Leicester City ready to seize the Champions League chance against Sevilla

Leicester is totally different now

On the face of it not much has changed. In fact, the team of Leicester, who start against Sevilla at home will probably show a single difference from the XI that lined up in Spain, with Shinji Okazaki picked ahead of Ahmed Musa. It is, however, a new manager of the home dugout and Leicester have been transformed. If it is down to the players who want to prove a point after Claudio Ranieri, and Shakespeare has one of his own with small but important team, and the tactical alterations, is a matter of debate, but there is no doubt that Leicester is totally different now. Back-to-back wins against Liverpool and Hull City, carried signs to the open day of the old as they played at a high tempo and pressed aggressively high up the pitch, winning the first game after blowing their opponents away with their intensity and the second showing the character to come from behind. Rightly or wrongly, the appearance of the players released. Okazaki is back, has given the team more balance, Jamie Vardy has flourished thanks to a clear improvement of the supply line and Riyad Mahrez’s goal against Hull will have done his confidence the world of good. Sevilla, in short, can expect a good game this time.
Vardy goal means a 1-0 win will be enough

Vardy goal in the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán stadium has never made a blind bit of difference when it came to Ranieri the future of the Italian has been sacked less than 24 hours later – but he has completely changed the complexion of this tie. Despite being outclassed in Seville, Leicester escaped with a narrow defeat and, as a result of Vardy’s goal to be outside, be aware that a 1-0 victory will be enough to ensure a place in the quarter-finals. This will be easier said than done, of course. Sevilla, who won the Europa League for the third consecutive year, last season, are experts when it comes to knockout football. They have progressed in their past 12 two-leg European ties, which is some record, and any person who was a witness of their 2-1 victory against Leicester in Spain would not be optimistic about the prospects of the English club, keeping a clean sheet. Samir Nasri and Steven Does Zonzi ran the show, completing more passes than the whole team in Leicester, but the real damage was done on the sides, which Sevilla full-back Mariano Ferreira and Sergio Escudero, has played as a winger. How do you deal with Leicester in these spaces will be crucial in the course of a night of Shakespeare, has promised that his team will “play on the front foot”.
Leicester, in a once-in-a-life territory

90 minutes of the Champions League quarter-final, surely qualifies as a once-in-a-lifetime territory for Leicester supporters and the majority of their players. Leicester are in uncharted waters at this level and it would not have taken the Uefa long to go back in the record books, and document the Midlands of the European club for the history, they have shared their media document before Seville. The headline statistic is that this is only Leicester’s fifth two-leg European tie in more than 50 years, with the 7-2 overall victory against Glenavon, in the european Cup Winners Cup in the preliminary round of the season 1961-62, the only time they came out on top. All of which makes the match against Sevilla, in the context, certainly for Leicester fans of a certain age and in many cases, for players, very few people would be convinced of the hearing the Champions League anthem again in the course of their career. This is why, for all the world in a Leicester shirt, it is all about seizing the moment in what is the biggest game in the club’s 133-year history.
Sevilla have had a wobble

Sitting third in La Liga, Sevilla can hardly be described as a club in crisis, yet Jorge Sampaoli’s side have lost vital ground in the title race after drawing twice in the space of a week, with their disappointing performances, leading to a wave of negativity and criticism that should encourage Leicester before a ball has been kicked. Sampaoli has spoken of how his players have suddenly become “very concerned” about and has lost its prosperity, which, in the eyes of the manager is the reason why they are not creating as many chances. Clearly frustrated, the Argentine has felt the need to issue a warning to his team that their Champions League journey will end at Leicester, at least they are getting better. The players are also feeling the heat. Stevan Jovetic has said that there was a need to “raise the morale” after Sevilla were booed after a 1-1 draw at home against evil in Leganes on Saturday, with the former Manchester City striker suggesting the players should take a “long conversation together” to get to the bottom of where things are going wrong. Leicester, in what feels like something of a reversal of roles, should take advantage of any mental fragility.
Could Craig Shakespeare to be Leicester, Roberto Di Matteo?

Addressing the media on the eve of the Sevilla tie, Shakespeare has reminded us of the miracle of last season and how Leicester, to borrow one of Ranieri’s quote, “made the impossible possible”. With this in mind, Shakespeare was asked if Leicester could defy the odds again and win the Champions League. “Why not?” the 53-year-old replied, not a moment of hesitation. In a sense, the story is about Shakespeare. The last time that an English club has won the Champions League, in 2012, the manager has been promoted to No2, which had been appointed in March on an interim basis until the end of the season. Roberto Di Matteo took over from André Villas-Boas at Stamford Bridge and the Italian, the first European assignment last-16 tie at home, where Chelsea needed to win by two clear goals) against Napoli after having lost the first leg away. The circumstances, in this sense, are remarkably similar. If Shakespeare is able to resume Di Matteo is rather miraculous run to the final – Chelsea rode their luck at times – is another matter. Leicester couldn’t … could they?