Preview: Chelsea – Leicester

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Chelsea host Leicester aiming to stay in pole position when it comes to securing the podium finish that will automatically secure a Champions League spot for 2018/19.

 

Flashscore presents the key facts before the match:

The visitors are mid-table and have only the FA Cup to think about, which could make for a comfortable Chelsea win.

This will be the 111th meeting between the two sides with Chelsea having by far the dominant record before kickoff, with 55 wins to Leicester’s 25. No less than 30 encounters have ended all square, with the most recent one coming in May 2016, the end of which marked the official start of Leicester’s reign as Premier League champions at Chelsea’s expense.

Along with historical dominance over Leicester, Chelsea also have a proud scoring record against Leicester. They last failed to do so in a 2-0 home defeat in September 2000 that heralded the end of the Gianluca Vialli era. Chelsea have also scored 3+ goals in six out of the last ten meetings.

Tasked with motivating his Leicester charges in an extremely difficult away day, Claude Puel has not shied away from asserting that he wants to keep star player Riyad Mahrez at the club. The Frenchman said: “He is happy to play with this team. We are trying to develop good play on the floor and he likes this. He has good results with assists and goals in recent games.”

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte knows that his squad must win. One new element he could use to trouble Leicester is new signing Ross Barkley. On his ‘complete’ new signing, Conte had this to say: “He is complete because he has it all. He has stamina, he is strong physically and he has good technique. He is fast. He is a modern footballer.”

Players to watch: Mahrez is always one to watch, but there are others that could catch the eye. Having been a deadly wingback since arriving at Chelsea, Marcus Alonso was back amongst the goals in Chelsea’s last league outing, scoring the second goal in a 2-2 draw at Arsenal. Danny Drinkwater and N’Golo Kante could also make appearances against their former club.

Stat attack: Defence could be key for underdogs Leicester. It has been at least fifty years since Leicester last won any encounter against Chelsea after conceding the first goal. Doing so against Leicester doesn’t seem to daunt Chelsea, however, with the current Champions getting a comeback win against Leicester in April 2015.

 

Missing players

Chelsea: R. Barkley (doubtful)

Leicester: W. Morgan (thigh injury), D. Simpson (thigh injury), R. Huth (doubtful).