Our live stream ahead of Thursday nights Europa League match, Leicester City vs Athens is now up and running, kicking off at 20.00 BST
You can keep an eye on the commentary as it happens below, but first, we take a preview into the fixture, lineups, predictions and much more…
Leicester come into that match off the back of a 2-1 away win at Bramall lance against Sheffield United at the weekend. Boyhood Sheffied Wednesday fan, Jamie Vardy grabbed the last gasp winner with a beautifully curled effort.
The win ended a run of four games without a win for Brendan Rodgers’ men. Leicester are already assured of a place in the last 32 and will finish top so long as they prevail on Thursday, with Braga level with the Foxes on 10 points but behind on head-to-head results.
Athens, however, have only accrued three points from a possible 15 and the best that they can hope for now is a third-placed finish. Its been a relatively dismal Europa League campaign for the Greek giants – only pride will be on the line on Thursday.
When the two clubs met in October, Leicester ran out 2-1 victors away in Greece…
Thoughts on Basaksehir and PSG walk off?
“I thought it was the right thing to do. To make a stand, there needs to be drastic action. It was good both sets of players came together in that.
We can’t tolerate that type of behaviour. I take my hat off to everyone involved because if we are going to stamp it out, we have to do these types of things.”
Team selection affected by need to win?
“We’ll do what we’ve done throughout the competition and pick a team we believe will win the game.
We knew in the last game that whatever happened, we could win the game against Athens and win the group. We’ll pick a team accordingly.”
Would teams walk off in this country?
“Yes. It’s something we all want to stamp out. There’s a greater awareness of it. People are tired of it. We don’t want it in social life or sport.
By making these types of actions, it’s important. The game doesn’t happen without players, so if we have that opportunity to make a stand against it, I don’t think there would be exceptions to that in this country.”
Europa League to be won by English club?
“Time will tell. But certainly the teams are big teams in this country, they are top teams. All the teams in the last 32 will want to go as far as they can. It’s unfortunate for Manchester United to fall out of the Champions League.”
Difficult to balance wanting to win and player welfare given hectic schedule?
“It’s no different to what we’ve done all season. We’ve had to manage the group because of injuries we’ve had and competitions we’ve been in.
We’ve picked strong teams and that’s allowed us to qualify for the last 32. We have to bear in mind the game on Sunday and the following midweek.
Winning the game, tactics, player welfare all comes into your thinking when you’re picking the team.”
Time-scale on Soyuncu injury?
“I don’t want to get into any time scales. It’s about how we feels. He’s out on the field. He’s working and has come through various movement patterns.
We don’t want to rush him. The scan showed up clear, but it’s more about he feels, he’s not there himself in terms of comfort. It will be paced by him.”
European success one thing you’re missing?
“I never think about it like that. My yardstick is always about influence. Of course we want to win, but it’s not at the forefront of my mind in terms of trophies.
There are great managers that never get to do that because of teams they work for. I wanted to play in European football with Leicester. But it’s easy to do things once, so can we do that a second time.
I love my job here and my work here, helping the club develop and improve. In every competition we’re in, it’s trying to be the best we can.”
Latest on Castagne?
“He is in the final stages of his rehabilitation. Hopefully it’ll be sooner rather than later for him, but he won’t be available for tomorrow.”
Preparing for Europa League different to preparing for Prem?
“I love it. It’s not too dissimilar in terms of the Premier League being a very competitive league with a lot of diverse playing styles, so you get used to that on a week to week basis, but I suppose you may not see that as regularly.
But they are the best teams in their country, so they’re winning games and come in with confidence. They play the game to a really high level technically and tactically.
You’re maybe not as aware of the individual players as you would be in your domestic competition.”
Leicester City Europa League form: WWWDL
Leicester City form (all competitions): WLDLLW
AEK Athens Europa League form: WLLWLL
AEK Athens form (all competitions): WWLWLL
Leicester City possible starting lineup:
Schmeichel; Justin, Morgan, Evans, Thomas; Ndidi, Praet, Choudhury; Under, Iheanacho, Barnes
AEK Athens possible starting lineup:
Tsintosas; Paulinho, Nedelcearu, Hnid, Mitaj; Mantalos, Simoes, Szymanski; Albanis, Oliveira, Garcia
We say: Leicester City 3-1 AEK Athens
AEK Athens are definitely capable of breaching this Leicester defence, and knowing that Luhansk and Fulham both got results against the Foxes should give the visitors and injection of confidence.
However, AEK Athens have nothing to play for in this one and the Foxes should be too strong at home against the Greek side, so we cannot see any other result than a routine win for Rodgers’s men as they look to seal top spot in the group.
Time to take a look at our Leicester City vs AEK Athens live match stream as it happens…