Champions League: Atletico Madrid v Leicester

Atletico Madrid v Leicester

Thursday April 13, 4:45am AEST


Atletico Madrid

By the lofty standards achieved under Diego Simeone it’s not been a vintage season for Atletico Madrid, but that could all change if he could finally guide his team to Champions League glory.

Atletico have been a beaten finalist twice in the past three years, beaten both times by arch rivals Real Madrid, who also inflicted a quarter-final defeat in 2014-15. Yet with Real fighting it out with Barcelona for the La Liga title and facing a tough last eight clash against Bayern Munich, the conditions could be right for Atletico to be crowned as kings of Europe.

After all, Atletico are effectively out of the title race in Spain but also essentially assured of a place in the top four. They can afford to concentrate their efforts on the Champions League and arguably have the easiest possible quarter-final opponents in the shape of Leicester.

Unbeaten in eight, Atletico rescued an away draw in the derby against Real at the weekend. They come into this match with Augusto Fernandez, Nico Gaitan, Kevin Gameiro, Miguel Moya, Tiago and Sime Vrsaljko all expected to be unavailable.


Leicester

A run of six straight victories under new manager Craig Shakespeare came to an end on Sunday when Leicester were beaten 4-2 by Everton.

It would be harsh on Leicester to read too much into that result. Everton are in very good form at home right now and Shakespeare rested five of the players that started in the midweek victory against Sunderland, in an attempt to keep things fresh for the challenge against Atletico.

Claudio Ranieri’s rotation earlier this season saw him prioritise Champions League games to the detriment of Leicester’s domestic form. There is a danger that the same could happen under Shakespeare, though with eight points separating Leicester from the relegation zone with seven games remaining, it looks as if he’s guided them to safety.

Shakespeare has a number of injury worries, with Nampalys Mendy, Wes Morgan, Wilfred Ndidi and Molla Wague all expected to miss out.


Ref Watch

The Swedish official Jonas Eriksson will take charge. In the three Champions League matches he’s refereed this season, Eriksson has only shown a total of seven yellow cards and no reds.


Match Odds

Atletico are the big favourites at 1.31, with the draw at 6.00 and Leicester at 12.50.

Those odds might be a bit tough on the visitors, but you have to expect Atletico to get the job done. They are of more interest to win Half-Time/Full-Time at 1.97, which is a feat that Atletico have managed in each of their last three victories.

Another option is for Atletico Madrid To Win To Nil at the same price of 1.97. They have kept five clean sheets in their last seven games.


Match Odds

Atletico are the big favourites at 1.31, with the draw at 6.00 and Leicester at 12.50.

Those odds might be a bit tough on the visitors, but you have to expect Atletico to get the job done. They are of more interest to win Half-Time/Full-Time at 1.97, which is a feat that Atletico have managed in each of their last three victories.

Another option is for Atletico Madrid To Win To Nil at the same price of 1.97. They have kept five clean sheets in their last seven games.


To Score

Antoine Griezmann is the favourite at 1.95, but that looks a little slim for a player with only two goals from his last five games. With it being likely that there will be few goals, taking a chance on Griezmann to be First Goalscorer at 4.10 seems a smarter bet.


Betting Strategy

BACK – Atletico Madrid to win half-time/full-time at 1.97

BACK – Under 2.5 goals at 2.04

BACK – Griezmann to score first at 4.10


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