Atletico Madrid vs Leicester City Match Preview
Leicester City FC are probably going to face a bigger and a more consistent version of themselves, when they lock horns against Atlético Madrid in the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League. Leicester City head to the Spanish capital for the first leg of their quarter-final tie aiming to keep alive their fairytale adventure.
They face Atlético Madrid who has become a specialist in this competition. Atletico Madrid have the experience of playing in big games, having played 2 champions league final in the past 3 years. They know the do’s and don’ts of big games and this may provide them with an upper hand.
Date: April 12th 2017, April 13th in India, China, Japan, Indonesia, Australia.
Time: 18:45 ( G.M.T. ) // 19:45 ( B.S.T. ) // 00:15 ( I.S.T. )
Venue: Vicente Calderón, Madrid, Spain
Referee: Jonas Eriksson (SWE)
Broadcast Details: Canada – Bell TV, United States – Fox Sports, Brazil – TV Globo Esporte Interativo, United Kingdom – ITV, BT Sport, News UK, France – beIN Sports, Canal + France, Russia – Match TV, Arab Countries – beIN Sports, Australia – beIN Sports, Indonesia – beIN Sports, Japan – SKY PerfecTV, India – Ten 1
Atletico Madrid was a normal La Liga team until The El Cholo arrived. There was a drastic change in Atlético’s fortune and the reason behind this change was none other than The El Cholo i.e. Diego Simeone. Those who thought that this a one season wonder, were proven wrong by their consistency. Gradually they became the team to beat or the team that we see now. The team which had never won against their arch rivals Real Madrid in the previous 14 years, went on to dominate them in an absolute manner for the next 5 years.
A Copa del Rey crown and La Liga title already in the bag during his first six years at the Vicente Calderon, Atletico legend Diego Simeone now has his eyes on a first European Cup after twice falling one step short.
Atletico Madrid had a dismal start to this year’s La Liga. Atletico began the season looking rattled after their traumatic defeat in the Champions League final at the hands of their Madrid neighbours. Simeone’s defensive system, usually Atletico’s biggest strength, appeared rusty and soft. Their biggest signing of the summer, French forward Kevin Gameiro, struggled to fit into the physical demands that playing up front for Atletico involves.
A very poor run of results in La Liga in November – one victory, one draw and three defeats in five matches, during which the team scored three goals and conceded eight – set off all the alarms. Although their Champions League campaign was still alive, their poor performance in the domestic competition could have compromised their participation in the biggest European tournament for the following season, with catastrophic financial consequences for the club. In the sixth position at that time, that risk was real.
From that point onwards, and thanks to a few tactical and personnel decisions made by Simeone, the team have recovered their swagger. Their performance in La Liga – only one defeat in their last 16 matches, against Barcelona in late February – is now that of a contender. They’ve now climbed to the third position, although still seven points behind Barcelona.
“Fairytale” – This word won’t be enough to describe Leicester City’s journey in this Champions League. They shocked the whole world and sent them into tizzy when they won the EPL previous year.
Their chances of retaining the Premier League have been blown away after a really gloomy performance in the Premier League. The ‘Pundits’ hailed them as one season wonder and thanked them for providing them with a fairytale to watch. They were in the relegation zone but amidst all these negatives there was one positive. They were playing “well” in the Champions League.
They defeated Club Brugge by 3-0 in their CL opening game. They went on to defeat FC Porto by 1-0 and then defeated FC København by the same scoreline. They drew their next match by 0-0 against FC København and then defeated Club Brugge by 2-1. Finally, their hot winning streak came to an end when they were thrashed by 5-0 at FC Porto’s home ground. Everyone started laughing at them and probably wrote them off. They had qualified for the Round of 16 and that too in a grand manner but that loss against FC Porto deflected their defensive errors and it was thought their “fairytale” is over. They were drawn against the mighty Sevilla and almost everyone thaught that it’s game over for them. But they had other ideas. They lost by 2-1 at Sevilla’s home ground. They were nowhere near their best but they still managed to get a vital away goal.
In the meantime, their performance in the Premier League declined and they were battling near the relegation zone. They sacked Claudio Ranieri and went into the home tie against Sevilla on a positive note after defeating Hull City by 3-1 and that too without their coach Ranieri. They displayed an absolutely dominant performance to edge out Sevilla by winning that match by 2-0 and thus became the 132nd Club to reach the quarter-finals of the European Cup or UEFA Champions League. They are in a good form as they have won 3 matches and lost only one 1 match since that 2-0 victory against Sevilla.
Leicester City has been in great form since sacking Ranieri – having won 6 games on a trot ( all competitions ) before eventually loosing to Everton by 4-2 on Sunday. Their momentum may be slightly disturbed but their performance in the recent games have been quite impressive.
But as the business end of the Champions League comes calling we fear that this fairytale will be soon over and we have to wait for decades to see another Leicester City type “fairytale” as they are in the 11th position in the Premier League table and look well set to miss next year’s Champions League.
Simeone has some injury concerns, with keeper Miguel Moya, defender Sime Vrsaljko, midfielders Nico Gaitan, Tiago all expected to miss out.
While Augusto Fernandez and striker Kevin Gameiro are also not expected to be fit in time for Wednesday.
Craig Shakespeare confirmed that skipper Wes Morgan is out of their historic clash with a back injury.
Shakespeare rested five players in the 4-2 defeat to Everton, exposing their defensive frailties, and they will be even more threadbare now – and without their talisman leader.
Nampalys Mendy is out long term, while Wilfred Ndidi’s groin complaint is not expected to heal in time to make the first leg.
Form guide – All competitions
Leicester City: WWWWL
Atletico Madrid: WWWWD
Head to head
Atletico Madrid: 3 wins ( 7 goals )
Leicester City: 0 wins ( 2 goals)