Leicester City vs Chelsea
It is a battle between the 2016 champions and the 2017 champions.
An intriguing Premier League contest between these two sides vie for the top four and a place in next season’s Champions League.
Unless either have an awful run between now and the end of the campaign, both Leicester City and Chelsea are surely assured of a place at European football top table next term.
But who will finish above the other? Can Leicester — with a fraction of Chelsea’s budget — sit above the West Londoners at the end of the season?
They certainly have a healthy eight-point advantage at the moment. Indeed, 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.
On that basis, it’s fair to expect Premier League highlights in this lunchtime kick-off.
Both teams comprise dynamic young players sprinkled with experience and it says much that Leicester will almost certainly be playing in the Champions League next season at the expense of the likes of Manchester United, Spurs and Arsenal.
Brendan Rodgers and his team have taken full advantage of the established heavyweight’s decline or transition and their third place in the Premier League standings is fully warranted.
Team news wise, Jamie Vardy is available after having featured as a substitute in midweek despite a recent glute problem, but Wes Morgan and Nampalys Mendy remain out.
There are extra incentives for a home win too.
On a personal note, Rodgers has never defeated the Blues as a manager, drawing seven and losing six in the 13 times he has faced them in all competitions.
Meanwhile, Leicester will have been gutted to miss out on a trip to Wembley and a chance to claim silverware following their last-gasp League Cup semi-final defeat in midweek. This fixture represents an ideal chance to bounce back quickly.
Despite their relatively progressive season, Frank Lampard remains unhappy with the mentality of his Chelsea team who appear unable to convincingly sweep opponents away while controlling matches.
Yet they are still more productive on the road than at Stamford Bridge.
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 round last weekend.
They will monitor striker Tammy Abraham who has an ankle injury, while Ruben Loftus-Cheek is back in training. But this game may come too soon for the midfielder, whose last competitive appearance came in a 0-0 draw away to Leicester last May.
When the sides met earlier in the campaign, it was a game of two halves as Leicester fought back to earn a 1-1 draw in what was Lampard‘s first home league match in charge.
Mason Mount’s early goal was cancelled out by Wilfred Ndidi and many people would expect the result to be similar this weekend.
Leicester, who was then managed by Claude Puel, won last season at Stamford Bridge with a solitary Vardy goal and held the West Londoners to a goalless draw on their own turf.
It was just over three years ago that Chelsea last defeated the Midlanders in the top flight.
It was on September 2017 when Alvaro Morata and former favourite N’Golo Kante scored the goals in a 2-1 win. Vardy was again on target for Leicester.
Chelsea did beat them at the King Power Stadium two years ago, however, en route to winning the FA Cup.
Overall, Chelsea have a clear edge. They have won 56 of their clashes with 26 Leicester victories and 33 draws.
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