Chelsea make a tricky visit to the King Power Stadium to face a struggling Leicester City side whose title challenge has fallen flat on its face much like the manner in which Chelsea’s did last season. The London side have been in imperious form this season and even after a setback against Tottenham Hotspur in the last round of fixtures, they are a comfortable 5 points ahead of their nearest competitor. This advantage is a massive one considering the proximity in which the rest of the clubs are in now.
Leicester City, on the hand, have failed to juggle the rigours of the Premier League and Champions League and coupled with the abject form of their best players, are in a spot of bother. The Champions will be hoping they have a different outcome in the second half of the season and that the turnaround starts against the Champions-elect.
- Leicester have won just one of their last nine Premier League games against Chelsea, though it was this exact fixture last season (D1 L7).
- Indeed, Chelsea have won three of their last four visits in the Premier League to Leicester (L1), with two of those wins masterminded by Claudio Ranieri in 2002 and 2004.
- Despite winning the league last season, Claudio Ranieri’s Premier League win percentage was better at Chelsea (52%) than it currently is at Leicester City (48%).
- Chelsea have not beaten the reigning Premier League champion twice in the same season since 2009/10, a season in which they ended up lifting the trophy.
- Diego Costa has scored in two of his three Premier League games against the Foxes, though both goals have been at Stamford Bridge.
- Costa has had a hand in 11 goals in his last 11 Premier League appearances away from home (nine goals, two assists).
- Chelsea have the best points differential from this season to last after 20 games (+26), while Leicester City have the worst (-19).
- Chelsea’s 49-point tally from 20 Premier League games this season is nine more than Leicester City had at this stage last season in their title-winning campaign (40).
- Antonio Conte’s Chelsea have made the fewest changes to their starting XI overall this season (19), although 10 of these have come in the last five matches.
- Conte has not lost two successive league matches away from home as a manager since May 2011 while boss of Serie A side Siena.
TEAM NEWS & PREDICTED LINE-UPS
LEICESTER CITY (4-3-2-1)
Leicester’s Leonardo Ulloa is out with a thigh injury but Jamie Vardy returns.
The Foxes will be without Africa Cup of Nations-bound trio Riyad Mahrez, Islam Slimani and Daniel Amartey.
Schmeichel; Simpson, Morgan, Huth, Chilwell; Ndidi, Mendy; Drinkwater; Albrighton, Musa; Vardy
Chelsea boss Antonio Conte will reassess his attacking options following Diego Costa’s omission after a dispute.
Defender Nathan Ake is available after being recalled from his loan spell at Bournemouth, but John Terry is suspended after his red card last week.
Courtois; Azpilicueta, Luiz, Cahill; Moses, Kante, Matic, Alonso; Pedro, Hazard, Willian