Burnley and picking up a credible point against Arsenal. Porto’s only league defeat came against fellow title contenders Sporting Lisbon, but they saw off Boavista 3-1 last time out.

Predicted Line-Up

Leicester starting XI

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Injuries and Suspensions

Leicester are still without first-choice goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel with a groin injury, while Matty James and Nampalys Mendy are also absent. Porto are missing midfielder Sergio Oliveira, who has been out since August with injury.

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Conclusion

 

Porto have a dreadful record on English soil, losing on 15 of their previous 17 visits. Leicester, unsurprisingly, have struggled to scale the heights of last season’s performances, but have remained strong at home.

Despite the prevalence of digital scouting, analytics and video analysis, you still feel that Leicester might retain some of their ‘surprise factor’ against European teams. In the Premier League, they are paid the respect defending champions deserve and teams know how to negate their strengths slightly. Porto though, will arrive in the east Midlands with an expectation that a club of their pedigree should be beating Leicester, and that is when the Foxes can be dangerous.

Islam Slimani will be a familiar figure to Nuno Espirito Santo’s, having scored 27 league goals for Sporting Lisbon last term. The 4-1 defeat at Old Trafford looks a bad day at office, but they conceded three goals from corners and were the better side in the opening stages. Ranieri now has genuine depth with the likes of Leonardo Ulloa and Shinji Okazaki waiting in the wings, and Leicester have enough firepower to win this game.

Verdict: Home Win

Featured image: All rights reserved by Serg Hoholok

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