Chelsea welcome Claude Puel’s resurgent Leicester side as Antonio Conte’s men look to gazump Manchester United for second spot in the league.
Having played out successive draws in their last three games, Chelsea would be looking to get back to winning ways as they take on Leicester City at Stamford Bridge on Saturday. With Antonio Conte unsure about his future, the players would look to back their manager and earn a much needed victory to raise the dampened spirits.
Chelsea would be looking to secure their first victory of 2018, having played a 0-0 stalemate with Arsenal recently. Chelsea’s top scorer, Alvaro Morata, who has 12 goals this season, would also be looking to end his four-game goalless streak. His last goal came against Brighton on Boxing day.
Leicester meanwhile will come afresh into the match after playing a 0-0 draw against Fleetwood in FA Cup 3rd round on January 6. There’s good news for Claude Puel as Leicester striker Jamie Vardy could make a return to the starting lineup after missing the clash against Fleetwood due to groin injury. The Englishman is in good form and has been on the scoresheet 10 times this season.
Team News & Tactics
Chelsea have had a hectic schedule going into the match. However, they have no injury concerns ahead of the visit of Leicester on Saturday, with Ross Barkley the only player absent as he continues building up his fitness following recover from a long-term hamstring injury.
The strike pair of Alvaro Morata and Eden Hazard is likely to be fielded upfront, with Pedro a possible option for a three-pronged attack. Cesc Fabregas would again be a key player to provide the service to Morata, just as he did in the previous league game against Arsenal.
The Chelsea back-line will more or less be the same with Conte switching between Antonio Rudiger and Gary Cahill, with Thibaut Courtois, Cesar Azpilicueta and Andreas Christensen being the regular names in defence.
Probable Starting Lineup (3-4-3): Courtois; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Cahill; Moses, Fabregas, Kante Alonso; Pedro, Morata, Hazard
Claude Puel will have Jamie Vardy back in the side after the English striker recovered from a groin injury that kept him out of the last match. Marc Albrighton, Shinji Okazaki and Riyad Mahrez are the players who are likely to provide the supporting act.
Leicester will be without services of Wes Morgan, Danny Simpson (both hamstring) and Robert Huth (ankle), who are all out with injuries. Christian Fuchs (illness) and Vincente Iborra (hamstring) are both fit and available.
In Simpson’s absence, Daniel Amartey is likely to play as the makeshift right-back, while Aleksandar Dragovic is expected to line up alongside Harry Maguire at the heart of defence.
Probable Starting Lineup (4-4-2): Schmeichel; Amartey, Maguire, Dragovic, Fuchs; Mahrez, Ndidi, James, Albrighton; Okazaki, Vardy
- Chelsea have lost just one of their last 11 meetings with Leicester City in the Premier League (W9 D1 L1) – losing 1-2 in December 2015 at the King Power Stadium.
- Antonio Conte has won 25 of his opening 30 home Premier League games as manager, no boss in the competition has won more of their opening 30. Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti also won 25, with Mourinho drawing and Ancelotti losing their 31st home games in charge
- .Leicester have both scored and conceded in 14 of their 22 league games this season – more than any other Premier League side
- Since August 2014, Jamie Vardy has scored more Premier League goals against ‘big six’ opposition than any other player (22 goals in 41 apps).
- Since losing to Man City in September, Chelsea have won each of their last seven home Premier League games, shipping just three goals and keeping five clean sheets in that time
1. Leicester City Asian Handicap +1.5 @ 2.070
2. Chelsea Clean Sheet – No @ 1.80
1. Riyad Mahrez to score anytime @ 5.50
Player To Watch
The Belgian winger has been in superb form this season, causing mayhem all along the opposition defence. However, the only thing he’s missing is getting his name on the score sheet. Hazard has scored in just 2 out of his last 10 appearances. With some big games coming next month, this would be the right time to up the throttle.
Chelsea 1-0 Leicester City
Chelsea come into the match having kept clean sheets in their last two games. But, problems on the other end of the pitch have been prevalent, and Alvaro Morata and Eden Hazard will be desperate to get on the score sheet.
The Blues’ record at home is quite strong, having not lost any of their last 12 games at Stamford Bridge, with their last defeat coming against Manchester City in September. One can expect Chelsea to edge out Leicester in the clash between previous two Premier League champions, and odd-goal win perhaps.