Leicester City welcome PSV Eindhoven to the King Power Stadium in the first leg of their UEFA Europa Conference League quarterfinal tie this season.

Leicester City return to European action after surviving a late scare against Rennes in the second leg of the their UEFA Europa Conference League Round of 16 tie. The Foxes eventually prevailed 3-2 on aggregate despite a 1-2 second-leg defeat.

Brendan Rodgers’s men are coming fresh off a 1-1 draw with Manchester United in the Premier League. Kelechi Iheanacho, who is a strong contender to start against PSV, scored the Foxes’ only goal against the Red Devils. Fred scored the equaliser three minutes later as the match finished in a stalemate.

Currently tenth in the Premier League and knocked out of both the domestic cup competitions, the Conference League is Leicester’s best bet to finish the season positively. The competition could also serve as their ticket to European football next term, which they look unlikely to achieve through league standings.

PSV, on the other hand, registered a comprehensive 4-0 away win in the second leg of their Conference League Round of 16 tie against Copenhagen to complete an 8-4 aggregate victory following a frantic first leg that finished 4-4 in Eindhoven.

The Dutch side are in hot form and are currently on an unbeaten run of 13 matches across competitions. They are fresh from a mind-blowing comeback against Twente in the Eredivisie. PSV drew the encounter 3-3 after going three goals down in the first half. They are currently second in the league, four points behind league-leaders Ajax, with six matches left to play.

PSV will face their fellow title contenders in the KNVB Cup final on Sunday, so Roger Schmidt has two crucial back-to-back matches to prepare for.

Team News & Tactics

Leicester City

Brendan Rodgers will be forced to make one change to the XI that started against Manchester United last weekend as midfielder Nampalys Mendy is not registered to feature in the European competition for them.

Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall could take up the defensive midfield role alongside Youri Tielemans, with Marc Albrighton slotting in the right-midfield role. Alternatively, one of Hamza Choudhury and Daniel Amartey could be given the nod to play with the Belgian in the middle of the park.

The Foxes will continue to be without star forward Jamie Vardy as he continues to nurse a knee injury. Wilfred Ndidi is out with a knee injury and is only expected to return next season.

Leicester have been boosted by the return of full-back Luke Thomas, who, as Rodgers confirmed in his pre-match conference, could play some role against PSV. However, the former Liverpool manager refused to put a timeline on Jamie Vardy’s return.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Schmeichel; Justin, Fofana, Evans, Castagne; Tielemans, Dewsbury-Hall; Albrighton, Maddison, Barnes; Iheanacho

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PSV Eindhoven

Roger Schmidt is expected to make a few changes to the lineup that started against Twente in the league last weekend. Midfielder Erick Gutierrez is suspended for the encounter, having accumulated three yellow cards in the competition so far. His absence could trigger some shuffling in the starting XI.

With Guiterrez missing, Joey Veerman could take up the central midfield role. The 23-year-old was used as a defensive midfielder earlier this season, but recently he has been deployed at left-wing by Schmidt and Veerman has repaid the faith, scoring twice and assisting once from the position.

Cody Gapko is expected to return to the starting XI, taking the left-wing spot vacated by Veerman’s move to central midfield. Central midfielder Ryan Thomas and full-back Phillipp Mwene continue to be absentees through respective injuries.

Gakpo and star striker Eran Zahavi will carry the biggest goal threat for PSV Eindhoven, while former Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich playmaker Mario Gotze will look to pull the strings in the final third from the No. 10 slot. Noni Madueke and Carlos Vinicius are additional options from the bench for the visitors.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Drommel; Junior, Teze, Boscagli, Max; Veerman, Sangare; Doan, Gotze, Gakpo; Zahavi

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Key Stats

  • PSV have managed to win just one of their last teh European games in England, losing three and drawing six. They last defeated Tottenham Hotspur in an away game in the country way back in the 2007/08 UEFA Cup round of 16.
  • This will be the first meeting between these two teams, and Leicester’s first-ever encounter against a Dutch side.
  • PSV have faced English sides on 34 previous occasions, winning ten times.
  • PSV are yet to lose an away game this season.

Player to Watch

Cody Gakpo

22-year-old Dutch winger Cody Gakpo has been in fine form this season. The left-winger is PSV’s top-scorer in the league and the UEFA Conference League this season with nine and three strikes, respectively. In all, he has scored 17 and assisted 15 times across competitions for the Dutch side this season.

Gakpo scored twice and set up another in PSV’s Round of 16 first-leg tie against Copenhagen. He was on the scoresheet in their last league outing as well, scoring the side’s second goal after coming on from the bench in a 3-3 draw against Twente. Expect him to trouble the Leicester defence with his speed and trickery, and play a defining role in the outcome of the tie.

Prediction

Leicester City 2-2 PSV Eindhoven

Leicester City are not in the best of form, while PSV Eindhoven enter the encounter high on confidence. While the home support will spur the Foxes on at the King Power Stadium, expect a close game between the two sides.

The Dutch giants tend to score in bulk with their matches usually being high-scoring affairs this season. This match could take a similar turn as well. The Hard Tackle predicts a 2-2 draw between the sides, with everything left to play for in the second leg.

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