Leicester City v Spartak Moscow: Fireworks at the King Power

Spartak coach Rui Vitoria
Rui Vitoria is under huge pressure at Spartak Moscow

Leicester City still have work to do to reach the knockout phase, and Kevin Hatchard thinks they'll take a step towards progress with a lively win over Spartak Moscow...

"Spartak have been dreadful in defence recently, but they have at least scored in each of their last seven competitive outings."

Back Leicester City to win and both teams to score at 2.6413/8

Leicester City v Spartak Moscow
Thursday 04 November, 20:00
Live on BT Sport 1

Foxes foiled by goalkeeping excellence

Leicester City were left to reflect upon a world-class goalkeeping display as they suffered a 2-0 home defeat to Arsenal on Saturday. Aaron Ramsdale seems to have been on a mission to prove his critics and doubters wrong, and he repeatedly strained every sinew to keep Brendan Rodgers' side at bay at the King Power Stadium. A full-length dive to push a James Maddison free-kick onto the crossbar was the best of a series of jaw-dropping stops, and despite posting an Expected Goals For figure of 2.1 (according to Infogol) the hosts were kept off the scoresheet.

Leicester had scored at least twice in each of their previous five competitive games, but defending remains a big issue. The Foxes' only clean sheet in the last 14 matches in all competitions was against Championship side Millwall in the League Cup, and they haven't managed a shut-out at home since mid-August. In each of their last five home matches, they have conceded twice. For a side that has ambitions of winning silverware and consistently qualifying for Europe, that is an unsustainable record.

Patson Daka is pushing for a starting spot, having scored all four of Leicester's goals in the reverse fixture in Moscow. Wilfrid Ndidi, James Justin and Wesley Fofana are all still out, while there are doubts over Ayoze Perez and Ricardo Pereira.

Rui Vitoria on the thinnest of ice

Sometimes it seems as if a coach is certain to lose their job, that the tide against them is too strong and their position has become untenable. That seemed to be the case with Spartak Moscow boss Rui Vitoria, after his side not only collapsed to a 4-3 home defeat against Leicester City in the Europa League, but then suffered an utterly humiliating 7-1 drubbing at Russian champions Zenit. It was Rui Vitoria's worst ever defeat as a coach, and Spartak's heaviest domestic loss. Having survived that indignity, the Portuguese tactician suffered yet another blow, as two points were snatched away via a 95th-minute leveller by Rostov in a 1-1 draw.

All talk of a resignation or a dismissal have been waved away, and Rui Vitoria will attempt to rescue the club's European campaign in the East Midlands. It has been a mixed season on the continental front - Spartak lost at home to Legia Warsaw, won at Napoli and then led 2-0 against the Foxes, only to lose 4-3. This inconsistency has been mirrored by domestic performances - in the Russian Premier League, Spartak have won five, lost five and drawn three.

Maximiliano Caufriez should return to the XI after missing the first clash with Leicester, but Pavel Maslov, Ezequiel Ponce and Georgi Melkadze could all miss out.

Foxes to win a thriller

Neither team's defence covered itself in glory a fortnight ago, and Spartak's defensive issues are there for all to see. While they can't be dismissed as weak opponents after win in Naples, Spartak are fair underdogs here.

There's little interest in backing Leicester in the Match Odds market here at an anaemic 1.331/3, but we can boost that price to a much healthier 2.6413/8 if we back Leicester to win and Both Teams To Score. Four of Leicester's last five victories in all competitions have seen both teams find the net.

It's also worth considering Leicester to score in both halves at 1.834/5, something they did against Napoli on Matchday One and in Moscow.

Daka to do it again?

Patson Daka produced a spellbinding display of finishing in Moscow, and the Zambian will be desperate to have another crack at that Spartak defence. You can back him as First Goalscorer at 3.613/5, or simply to score at any time at 1.738/11.

Kevin Hatchard 2021-22 Europa League P/L

Points Staked: 18
Points Returned: 19.42
P/L: +1.42 points

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