Can Leicester City join the big guns in the Champions League quarter-final draw?
Leicester City will be looking to overturn a 2-1 1st leg deficit against Sevilla on Tuesday and book their place in Friday’s draw alongside Champions League heavyweights Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund.
Since the 1st leg in Spain, the Foxes have pulled off back-to-back Premier League victories against Liverpool and Hull City, with last season’s PFA Player of the Year Riyad Mahrez producing his best WhoScored rating of the campaign in the latter.
Craig Shakespeare has been confirmed as Leicester manager until the end of the season and while they seemed to have found their teeth again in attack, it’s likely to be their defensive resolve that determines whether they progress to the next stage or not.
In Tuesday’s other tie, Juventus will be looking to preserve the 2-goal cushion they established over Porto in Portugal. The Old Lady left it late at the weekend, needing a stoppage time penalty to get the job done against Milan but the midweek goal projections suggest that they have a good chance of securing a clean sheet against the Portuguese outfit, even though they have the luxury of knowing that they can afford to concede once.
On Wednesday, Atlético Madrid, beaten finalists in 2 of the last 3 years, are expected to book their place in the next round by completing the formalities of their return match with Bayer Leverkusen, having won 4-2 in Germany.
The other tie looks far more unpredictable though. Manchester City came from behind to defeat Monaco 5-3 at the Etihad in the 1st leg and the Citizens will be buoyed by the fact that they have kept 3 successive clean sheets in all competitions. However, things could quickly turn sour on the French Riviera. Monaco have scored 52 goals in 15 Ligue 1 home matches and have a 3 point cushion over champions’ Paris Saint-Germain in the race for the league title.
Radamel Falcao had an eventful evening on his return to Manchester in the 1st leg, scoring twice and missing a penalty but he limped off with a hip injury in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Bordeaux and faces a race against time to prove his fitness ahead of the return clash with Pepe Guardiola’s City side.
If the Foxes really have rediscovered their bite, we could be set for another chapter in one of football’s greatest stories!