Leicester v FC Copenhagen
Wednesday October 19, 5:45am AEDT
One of the big talking points going into the new season was whether Leicester would be able to replicate the sort of form that saw them lift the title in May.
The 3-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge over the weekend was the latest piece of evidence to suggest that Leicester’s title defence will be similar to those of Leeds (92-93), Blackburn (95-96) and Chelsea (2015-16) – three sides whose consistency curiously fell apart the season after winning the league.
To be fair to Leicester, a challenging fixture list has made it difficult for them to build any momentum. They have only taken one point from games against Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea.
The Champions League has offered a welcome respite, with the Foxes having won both of their games to top Group G after two matches. It could be that European football will be the environment where they can play with freedom and a lack of pressure, once again revelling in their role as underdogs.
Claudio Ranieri already seems to be prioritising the Champions League, having left both Riyad Mahrez and Islam Slimani on the bench for the trip to Chelsea. Shinji Okazaki was also rested after being away on international duty with Japan and all three could return to the starting lineup on Tuesday.
The visitors could not come into this match in better form. They are unbeaten in all competitions this season, currently leading the Danish Superliga by six points after 13 games.
Copenhagen’s success has been built upon the solid foundations of a defence that has only conceded six goals in 13 league games. They have been equally consistent in a Champions League campaign that started way back in July.
Stale Solbakken’s side came through three rounds of qualifying games to make the group stages and are second behind Leicester after a 1-1 draw at Porto was followed by a 4-0 home thrashing of Club Brugge.
Nicola Rizzoli from Italy will officiate. He’s been busy with his yellow cards of late, showing eight in the recent international between Slovenia and Slovakia, and six in the Serie A clash between Atalanta and Napoli.
Leicester are the 1.94 favourites, with the draw at 3.60 and Copenhagen out at 4.70.
The Foxes are unbeaten at home this season and Ranieri’s decision to rest players against Chelsea on Saturday suggests that he is in no way underestimating the challenge posed by the in-form Danes.
It promises to be a tight match decided by a single goal and the draw half-time/Leicester full-time double result at 5.00 looks to be the smart bet.
Over/Under 2.5 Goals
Under 2.5 goals is to be the worthy favourite at 1.77, with overs at 2.28.
Yet the price for unders might be just a little too slim, considering that Copenhagen have only failed to score in one of their 21 outings this season and the fact that Leicester have struggled more than most with the new ruling outlawing WWE-style grappling from defenders at set pieces.
Both teams to score is available at 2.00 and is the safer option.
Slimani has scored three goals in five appearances since joining Leicester from Sporting Lisbon and notched the winner against Porto last month. He looks to be the best bet to find the net for the Foxes at 2.80.
Andreas Cornelius was also on target against Porto in Copenhagen’s 1-1 draw against the Portuguese giants. The former Cardiff striker has scored six goals in eight Champions League appearances this season and is decent value at 3.60.
BACK – Draw/Leicester half-time full-time at 5.00
BACK – Both teams to score at 2.00
BACK – Islam Slimani to score at 2.80