The Big Match Preview: Leicester City vs Chelsea

leicester

Monday 14th December – 20:00 – King Power Stadium

Before the weekend’s other games, Leicester City against Chelsea was first versus 14th in the Premier League – and not the way round you’d most likely have thought in August. It has been a season of contrasting fortunes for these two sides, with the Foxes being the surprise package – losing just once, and last weekend they won 3-0 away at Swansea. The Blues, on the other hand, lost 1-0 at home to Bournemouth as their disastrous campaign continued. They did however, make it through to the knockout stages of the Champions League in midweek, the same time as Leicester duo Claudio Ranieri (who was in charge of Chelsea between 2000 and 2004) and Jamie Vardy picked up the Manager and Player of the Month awards respectively. A win for the Midlands side would take them back to the top of the table – and 20 points ahead of last season’s champions.

Team News

Leicester City

  • The Foxes welcome back on-loan winger Nathan Dyer, who was ineligible against parent club Swansea last weekend.
  • They have no new fitness concerns but Ritchie de Laet remains out with an ankle problem, while Matt James lacks match fitness after a long-term knee injury.
  • Claudio Ranieri is unlikely to change his team from the win in South Wales, but Shinji Okazaki is pushing for a recall in attack.

Chelsea

  • Jose Mourinho has a full squad to pick from for the trip to Leicester with both John Terry and Ramires returning from injury in the win over Porto.
  • He could well pick the same side that beat the Portuguese team, meaning that Cesc Fabregas and Gary Cahill could miss out again.
  • Radamel Falcao has returned to training following injury, but lacks match fitness so is unlikely to feature.

The Key Battle: Jamie Vardy vs John Terry

CREDIT: REUTERS
CREDIT: REUTERS

It’s not been a particularly easy season for John Terry and things could get even tougher for the experienced centre-back on Monday night, when he faces the Premier League’s most potent goal threat in Jamie Vardy.

The England international has bagged 14 goals in 15 appearances for Leicester City this season, setting a new Premier League record of netting in 11 consecutive fixtures in the process, but it’s his lethality on the counter-attack that will concern the Chelsea skipper most.

Vardy’s relentless energy and power-running on the break has been the predominant source of his Premier League-best tally and we’ve already seen Terry come unstuck against speedy strikers on several occasions this season – the 3-0 defeat to Manchester City in September, in which he was substituted at half-time, being the most notable example.

Kurt Zouma offers great pace and power on the cover, but if the 34-year-old is left isolated he’ll have little chance of keeping up with Vardy. That could well see Jose Mourinho drop Terry for the more athletic and agile Gary Cahill. [Football Fancast]

Previous Meetings

Leicester City wins = 24 / Chelsea wins = 51 / Draws = 29

*According to http://www.11v11.com

Last Meeting: Leicester City 1-3 Chelsea (29th April 2015)

_82661250_terry_reuters

Chelsea stood one win away from the Premier League title after mounting an impressive comeback to beat Leicester City at the King Power Stadium. Jose Mourinho’s side needed to call on all their reserves of quality and resilience to overcome Leicester City’s fiercely determined challenge which earned them a deserved first-half lead through Marc Albrighton. Didier Drogba restored equality early in the second half and further goals from captain John Terry and Ramires wrapped up a win that was testimony to the qualities that have put Chelsea on the brink of glory. [BBC]

Managers Quotes

CREDIT: SKY SPORTS/GETTY IMAGES
CREDIT: SKY SPORTS/GETTY IMAGES

Claudio Ranieri: “Chelsea for me means a lot because I worked there for four years. I’m very proud to have been their manager. But that’s an old story and now my focus is on Leicester. Their record does not mean anything as Chelsea are Chelsea and Mourinho is Mourinho. I’m sure at the end of the season they will be in the top four.”

Jose Mourinho: “I said a couple of weeks ago I don’t believe they [Leicester] can be champions. Maybe I have to think twice before saying that again. One thing is to be top of the league in September after a beautiful start. Another thing is to be top of the league in December.”

The Referee – Mark Clattenburg

CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES/HARRY ENGELS
CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES/HARRY ENGELS
  • Last Premier League game: Manchester United 0-0 West Ham United (5th December 2015) – 1 yellow card, 0 red cards
  • Last Leicester City game: Norwich City 1-2 Leicester City (3rd October 2015) – 1 yellow card, 0 red cards
  • Last Chelsea game: Chelsea 1-3 Liverpool (31st October 2015) – 5 yellow cards, 0 red cards

Stat of the Match

Chelsea have allowed their opponents 57 shots on target from inside the penalty area this season – the highest total in the top flight after 15 games.

Where can I Watch it?

Sky Sports 1 are showing the game live from 7pm tonight, with kick-off an hour later.

My Prediction: Leicester City 2-1 Chelsea

CREDIT: PA WIRE/PAUL HARDING
CREDIT: PA WIRE/PAUL HARDING

I can’t see Chelsea’s torrid league run ending here, especially against the most inform side in the division. I think that Leicester’s two stars Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy will both score for the Foxes, with Eden Hazard breaking his goal drought to score for Chelsea in a 2-1 defeat for the London side. Could this lead to #MourinhoOut?

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