Chelsea return to Premier League action on Saturday evening, as they travel to reigning champions Leicester. The Blues are looking to regain the trophy which the Foxes took from them in May, and a victory here would go a long way towards that. Defeat at Tottenham may have ended their impressive winning run in the top flight, but they can’t let that hold them back here.
While Leicester are struggling in the table, this will still be a big test for the Blues. The King Power still isn’t an easy place to visit, especially now Claudio Ranieri’s men aren’t being distracted by the Champions League. Will Chelsea come away from here with their five point lead intact, or will they suffer another blow in their push for the title?
Team News: Stars set to return ahead of tough test
Chelsea are hoping to get John Terry’s suspension overturned, after he was sent off against Peterborough last weekend. However, he probably would have dropped out of the team this weekend anyway, as Antonio Conte is likely to restore many of his top stars to the line-up this weekend. He made 10 changes for the FA Cup third round tie, all of which are likely to be reversed. The Italian switched to a 3-5-2 for that game, but he’ll likely revert to a 3-4-3 once he puts his main men back in the starting line-up.
Only Gary Cahill kept his place from the defeat at Tottenham, with fringe players getting a run out. There was a welcome return for Kurt Zouma, after 11 months on the sidelines. He should push for a place in the starting line up over the coming weeks, although this might come a little early for him. He’ll have more competition at centre-half, now that Nathan Ake has returned from his loan at Bournemouth. Conte clearly rates the young defender, so expect to see him in the first team soon enough.
Leicester have no injury worries ahead of this clash, but they do have a few key absentees. The Foxes are without three players, who have all travelled to Gabon for the Africa Cup of Nations. Daniel Amartey, Riyad Mahrez and Islam Slimani are all on international duty. Missing those three is a blow for Ranieri, just as they started to find form in the Premier League.
Leicester are down in 15th place in the league, which is some drop from their excellent campaign last time around. The Foxes have mostly struggled on the road, having taken just three points on their travels. At home they’re a lot more comfortable, winning half of their 10 games here, claiming 18 points overall. They’ve lost just two of their league matches at the King Power, but both of those have come in their last five here. Even their strong home form looks to be tailing off, which is a worry for Ranieri.
The Foxes recently recorded an impressive win over Manchester City here, which seemed like a return to their title winning form. They were 3-0 up in 20 minutes against City, before going 4-0 up with 10 minutes to go. City had a small fightback, but that display was an impressive one from the champions. Their strong performance was thought to be down to Pep Guardiola’s tactics, rather than anything Leicester did. His City side were so open, it was the kind of approach which the Foxes took advantage of regularly last term. Few sides give them that much space now.
Leicester v Chelsea Head to Head
In their last meeting at Stamford Bridge, the Blues had few problems dispatching the champions. They’ve met twice this season, winning both games. They made the trip to the King Power in the League Cup, going 2-0 down before fighting back to force extra time. Their last league meeting here was Jose Mourinho’s final match in charge of the club, as they lost 2-1 against the then league leaders.
- Chelsea 3-0 Leicester, Oct 2016
- Leicester 2-4 Chelsea, Sep 2016
- Chelsea 1-1 Leicester, May 2016
- Leicester 2-1 Chelsea, Dec 2015
- Leicester 1-3 Chelsea, Apr 2015
- Both teams to score – 5/6 with Coral
- Diego Costa to score first – 3/1 with Betfair
Chelsea are heavy favourites to win here, despite Leicester’s strong home record. The Blues are priced at 8/13 with Betfred to take all three points on Saturday evening. Meanwhile, BetVictor make Leicester the 5/1 outsiders for the points. There’s little value in backing the leaders to take the points here. They’re justified in that short price, given that they have the best away record in the top flight, even after their loss at Spurs. However, there a couple of value bets to grab on this clash.
Leicester’s strong record here means they should be able to get a goal in this game. They’ve scored in 70% of their league matches at the King Power, while they’ve found the net in seven of their last eight in all competitions at home. Chelsea have a strong defence, but we can see it being exposed by the likes of Jamie Vardy. We’re backing both teams to score in this game, which seems well priced at 5/6 with Coral ahead of kick off.
We’re also backing a big impact from Diego Costa here, with the striker returning to the side after being rested last weekend. That short break allowed some game time for Michy Batshuayi, but it’s unlikely to give the Belgian another start. Costa is the league’s top scorer, and he should get the chance to continue his fantastic scoring record with a goal here. We can see the Spaniard opening the scoring in this one, he’s priced at 3/1 with Betfair to score the first goal. You can back him to score any time here at 8/11 with Sky Bet.