Barcelona v Leicester – Friends Arena, Sweden at 19:00 live on Sky Sports 1
Leicester City conclude their International Champions Cup campaign tomorrow night at the Friends Arena in Stockholm against another European powerhouse, Spanish champions Barcelona. Having already faced Scottish champions Celtic and Ligue 1 winners PSG, the Foxes face their toughest pre-season match before Sunday’s Community Shield.
It’s been a pre-season like no other at Leicester, as they prepare themselves for their first Premier League title defence and maiden season along side Europe’s elite in the Champions League. Whilst being used to trips to the likes of Oxford United, who they defeated at the Kassam Stadium earlier this Summer, facing the likes of Celtic, PSG and Barca in stadiums like Celtic Park and the StubHub centre in California will have given them a taste of what’s to come.
They drew 1-1 with the Hoops in their opening ICC 2016 match before being humbled by The Parisians 4-0. Despite the heavy defeat, the experience of playing one of Europe’s top teams, with a total of 18 players in action, would have been great value to Claudio Ranieri’s side.
PSG were also ahead of Leicester in terms of their preparations for the new season and they are a side that has always taken the International Champions Cup very seriously, always fielding strong sides and are current holders. However, although the Foxes were able to get the better of most Premier League sides last season, the Champions League could be a bit too much of a step up with the squad they have and I expect them to struggle against the Catalans tomorrow and in the UCL this season.
Barcelona began their preparations for another La Liga and Copa del Rey defence against Celtic at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Saturday. Luis Enrique fielded a mix of youth and experience, including Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez. Barca ran out comfortable 3-1 winners thanks to goals from Arda Turan and Munir El Haddadi and an own goal from Efe Ambrose.
The Blaugrana come into this match slightly shorter than they were against Celtic, which is probably down to Leicester’s thumping by PSG over the weekend and the fact they have the Premier League’s curtain raiser against Man Utd in the Community Shield on Sunday.
I would expect Ranieri to field a similar number of players as he did against PSG, looking to preserve most of his starting line-up for Sunday’s match and the start of the season. Barcelona still have another 2 friendlies against Liverpool and Sampdoria before their Super Cup fixture against Sevilla and are likely to field a similar side that defeated Celtic.
Barcelona are even money -1.75 on the Asian Handicap but for my recommendation I’m backing Over 3 goals on the Asian line at 1.90.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Over 3 goals at 1.90
Prices correct at time of writing.
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