Leicester City enter the most important game of their stuttering season as they face PSV Eindhoven in the UEFA Europa Conference League quarter-final second leg.
PSV Eindhoven have plenty left to play for this season and are hitting peak form at this stage of the campaign. The Dutch side have stitched together a remarkable 15-game unbeaten run in all competitions, winning 11 of those games. It also includes the goalless draw away to Leicester City in the first leg of their UEFA Europa Conference League quarter-final.
Roger Schmidt’s side have been impressive and head into Thursday’s encounter on the back of a 2-0 victory against RKC Waalwijk. An important period beckons the Dutch giants as they have the KNVB Beker Final three days later against Ajax. PSV are also firmly in contention for the Eredivisie title as they chase Ajax and remain four points behind the leaders.
Leicester City fans may not rate their overall performance this season highly, but they are set to stand behind the squad ahead of their most important game this year. The Foxes take on PSV Eindhoven in a crucial quarter-final second-leg tie in the Conference League.
With the first leg ending in a goalless draw, both teams have the chance to go through into the semi-finals. The Foxes may feel confident ahead of the tie after returning to form in recent weeks. Currently on a four-game unbeaten run in all competitions, they beat Crystal Palace last time out.
With the Foxes sitting in 9th place on the Premier League table, winning the Europa Conference League is the only way of securing European football for next season. It will allow them an entry into the Europa League group stages, although PSV will be a difficult proposition.
Team News & Tactics
Roger Schmidt will look to name his strongest lineup for the Leicester clash although the team will be without a key player in the side. Central defender Olivier Boscagli, will miss the rest of the season and beyond with a serious injury.
— PSV (@PSV) April 13, 2022
The centre-back has been important to the side and should be replaced by Ramalho at the back. Jordan Teze will take his place in the heart of the defence, with Philipp Max set to keep his spot at left-back. Mauro Junior will be the ideal choice on the opposite flank.
PSV welcome Erick Gutierrez back from a suspension that saw him miss the first leg. He will slot straight in central midfield alongside Ibrahim Sangare. Attacker Noni Madueke, Mario Gotze, Cody Gakpo and Eran Zahavi should all return to the starting lineup and look to carve open a Leicester City defence that has been leaky all season.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Mvogo; Junior, Teze, Ramalho, Max; Gutierrez, Sangare; Madueke, Gotze, Gakpo; Zahavi
Brendan Rodgers will have to make do without Nampalys Mendy with the midfielder ineligible to play in the competition. Star striker Jamie Vardy remains sidelined with an injury. The manager rested some of his players against Crystal Palace at the weekend to keep them fresh for this clash.
⏩ Striding forwards pic.twitter.com/S6gI9YUSlE
— Leicester City (@LCFC) April 13, 2022
Hence, Rodgers will name his best available lineup against PSV as he hopes to progress into the semi-finals of the competition. The likes of Wesley Fofana and Jonny Evans are expected to return in central defence after not featuring at the weekend. Timothy Castagne and Ricardo Pereira’s inclusion will change the entire back-four from their weekend’s clash with the Eagles.
Mendy’s absence from the game could open the space for Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall in central midfield alongside Youri Tielemans. James Maddison could start in the No. 10 role vacated by Dewsbury-Hall, with Marc Albrighton coming in from the right side of the attack.
Harvey Barnes is a sure starter from the left-hand side, with Kelechi Iheanacho expected to lead the line for the Foxes. Patson Daka will be an option from the bench for the visitors.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Schmeichel; Pereira, Fofana, Evans, Castagne; Tielemans, Dewsbury-Hall; Albrighton, Maddison, Barnes; Iheanacho
- PSV are on a 15-game unbeaten run in all competitions.
- PSV have won 11 of their last 15 games in all competitions.
- PSV have kept five clean sheets in their last six games in all competitions.
- Leicester City have managed just two away wins in 8 games this year.
- Leicester have won six and drawn two out of their last ten games in all competitions.
Player To Watch
Leicester City have managed to unearth a new star each season in the last few years. Harvey Barnes, Youri Tielemans, Wesley Fofana and James Maddison have all flourished at the King Power Stadium in recent years, and this time around, it’s Dewsbury-Hall, who has emerged as the breakout star of the season.
The Foxes academy graduate has been a bright spot in an otherwise dreadful campaign Leicester have endured. The versatile midfielder was the star man during their weekend win over Palace and is hitting top form right when the team needed inspiration from somewhere.
PSV Eindhoven 1-2 Leicester City
The Foxes surprised a few when they failed to break down this PSV side last week. Brendan Rodgers will be hoping there’s no repeat of that performance as he hopes to go all the way in the UEFA Europa Conference League. Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall showed the way for Leicester against Crystal Palace and could again be the game-changer on Thursday.
PSV are under tremendous pressure to achieve success this season. After this game, they face a cup final against Ajax, which could become a distraction for the players. The Foxes have the quality and finesse to take the game to the Dutch side and snatch a victory and move into the semi-finals.