Leicester vs Chelsea – Analysis, Prediction, Team News
Saturday 11th March 2023
King Power Stadium
As part of our weekend Premier League predictions, we take a look at Chelsea’s visit to the King Power Stadium. Chelsea have won two games in a row for the first time since October – have they turned the corner? Read on with our Leicester vs Chelsea prediction.
Leicester vs Chelsea Match Preview
Leicester come into this game in poor form. Indeed, the Foxes have lost their previous three games and failed to register a single goal in that run. Defeats at Old Trafford and to league leaders Arsenal were disappointing enough but perhaps expected. However, we backed them to beat Southampton at St Mary’s last weekend, yet they lost 1-0. It was maybe a harsh result, as Leicester had 65 per cent possession, 11 shots, and an xG of 2.09. However, this game typifies their season – plenty of performances where they have control and chances but cannot convert. Indeed, they had the same problem at 0-0 at Old Trafford. Coach Brendan Rodgers is under pressure.
Leicester sit 15th in the Premier League table, with 24 points from 25 games. We don’t think they will get relegated, but they are being dragged back into the pack after flirting with it in recent weeks and months. With 43 goals conceded, they have the third-worst defensive record in the league and seem especially vulnerable from set pieces. They have only won three games at the King Power this season – only last week’s opponents Southampton have won fewer at home. Therefore, Leicester need up pick up points fast.
Chelsea travel to the East Midlands knowing their season has been far from good enough. Indeed, they have only won three of their last sixteen games in the league. This record is appalling for a club with Chelsea’s resources and recent history. They have only scored three goals in their last seven games, which is unacceptable. They are 10th in the table with 34 points; it will be unlikely to qualify for Europe through their league position.
However, some optimistic signs exist for the under-pressure coach Graham Potter. First, underlying stats show that Chelsea have been dominating many opponents on this poor run; they just haven’t been able to convert their chances. The victory over Leeds last weekend was their first win in six. A 2-0 success followed it at home to Dortmund in the Champions League midweek (overturning Chelsea’s 1-0 defeat in Germany in the first leg). Hence, things might be improving, though it is too early to tell. Chelsea have only won three away from home in the league and will hope to improve that stat here.
Injuries and Suspensions
Might Not Play: Evans, Barnes
Will Not Play: Bertrand, Justin, Kristiansen, Tielemans
Might Not Play: Azpilicueta, Mount
Will Not Play: Mendy, Silva, Kante, Broja
Leicester vs Chelsea Lineups (Predicted)
Leicester (4-2-3-1 / 4-3-3): Ward; Castagne, Faes, Souttar, Pereira; Dewsbury-Hall, Mendy; Barnes, Maddison, Tete; Iheanacho
Chelsea (3-4-3): Arrizabalaga; Cucurella, Badiashile, Fofana; Chilwell, Kovacic Fernandez, James; Felix, Havertz, Sterling
Leicester vs Chelsea Analysis
Both Sides Like To Pass And Keep Possession
Both these sides like to keep the ball and pass around in midfield. Indeed, Chelsea have averaged 59 per cent possession in the league this season. This style moves away from the counter-attacking type that Chelsea were known for under the likes of Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte. They are still wrestling with how to finish well. Leicester have kept the ball 50 per cent of the time. While this might seem average, in a league where many teams play counter-attack, it shows that Leicester are adept at maintaining possession. Both sides are also high up for completed passes. Chelsea have over 12,500 and Leicester 10,600. Hence, both like to build play from the back and in midfield.
Given the stats above, it is difficult to say what the game’s flow might be. Leicester have home advantage, but Chelsea have superior possession and passing stats and tend to take the initiative against most sides they play. Therefore, Leicester could be breaking on transitions reasonably often here. Kovacic and Fernandez must build play, as must the three centre-backs and James and Chilwell from wing-back. It will be up to Dewsbury-Hall and Mendy to cut out passing lanes and try to press and win the ball, so Leicester can break. When Leicester have the ball, the Chelsea midfielders must be equally industrious. We anticipate Chelsea having more of the ball but not to an extreme degree.
How The Teams Might Attack
Chelsea have had better results in the previous two games. Therefore, we see them attacking from wing-back with the pace and trickery of Chilwell and James. The latter, especially, is one of if not the best right-back in the country. His raiding up and down the line and ability to deliver crosses or shoot could prove dividends. He is a good defender usually, too, so his ability to track and front up Barnes on Leicester’s left could be crucial. Cucurella could also supplement Chilwell from the left-centre back channel, as the Spaniard is a natural left-back.
In Sterling, Felix, and Havertz, Chelsea have a talented attacking trio that can score goals against any side on their day. Havertz will play the false nine role – necessitated by Chelsea having no strikers. He will drop deeper and link with the other two and the wing-backs to find gaps between the Leicester lines and weave pretty patterns with the ball. His goal midweek will help him. Sterling and Felix are both speedy and great dribblers, and Felix has that magic where he can create something from nothing. Chelsea should be scoring more goals with this front three, the wing-backs, and Kovacic and Fernandez knitting play in midfield. They also have some depth, with Pulisic, Ziyech, and Mudryk available off the bench.
As stated, Leicester will play more on transitions though there will be moments where they will be in the ascendancy. We don’t see them being pinned back and playing in an ultra-low block – it is not their game, and their fans would not accept it at home. The loss of Tielemans is a blow, as he has been vital in making them tick and facilitating their possession play. However, Maddison being back recently may give them more cutting edge as he gets up to speed. Regular readers will know we are big fans of the Englishman – he is very creative with his dribbling, passing, shooting, and football intelligence. He is crucial if Leicester are to have a fruitful end to the season.
Hence, between Maddison, Dewsbury-Hall’s ball-carrying ability, the offensive prowess of Castagne and the returning Pereira from full-back (Kristiansen is injured), and Barnes and Tete’s trickery and dribbling on the wings, Leicester do carry a threat in most games. The trick for them is being able to convert the chances they create. They have been rather wasteful at times this season, though they have outperformed their xG stats on other occasions. XG can be a flawed statistic sometimes, and Leicester do seem like a team who (through the eye test) miss several good chances. Therefore, if Iheanacho gets an opportunity, he must take it. Leicester can bring on Praet, Daka, or Vardy for extra positivity.
This game is one where any of the three results are realistic, and much will depend on how each team performs on the day. Truthfully, with the players they have, Rodgers should be getting more out of his personnel, and Leicester should not be so low down the table. However, they are, and they must start winning more games, particularly at the King Power. Chelsea’s win over Leeds last week and their overturning of the Dortmund tie in midweek (where they scored two goals in a game for the first time since December) should give them confidence and a platform to build on.
We will have to wait and see if this is a false dawn for Chelsea, but they will be determined to continue winning. Leicester have Maddison back, but without Tielemans, they are weakened again. They have had injury problems all season. We were tempted to predict a 1-1 draw, believing this could be the result. It still might be. However, we are going to give Chelsea the benefit of the doubt. They have been creating and squandering chances recently, but they have an abundance of talented attackers. If their players click, they can score goals. We think they can emerge from the King Power with a narrow win, further compounding Leicester’s home problems.
Leicester 1-2 Chelsea
Leicester vs Chelsea Betting Tip – Chelsea Odds:
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