PREVIEW- CHELSEA VS LEICESTER CITY: After a chockablock Christmas week and a series of cup games(FA and Carabao), the mighty English Premier League is back. Game week 23 commences with the defending champions Chelsea taking on a rather docile Leicester City. The plot for the premier league is known to change vehemently but this year’s league leaders Manchester City have been the protagonist since day 1.
Chelsea are currently third on the league table, 1 point behind Manchester United while the Foxes have had a tumultuous season so far. They are placed 8th with 30 points. Leicester have dropped 11 points out of a possible 15 in their last 5 games; their only victory was against Huddersfield on the very first day of the year.
HEAD-TO-HEAD, PREMIER LEAGUE
|MATCHES WON BY CHELSEA||
|MATCHES WON BY LEICESTER CITY||
Chelsea won the reverse fixture 1-2 at the King Power Stadium this season; courtesy goals from Alvaro Morata and N’golo Kante. Jamie Vardy scored for the Foxes.
Leicester have lost 12 of their last 14 games against Chelsea in all competitions.
Riyad Mahrez has been involved in 14 goals (7 goals, 7 assists) after 22 Premier League games this season; nine more than he had managed after as many games in 2016-17 (3 goals, 2 assists).
JANUARY TRANSFERS: Chelsea acquired Ross Barkley from Everton for £15 million. The dynamic midfielder was out with a knee injury since August last year. Barkley donned the Evertonian jersey 150 times, netting 21 goals; a number way too meagre for his skill. At Chelsea though, he’ll have to prove his worth among the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Eden Hazard, Pedro, Willian. Good move?
PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR:
CESC FABREGAS(CHELSEA): The dextrous midfielder is probably one of the finest technicians in the game today. His passing accuracy and vision make him a huger threat than some of the other pacy Chelsea outfielders. Against Arsenal in a 2-2 draw, Fabregas produced yet another masterclass. Precise hits and key passes; all came together to a nicety. He might not play the complete 90 minutes against Leicester but the Spaniard can be Chelsea’s star man.
Minutes played: 1345, Goals: 1, Assists: 4.
RIYAD MAHREZ(LEICESTER CITY): From one midfield magician to another. Riyad Mahrez has been Leicester City’s marquee player for a good 3 years now and the Algerian seems to have hit the right form at the right time. His partnership with Jamie Vardy has won them some crucial fixtures, a league title too but, against a sturdy Chelsea, this partnership needs to dazzle or Leicester might just get outplayed in all departments.
Minutes played: 1759, Goals: 7, Assists: 7.
WHO WILL WIN CHELSEA vs LEICESTER CITY?: Chelsea are unbeaten in their last 6 games and against Leicester the record seems to append at a pace. Leicester have got genuine match-winners in their line-up but at the Stamford Bridge for this fixture, it’s advantage, Chelsea.
EXPECTED PLAYING XI:
Chelsea: Thibaut Courtois(gk), Cesar Azpilicueta, Andreas Christensen, Gary Cahill, Victor Moses, Cesc Fabregas, N’golo Kante, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Marcos Alonso, Eden Hazard, Alvaro Morata.
Leicester City: Casper Schmeichel(gk), Daniel Amartey, Yohan Benalouane, Harry Maguire, Ben Chilwell, Marc Albrighton, Vicente Iborra, Wilfred Ndidi, Riyad Mahrez, Shinji Okazaki, Jamie Vardy.
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