Match: Champions League quarterfinal, leg two, April 18, 2017
Location: The King Power Stadium, Leicester, England
Kick-off time: 7:45 PM GMT, 2:45 PM Eastern, 11:45 AM Pacific
After an extremely difficult first leg at the Vicente Calderón in Madrid last Wednesday, Leicester City has returned home for the reverse tie of their Champions League quarterfinal against Atlético Madrid.
Dropping the opener 1-0 thanks to a questionable penalty call and a converted spot kick by Kevin Griezmann, Craig Shakespeare’s charges have it all to play for in the home leg. A spot in the semifinals is up for grabs and last year’s runners-up led by Diego Simeone will provide a real challenge for the Foxes.
The biggest question surrounding the match is the fitness of Leicester captain Wes Morgan. With Robert Huth missing through yellow card accumulation and Yohan Benalouane the one other fit natural center back, Craig Shakespeare would have to turn to Daniel Amartey, normally a central midfielder, to fill the void. Bringing Christian Fuchs into the middle and playing Ben Chilwell remains an option...but it appears that Morgan could be primed to return to the lineup.
"I'm pleased with the way he's progressed."— Leicester City (@LCFC) April 17, 2017
Craig Shakespeare to assess @Wes5L1nk's fitness on Tuesday: https://t.co/L6FrwlWn84 #LeiAtm pic.twitter.com/eA9u1keZvE
Morgan, who has made 45 appearances for Leicester so far this season across all competitions, has been integral to the club’s success in recent years and has to be considered one of the Premier League’s most consistent defenders. With Griezmann, Fernando Torres and the possible return of Kevin Gameiro as attacking options for Simeone and co., a seasoned backline will be integral to the home side’s chances on Tuesday.
For Atlético, the return of Gameiro would be a welcome addition up front as the visitors were frustrated offensively in the first leg and the Frenchman’s 16 goals across all competitions prove he can get the job done.
There also could be a return for fullback Šime Vrsaljko who has been a strong presence in the back for Atleti in his first season in Spain.
Tactically, expect much of the same from both teams who will feel that a similar style could suit them in what appears to be a more difficult tie for Leicester given their lack of an away goal. Shakespeare may look to employ Islam Slimani up front with Jamie Vardy to provide a bit of dynamism to the attack.
Leave your predictions in the comments below and look for more content around the tie coming to The Fosse Posse in the lead up to the match.