Sevilla are mounting an unlikely domestic challenge, and are third in La Liga, thanks to a string of victories including wins over both Madrid clubs. They’ve also performed strongly in the Champions League, qualifying from a tough group that included Juventus and Lyon. Their home record is particularly strong, and only Juventus and Barcelona have beaten them at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium this season.
After the triumph of 2016, Leicester City’s fall from grace has been dramatic. A draw against Tottenham and a win over Manchester City have been the only hints of last season’s all-conquering form as the Foxes have sunk perilously close to the relegation zone. Europe has offered a welcome distraction so far, with four wins out of six matches, but the last of those victories came in November and their form has deteriorated further since then. Over at Bovada soccer you can get very good odds of +475 for a Leicester win, however Sevilla will of course be tricky opponents, and the odds of -170 for a Sevilla win reflect that.
Sevilla are still missing combative midfielder Michael Krohn-Dehli, who has been out since suffering a dislocated kneecap last April. They are also light in the left-back position, with Benoit Tremoulinas, and Sergio Escudero both considered to be long-term absentees, but otherwise Jorge Sampaoli has a full squad to pick from.
Islam Slimani and Leonardo Ulloa are expected to recover from a groin injury and a thigh strain respectively, giving Leicester coach Claudio Ranieri a full roster of strikers to pick from. He may be tempted to bring in Slimani in place of the out-of-sorts Jamie Vardy for this game.
Leicester have never met Sevilla in a competitive match, although they have met Spanish opposition. They were knocked out in the first round of the 1961-62 European Cup Winners Cup by Atletico Madrid, and 36 years later, Atletico were again the opponents when Leicester returned to European football, with the Spanish club winning 4-1 in the UEFA Cup first round.
Sevilla’s record against English clubs is a mixed bag. They’ve won four out of nine, with two draws and three defeats. Two of those defeats came against Manchester City in last season’s Champions League group stages, when they lost 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium and were beaten 3-1 at home in the return fixture. Sevilla dropped into the Europa League and went on to beat Liverpool 3-1 in the final to bring up their hat-trick of victories in that competition.
When it comes to European experience, there is no comparison between these two sides. Sevilla have dominated the Europa League in recent seasons, while Leicester City are taking part in their first ever Champions League campaign.
The Foxes battled well in the group stage, but they were up against weaker opponents than Sevilla and a gruelling winter has since eroded their confidence, their form and their morale. Nothing Ranieri has tried in recent weeks has worked and there seems to be a negative atmosphere around the squad. In such circumstances, you have to fear for their chances against strong opponents and a home win appears a virtual certainty.