Jan 14, 2017 at 5.30pm UK at ​King Power Stadium
Attendance: 32,066
LeicesterLeicester City

Fuchs (51')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Alonso (6', 51'), Pedro (71')

Preview: Leicester City vs. Chelsea

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Premier League clash between champions Leicester City and league leaders Chelsea at the King Power Stadium.

Chelsea will look to return to winning ways in the Premier League on Saturday when they travel to face champions Leicester City at the King Power Stadium.

Antonio Conte's side are the favourites to succeed the Foxes as champions of England, but Leicester have shown an upturn in form recently and will be looking to pull off the type of shock that defined their memorable 2015-16 campaign.


Claudio Ranieri watches on during the Premier League game between Bournemouth and Leicester City on December 13, 2016© SilverHub

Twelve months ago there were 12 places and 17 points separating these two sides in the Premier League table, with Leicester sitting second in the standings and defending champions Chelsea languishing down in 14th place.

Not only have the roles reversed this season, but the gap has also significantly grown, with Leicester sitting in 15th position, 14 places and a whopping 28 points below leaders Chelsea - a 45-point swing between the two clubs.

While Chelsea's fine form has played a major part in that, it is also a sign of how quickly Leicester have fallen since their scarcely-believable run to the title last term, with the Foxes unsurprisingly having broken Chelsea's 2015-16 record for the worst start to a title defence in Premier League history.

At this stage of the previous campaign, talk of a genuine title challenge was beginning to grow from a wishful fairytale to a very real possibility, with Leicester having already reached the 40-point mark that had been set out for them by Claudio Ranieri.

Safety, then, was all but guaranteed 20 matches into the 2015-16 season, but the same cannot be said this time around and Leicester remain only six points clear of the bottom three as things stand.

Things have improved recently for the Foxes, though, with just one defeat in their last five matches in all competitions and back-to-back Premier League clean sheets for the first time since April.

Leicester have recent experience of beating title hopefuls too courtesy of their 4-2 triumph over Manchester City last month, although since that memorable result they have managed just one win in their five league outings.

The visit of Ranieri's former side does not come at the perfect time for Leicester, then, but they do at least boast home advantage, which has proved to be key for the Foxes this season. Eighteen of their 21 points having come in front of their own fans, including all five of their victories and only two defeats.

Indeed, stretching back to last season Leicester have only lost two of their last 25 Premier League games at the King Power Stadium, although both of those defeats have come in their five most recent outings.

With Manchester United and Liverpool to come in their next two home games after this, Leicester will do well to maintain that impressive record in front of their own fans, but if they taught us anything last season then it is that they can never be counted out.

Recent form: WLDLWD
Recent form (all competitions): LDLWDW


Chelsea manager Antonio Conte gesticulates on the touchline during his side's Premier League clash with Hull City at the KCOM Stadium on October 1, 2016© SilverHub

Chelsea fans will not have particularly fond memories of the King Power Stadium, despite having won there once already this season in the EFL Cup.

It was in the corresponding fixture last term that Chelsea fell to their ninth defeat from the opening 16 games of their title defence, with Riyad Mahrez's curling finish into the top corner ultimately bringing an end to Jose Mourinho's second stint at the club on a sodden evening in Leicester.

The mood on that occasion very much matched the weather, but nowadays things are looking a lot brighter for Chelsea as they bid for a fifth Premier League title.

It looked as though it could be an unstoppable charge to the trophy during their record-equalling 13-match winning streak, which saw them pick up a maximum 39 points from 39 between the start of October and the end of December.

However, while 2016 ended perfectly, Chelsea were unable to pick up where they left off in the New Year and saw their title hopes suffer a setback as Dele Alli's brace halted their run in a 2-0 win for Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane.

Chelsea's previous form ensured that they had a cushion to soften the blow of any negative results, though, and draws for both Liverpool and Arsenal lessened the impact of the defeat to leave them still five points clear at the top of the Premier League table.

The Blues have since returned to winning ways with a 4-1 triumph over Peterborough United in the third round of the FA Cup, and if they are able to do the same in the Premier League then they could move eight points ahead of the chasing pack depending on results elsewhere, with Liverpool and Manchester City not in action until Sunday.

Despite their defeat at White Hart Lane, Chelsea still boast the best away record in the Premier League this season with 22 points from a possible 30, while no team has conceded fewer goals on the road. Indeed, Chelsea have let in just three goals in their last seven away league games.

Conte will be urging his side to prove that the loss to Spurs was merely a blip, and the fact that they are currently nine points better off than eventual champions Leicester were at the same stage of last season should be comforting reading for any fans worried by the White Hart Lane defeat.

Recent form: WWWWWL
Recent form (all competitions): WWWWLW

Team News

Chelsea's John Terry during the EFL Cup match between Chelsea and Bristol Rovers at Stamford Bridge on August 23, 2016© SilverHub

Chelsea skipper John Terry is unavailable after seeing his appeal against the red card he received during the FA Cup clash with Peterborough turned down.

The only other fitness doubt for the visitors surrounds Marcos Alonso, who is struggling with a muscle injury but is still expected to be fit to start.

Should the wing-back not be available then the recently-recalled Nathan Ake could get an early chance to impress Conte.

A number of high-profile players are expected to return having been rested in the FA Cup, including N'Golo Kante against his former club.

The Premier League's top scorer Diego Costa will lead the line having had a hand in 11 goals in his last 11 league away games, scoring nine and creating two more.

Leicester will have Jamie Vardy available after he became a father at the weekend, while Andy King is expected to overcome a bout of illness to feature.

Mahrez, Islam Slimani and Daniel Amartey are all away at the Africa Cup of Nations, though, while Leonardo Ulloa is a doubt with a thigh injury and Jeffrey Schlupp is unlikely to be included having been told that he is free to leave the club this month.

Leicester possible starting lineup:
Schmeichel; Simpson, Morgan, Huth, Fuchs; Albrighton, Mendy, King, Gray; Musa, Vardy

Chelsea possible starting lineup:
Courtois; Azpilicueta, Luiz, Cahill; Moses, Matic, Kante, Alonso; Pedro, Costa, Hazard

Head To Head

Leicester's victory in the corresponding fixture last season is their only triumph over Chelsea in their last 12 meetings across all competitions, with the London club running out winners on 10 occasions during that time.

It is also the only time in their last five visits to Leicester that Chelsea have failed to win, with two of those victories - in 2002 and 2004 - coming during Ranieri's time in charge at Stamford Bridge.

These two sides have already faced each other twice this season, with Chelsea running out 4-2 winners at the King Power in the EFL Cup in September before a 3-0 Premier League triumph at Stamford Bridge a month later.

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We say: Leicester 1-2 Chelsea

Leicester have been a lot more impressive at home than they have on their travels this season and they will be hoping for a similar display to the one that saw them dispatch of Manchester City last month. However, Chelsea have set a relentless pace in recent times and have been good on the road themselves, so we can see them bouncing back from the Spurs defeat and returning to winning ways this weekend.

Claudio Ranieri surveys the pitch ahead of the Premier League game between Sunderland and Leicester City on April 10, 2016
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