Foxes hard to trust at such a short price
BT Sport 3, 7.45pm
The difference between Leicester in the Champions League and in the Premier League is so marked that you can see why punters are all over the Foxes against Club Brugge tonight.
Add in the difference between Leicester home and away, and you can also see why the layers don’t want to be handing out any bait with Claudio Ranieri’s men.
But odds of 1-2 about the English champions looks short enough for a side not playing well, struggling on their travels and up against a team who have to go looking for a win to retain any interest in Europe after Christmas.
Neither side are in the greatest form, and given that a point is all Ranieri needs to book a last-16 place, get on the Club Brugge or draw double chance at 15-8.
While no flash in the pan, Leicester are clearly struggling and go into this fixture without a win in their last four. They’ve had six wins this season (and six 90-minute defeats) with five of those victories coming at home.
Nampalys Mendy is still out. Islam Slimani and Ben Chilwell are also crocked.
Anthony Limbombe is fit to start after two weeks out. Midfielder Ruud Vormer is suspended. Defender Bjorn Engels and striker Lior Refaelov are injured.
The one exception, of course, was when they went to Bruges and won 3-0 in their Group G opener, a performance and scoreline they haven’t come close to replicating.
They are top of the section with ten points ticked off and no goals conceded. But they rode their luck in Porto and were twice involved in absorbing tussles with Copenhagen where there was little to choose between the sides, and there is nothing to suggest the Foxes are playing like a 1-2 shots.
What they had last season was the shock factor; pace and quality on the break which opponents struggled to cope with, and the best sitting midfielder in the division in N’Golo Kante. Kante’s gone and so too is the surprise element – teams no longer go at them and invite Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy to hurt them on the counter and as a consequence both are looking pretty ordinary.
Ordinary is a fair description of Brugge, one of only two teams in the competition to have lost all four group games.
Both teams have failed to score in nine of Brugge’s last ten away games
Humiliated first by Leicester, then in Copenhagen, Michel Preud’homme’s side were unlucky not to get anything from two tight scraps with Porto, and they are in a position where they need a victory to have any chance of securing a Europa League permit.
Friday’s 1-0 win at Sint-Truiden wasn’t brilliant but was timely and showed what they can be about defensively. They boast the best defensive record in the Belgian top division with 11 conceded in 15 matches.
They had failed to score in four away games before their trip to Sint-Truiden and this could be a close encounter without many goals.
Bookmakers think otherwise with under 2.5 goals on offer at 11-10.
Club Brugge or draw double chance
1pt 15-8 Coral