Atletico Madrid vs Leicester City - Atletico to Win With -2 Handicap - 9/4 at Coral
In terms of philosophies, Leicester could not have got a more unfavourable draw in the Champions League than Atletico Madrid. The Foxes have had tremendous success over the past two years by playing 4-4-2 on the counter attack, but their opponents have utilised the same system to a much higher level and for a lot longer.
Very few people gave Leicester much hope of getting past Sevilla, but an away goal and a home victory saw them progress. Even fewer are backing them this time, not only because of the quality Atletico possess, but the fact they are unlikely to be able to play their own game.
Against Sevilla, they came up against a full team high press, with every player putting pressure on the ball. This made life easy for Leicester in some ways, because they could play long, searching balls into the channels looking for Jamie Vardy, who thrives on running into space and chasing lost causes.
But while Atletico press high, they do so in away similar to Leicester, by allowing the front three or four players to push on and dealing with the second phase of play with a low defensive block. If anyone plays the ball in behind attackers Kevin Gameiro and Antoine Griezmann, the likes of Gabi will be there to protect a deep defensive line, which usually includes fullbacks Filipe Luis and Juanfran, as well as Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez in the middle.
That organisation means they will be better in possession than Leicester, too, but the onus will be on Riyad Mahrez to create something with the ball in tight spaces, although he will look to have the beating of Luis with his pace.
Islam Slimani scored at the weekend against Everton and will likely start up front. Not only will he provide more of a focal point and an outlet up front, but he may create space for Vardy to breach the defence and make inroads towards goal.
But Leicester’s own defence was compromised by the absence of Wes Morgan at Goodison Park. They conceded four goals, because their organisation and defensive organisation was lacking. Morgan misses out again, and that could be catastrophic, particularly up against Griezmann.
We must be wary of writing off Leicester completely, but Diego Simeone’s side combine defensive solidity and attacking potency so well and, at home, should in this comfortably.