MX23RW : Thursday, February 6 18:47:38| >> :600:631106:631106:
Feb 1, 2020 at 12.30pm UK at ​King Power Stadium
Attendance: 32,186
LeicesterLeicester City
Barnes (54'), Chilwell (64')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Rudiger (46', 71')

Preview: Leicester City vs. Chelsea - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole provides team news, predicted lineups and a full preview of Saturday's Premier League fixture between Leicester City and Chelsea.

Leicester City play host to Chelsea in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon looking to bounce back from the disappointment of missing out on a place in the EFL Cup final.

Having failed to win their last two top-flight fixtures, the Blues make the trip to the King Power Stadium looking to close the gap on the third-placed Foxes to five points.

Match preview

Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers pictured on December 8, 2019© Reuters

While Leicester have been riding a crest of a wave under Brendan Rodgers for much of the season, the Northern Irishman must now find a way to lift his players after they missed out on an appearance at Wembley Stadium for the EFL Cup final.

Before the two-legged tie with Aston Villa, the Foxes were the clear favourites to set up a showdown with one of the Manchester clubs, but conceding early goals in both fixtures proved to be their undoing.

Despite Rodgers being satisfied enough with the performance in the West Midlands, there needs to be an acknowledgement that this is a considerable blip in their progression given what was at stake.

Having put together such impressive results in all three domestic competitions this season, Leicester are regarded as the third-best team in the country on merit, taking away the narrative that they remain underdogs to higher-profile clubs.

The next step in their development is to end the reliance on scoring streaks from Jamie Vardy and Kelechi Iheanacho, a significant factor over the past three months.

Jamie Vardy in action for Leicester City on December 14, 2019© Reuters

Vardy has contributed just one goal from his last eight outings in all competitions, a barren spell which has been produced after previously netting in eight games in a row.

Meanwhile, Iheanacho has added a goal or assist in his last three appearances after going over a month with just one strike to his name.

Leicester's inconsistent results have occurred courtesy of their respective misfiring in the final third, as well as clubs finding it easier to breach Jonny Evans and Caglar Soyuncu in the middle of their defence.

Nevertheless, there will be a feeling that a showdown with Chelsea, their nearest challengers for third position, is the perfect game after the lows of succumbing to Villa earlier this week.

Despite their relatively progressive season, Frank Lampard remains unhappy with the mentality of his Chelsea team, who appear unable to convincingly sweep opponents to the side despite spells of dominance.

On the back of picking up just one point from games against Newcastle United and Arsenal, the Blues were made to fight to claim a 2-1 victory over Hull City in the FA Cup fourth last weekend.

Chelsea boss Frank Lampard on December 29, 2019© Reuters

For the most part of the contest at the KCOM Stadium, Chelsea were coasting, but a failure to take a number of clear-cut chances meant that the Championship outfit remained competitive until the final whistle.

After the game, Lampard reiterated that he was delivering the same criticism of his side, who are frequently creating opportunities which are not being taken by the team's forward players.

With it appearing increasingly unlikely that Chelsea will bring in another striker before the end of the January window, more onus will be placed on Tammy Abraham and Michy Batshuayi in the final third.

While Batshuayi has squandered fewer chances due to his lack of game time, Abraham has not built on a strong start to the campaign, scoring just four times in his last 13 outings.

The academy graduate is a major doubt for this game due to an ankle injury, but there is an argument that Lampard will not necessarily mind being forced into experimenting with different solutions.

As far as the backline is concerned, Chelsea have conceded in the final quarter of four of their last half-a-dozen outings, something which must improve if they want to keep hold of fourth position for the rest of the season.

Leicester City Premier League form: LWWLLW
Leicester City form (all competitions): DLLWWL

Chelsea Premier League form: LWDWLD
Chelsea form (all competitions): DWWLDW

Team News

Leicester striker Jamie Vardy holds his injured glutes on January 22, 2020© Reuters

Having successfully made his return from a glute injury against Villa, Vardy is in line to get the nod over Iheanacho.

Rodgers also has decisions to make regarding the make-up of his midfield, with Dennis Praet, Youri Tielemans, Ayoze Perez and Harvey Barnes all hoping to start.

With Rodgers potentially opting for a less adventurous lineup, Barnes could miss out, leaving James Maddison to move out to the left flank.

Abraham will continue to be assessed before kickoff, although Lampard may hand a start to Batshuayi after his goal against Hull last weekend.

Reece James should be ready to return after a knee problem, resulting in Cesar Azpilicueta being moved over to the left side of the defence.

With the goal which was conceded against Hull being no fault of Kurt Zouma or Fikayo Tomori, the pair could retain their places ahead of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen.

Christian Pulisic is expected to remain on the sidelines through injury.

Leicester City possible starting lineup:
Schmeichel; Pereira, Evans, Soyuncu, Chilwell; Praet, Ndidi, Tielemans; Perez, Maddison, Vardy

Chelsea possible starting lineup:
Arrizabalaga; James, Zouma, Tomori, Azpilicueta; Kante, Jorginho, Kovacic; Willian, Batshuayi, Hudson-Odoi

Head To Head

Saturday's fixture will represent the 116th competitive meeting between the two clubs, with Chelsea recording 56 wins in comparison to 26 victories for Leicester.

However, despite the relatively one-sided record, it is Leicester who possess the better head-to-head in recent matches, putting together a four-game unbeaten streak in the Premier League.

Chelsea have not got the better of the Foxes in the top flight since recording a 2-1 victory at the King Power Stadium in September 2017.

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We say: Leicester City 3-1 Chelsea

While Chelsea have had a longer break than their hosts, we cannot help but feel that Leicester's exit from the EFL Cup will only act as extra motivation in this game. Despite Chelsea possessing a strong away record, we are backing the Foxes to run out comfortable victors.

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Who will win Saturday's Premier League clash between Leicester City and Chelsea?

Leicester City
Leicester City
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General view of Leicester City's King Power Stadium taken September 2018
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rhs 2.0
2Manchester CityMan City25163665293651
3Leicester CityLeicester25154654262849
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs2510784032837
6Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd259972623336
7Manchester UnitedMan Utd259883629735
8Wolverhampton WanderersWolves2581163532335
12Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2587102436-1231
14Crystal Palace257992229-730
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2568113037-726
17Aston Villa2574143247-1525
18West Ham UnitedWest Ham2566133043-1324
20Norwich CityNorwich2546152447-2318

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