stadium

Leicester City v Chelsea

King Power Stadium, Saturday 20th November, kick off 12:30pm

by John Spillane

A repeat of May’s cup final sees league leaders Chelsea travel to the Midlands to take on a Leicester City side lying in 12th place, 11 points adrift of their opponents.

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Back at Wembley Brendan Rogers side were thankful to two moments of brilliance on the day; a wonder strike by Youri Tielemans and a remarkable reflex same from Kasper Schmeichel. Chelsea’s disappointment last too long as a week later they bounced back to take the Champions league final thanks to a Kai Havertz winner. After a stuttering performance last time out when they failed to kill of a resilient Burnley side at Stamford Bridge and were hit by a 79th minute equaliser from Matej Vydra. The loss of their usual strikefoce, of Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner, has forced them to adapt their game. It has often been the attacking full backs Reece James and Ben Chilwell who are now playing a more prominent role, taking advantage of the team’s high share of possession by spending more time in the opponents half as opposed to defending their own goal. Thomas Tuchel has looked to get all his squad involved with Ross Barkley, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi getting opportunities, while Christian Pulisic and N’Golo Kante are recovering from injuries.

The Cup success elevated the reputation of Brendan Rogers, which he has seen him recently being linked with the Manchester United job. The one-time Chelsea youth coach took over a Leicester side City in need of a lift and re-energised their main striker, Jamie Vardy. The tactic of, even when at home, dropping deep and inviting the opponent on to them continues to bear fruit. Vardy, Kelechi Iheanacho and Harvey Barnes are given the chance to capitalize on their pace and the intelligent passing of Tielemans (missing through injury) and James Maddison who has struggled for game time over the past few months. Their central defence of Jonny Evans and Caglar Soyuncu will need to be on their guard with Chelsea’s attacking midfielders taking it in turns to act as the spearhead of the attack.

Leicester’s home record this season has seen them lose to Manchester City 0-1 and Arsenal 0-2, but they also beat Manchester United 4-2. Chelsea are unbeaten away from home W4, D1 and have only conceded four goals in the league. If the influence of Mason Mount is not restricted by Wilfried Ndidi then it could be another frustrating afternoon at home for the Foxes.

Suggested bet : Chelsea to win (3/4 at bet365)

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