Leicester City vs Chelsea Preview

English Premier League | Monday 14 December | King Power Stadium | 22:00


League leaders Leicester City will play host to faltering champions Chelsea at the King Power Stadium on Monday night. The Blues will be desperate to return to winning ways following their embarrassing 1-0 defeat at home to Bournemouth last weekend, but will they be outfoxed by Claudio Ranieri’s fearless side? 


To Win (90mins)
Leicester 19/10
Draw 23/10
Chelsea 27/20

Leicester City

After 15 games of the Premier League season, Leicester City are still the team on everyone’s lips at the moment. The Foxes are sitting pretty in first place, with 32 points from their 15 games so far. An unbelievable start for a club which some people thought would be battling the drop. The Foxes have won four of their seven home games with just one defeat against Arsenal. Their last match at the King Power Stadium ended in a 1-1 draw against Manchester United. Claudio Ranieri will be up against his former club having coached Chelsea from 2000-2004 only to be replaced by Jose Mourinho. The Italian was a popular figure during his time in London and signed players like Petr Cech and Frank Lampard that transformed Chelsea. 

Ranieri has done a remarkable job since taking over Leicester, employing a hugely effective pressing game, with the pace of Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez enabling them to turn defence into attack in the blink of an eye. N'Golo Kante has been a revelation for Leicester so far this year since signing from Caen in the summer. Kante covers an incredible amount of ground every game, and always seems to be in the right place to break up play in the middle. But as well as that, his pace and strength means he can be a force on the attack for Leicester. Danny Drinkwater has shone for Leicester this season. The 25-year-old has made the central midfield spot his own this year, after struggling to get into the side last season. Drinkwater is finally starting to rediscover his impervious form from Leicester’s Championship winning season in 2014. The midfielder seems to effortlessly find space, is calm on the ball, and can play a pin-point pass to one of his teammates, allowing him to pick up three assists so far this campaign. 

Mahrez has been the creative hub in midfield with 10 goals and six assists to his name. The Algerian maestro – who netted a hat-trick against Swansea – will be looking to manipulate the Chelsea defence and provide a constant attacking threat with his incredible vision and ability to pick a pass. Vardy, as if anyone needs reminding, has scored in 11 successive Premier League matches – breaking Ruud van Nistelrooy's record – and has 14 in total this season. A pacy, lethal finisher in the form of his life to go with a quick, elusive winger who can score as well as create, Vardy and Mahrez are like a sprinkling of stardust on Ranieri’s team and it will be difficult to contain them.



Chelsea

Last season’s Premier League champions are marooned at the bottom end of the Premier League after a dismal start to their title defence. To Chelsea's credit they are backing a manager like never before. Jose Mourinho seems to have lost his magic touch, but he has not lost his job. The aura, the air of invincibility that would intimidate opponents when they boasted a 77-game unbeaten Premier League run at Stamford Bridge, has vanished. Everyone, including little Bournemouth, fancies their chances of toppling the champions and they quite often do. 

Chelsea are a broken team and Mourinho is struggling to fix them. He has been pulling the wool over people’s eyes for weeks, promising a run of December results that would take them into contention for a top-four finish. The defeat at home to Bournemouth was not a good start. The football served up by Chelsea last weekend was diabolical. Where is the flair, the sense of adventure in an attacking front four possessing the creative talents of Eden Hazard, Willian, Oscar and Pedro? Still without a goal for Chelsea this season, the staggering downturn in Hazard's performances has been one of the stories of the season. The Belgian was clearly the best player in the Premier League in 2014/15, but his magic touch has deserted him as the champions have faded away toward bottom-half-of-the-table obscurity. There have been signs of improvement of late, but Hazard has a long way to go to match last season's highs. Looking more cumbersome and a little heavier than this time last season, when he was terrorising Premier League defences, Diego Costa has seen his status as a Chelsea fans favourite suffer a little during what has been a series of below-par performances. He's managed just four goals in all competitions this term and was recently relegated to the bench for recent matches against Tottenham and Bournemouth, something which would have been unthinkable last season. 

Chelsea face the pressure of traveling to table-topping Leicester City needing maximum points. That was always going to be the case as they attempted to climb the table, yet three points at the King Power Stadium are more vital than ever after last weekend’s defeat.

Probable line-ups:

Leicester City: 4-4-2
Schmeichel; Simpson, Huth, Morgan, Fuchs; Mahrez, Kante, Drinkwater, Albrighton; Ulloa, Vardy

Chelsea: 4-2-3-1
Courtois; Ivanovic, Zouma, Terry, Azpilicueta; Fabregas, Matic; Willian, Hazard, Pedro; Costa

Betting Verdict: Leicester City
Leicester are unbeaten in their last eight league matches with six wins, while Chelsea have lost five of their last eight games. With the deadly duo of Vardy and Mahrez, I’m going for Leicester to claim maximum points. 

Written by Chadley Nagel for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now!