Leicester City are the confirmed group winners with only a goal conceded so far. Conversely, their dire run in the EPL continued over the weekend as they lost 2-1 to Sunderland to sink to 15th. After the match, manager Claudio Ranieri admitted that in the EPL, “This season, everything is wrong.” Their opponents still have something to play for, with a likely FC Copenhagen win against Club Brugge meaning FC Porto must win as well to finish second. They may have an easier time of it at home against what may be a weaker Leicester side, with the Foxes approaching the busy holiday period in the EPL and the group already wrapped up. It’s been a rough past few weeks for Porto, however, as they were knocked out of the Portuguese Cup and slogged through three straight draws in the league before beating Braga 1-0 over the weekend with a 95th minute goal. Starlet Andre Silva last scored against Club Brugge in the Champions League on November 2nd and will be looking to return to the scoresheet against a defense that has been extremely sloppy in the EPL.
Porto are in the midst of an uncharacteristic trophyless drought, having not won anything for two seasons - the first time they’ve done so since 1981. They’ve brought in Valencia manager Nuno and kept hold of captain Hector Herrera and Algerian attacking midfielder Yacine Brahimi. There will be intense focus on winning a domestic trophy this season, but in a group that includes FC København, Club Brugge and Leicester City, there is no reason why they couldn’t simultaneously make progress in the Champions League. After a couple years in the wilderness, it could be a return to form for the Dragons.
Last year’s improbable season gives Leicester a chance to prove themselves at the highest possible level (sorry, World Cup). While it would be foolish to discount their chances, competing in the Champions League in addition to defending their Premier League title and playing in two domestic cups is a tall order for any club - let alone one that was built a year ago for one purpose: avoiding relegation. The Foxes managed to hold onto the talent they need to get out of the group stage, the question is whether they have to squad depth to compete on multiple fronts.
One of three captains ever to win each of the Champions League, European Championship and the World Cup.
A box-to-box midfielder and key component of the Mexican national team.