PSVUEFA Europa Conference LeagueVS
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It’s been an up-and-down season for Leicester City, but Brendan Rodgers’ side find themselves in the quarter finals of the Europa Conference League after squeezing by French side Rennes in the last-16.
Next up is certainly their toughest test yet in the form of Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven, who scored eight goals over two legs to dispose of FC Copenhagen in the last round, winning 8-4 on aggregate.
This clash almost certainly has goals written all over it, with the Foxes struggling defensively this season and PSV not impressing at the back either, despite sitting just four points behind Ajax in the Eredivisie title race.
Continue reading for our full match preview and expert football betting tips.
This one is almost too close to call over two legs, with Leicester around even-money to advance and PSV trading just better than that, at a best-price 28/29 (bet365) at the time of writing.
The Foxes will be banking on their good home record to help them take a numerical advantage to the Netherlands, but PSV have shown in recent weeks that their no slouches when it comes to their away form.
Leicester have lost just once in their last 12 at the King Power, in what was a dramatic defeat to Spurs in January, but PSV are unbeaten in their last ten on the road and have scored at least twice in four of their last five away outings.
The last three Leicester games have seen both sides score and the same can be said for three of their four games in the Europa Conference League, while 12 goals in PSV’s last two matches in the competition suggests they’re more than happy to throw caution to the wind.
It’s certainly been a season that hasn’t met Leicester’s high standards, following an early exit from the Europa League and a disappointing showing in the Premier League so far.
But you can certainly put a lot of that down to the significant injury issues they’ve had to put up with over the course of the campaign, with Jamie Vardy spending large chunks of time on the treatment table, while rising star Wesley Fofana has only just returned from a broken leg.
But this is a genuine opportunity to pick up some silverware, with the former Premier League winners enjoying joint-favouritism alongside Roma and Marseille, and if they can fold firm against a free-flowing PSV outfit, they’ve got every chance of making the semis.
Wilfred Ndidi is out for the season after picking up a knee injury and he joining veteran Vardy on the sidelines for this one.
This is certainly a big game for PSV, but they have loftier aspirations than the Europa Conference League and will be desperate to pip Ajax to the Eredivisie crown.
A four-point deficit will be difficult for them to overcome, but a return to Champions League football is a must for a side that have become accustomed to eating at the top table of European football over the past 20 years or so.
Their form heading into this one is very good. Roger Schmidt’s side are unbeaten in 13 games and have averaged just under three goals per game in that stretch. That said, just three clean sheets in their last eight suggests their rampant goalscoring is papering over some small defensive cracks that could be exploited.
PSV have no significant injury worries, but Erick Gutierrez will be suspended for the first leg.
This will be the first ever meeting between these two sides.
The King Power Stadium isn’t quite box-fresh but is relatively new in the stadium world, having opened in 2002, and it’s already had some glorious moments in its short life.
No more so than in May 2016, when Andrea Bocelli performed live at the ground as Leicester lifted their maiden Premier League title in front of a sell-out crowd.
This is a tough one to call between two very well-matched sides, and a lot of it could come down to which side puts in the better showing away from home over two legs.
PSV have the credentials to fire at least one goal past a Leicester defence that has been far from convincing this season, while the absence of Jamie Vardy means that the Foxes may lack that clinical edge now they’re coming up against sides with much greater pedigree.
Over the course of 180 minutes we give PSV the edge, but we’re surely in for an entertaining couple of games.