In-form Leicester entertain under-fire Chelsea on Tuesday night at the King Power Stadium. Mark O'Haire shares his favourite fancy...
"When taking on teams in 11th and above, the capital club have managed just one victory in eight this term (W1-D4-L3) with all four of their away wins arriving against the bottom-six"
Leicester v Chelsea
Tuesday January 19, 20:15
Leicester cement top-four place
Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers challenged his side to "disrupt the Premier League hierarchy" after a 2-1 win over Newcastle in their last league outing and the Foxes maintained their top-four credentials with a 2-0 success in a keenly contested encounter over Southampton on Saturday night at King Power Stadium.
James Maddison fired in from a tight angle after 37 minutes, before Harvey Barnes added a second deep into second-half stoppage-time. A patched up Southampton had dominated in the opening stages but could not find a way past Kasper Schmeichel before Rodgers' group grew into the game with lively pair Barnes and Maddison orchestrating City's offence.
Unlike last season's post-Christmas collapse, the Foxes are yet to show signs of falling away, although the sight of Jamie Vardy appearing to limp off as he was replaced by Kelechi Iheanacho in the final minutes is a concern ahead of Tuesday night's tussle. Dennis Praet is the only confirmed absentee with Ricardo Pereira and Caglar Soyuncu available again.
Chelsea fail to impress at Fulham
Frank Lampard says his Chelsea side "can't think everything is solved" after labouring their way to a narrow 1-0 victory against 10-man Fulham on Saturday evening. Antonee Robinson was sent off late in the first half for the Cottagers for a dangerous tackle on Cesar Azpilicueta, with Mason Mount grabbing the decisive strike 12 minutes from time.
Mount - who earlier hit the bar - proved the match-winner with a half-volley after Alphonse Areola flapped at Ben Chilwell's cross. Overall, 10 different players had attempts at goal for the Blues in a tempestuous contest, but the visitors were wasteful in front of goal with Lampard suggesting, he wasn't "blown away with the performance" of his side.
Hakim Ziyech returned to Premier League action, whilst Olivier Giroud and Antonio Rudiger were preferred as Lampard called for "experience and personality". Substitute Timo Werner had a glorious chance to end his Premier League goal drought - going back to early November - late on but the German slotted wide at the end of a counter-attack.
Premier League meetings between Leicester and Chelsea have tended to be tight affairs. Both of last season's league contests ended all-square, as have four of the duos past six head-to-head encounters in this competition. Meanwhile, the Foxes have posted a solitary success in eight home league outings against the Blues over the past 20 years (W1-D2-L5).
Leicester 3.2011/5 have lost just once in the Premier League since the beginning of November (W5-D2-L1) although Brendan Rodgers' team haven't often been pulling up trees. The Foxes have W1-D1-L3 at home to top-half teams and generated bottom-half figures for non-penalty Expected Goals (npxG), as well as shots attempted from inside the penalty box.
Chelsea 2.427/5 went top of the table on 5 December after beating Leeds but Saturday's unconvincing triumph against Fulham was only the Blues' second since (W2-D1-L4). When taking on teams in 11th and above, the capital club have managed just one victory in eight this term (W1-D4-L3) with all four of their away wins arriving against the bottom-six.
Curiously, both Leicester and Chelsea's Premier League matches are both averaging the same 3.00 goals per-game return thus far, with the pair also posting the same 11/18 (61%) success rate for Over 2.5 Goals 1.865/6. The two teams are also returning a 5/9 (56%) Over 2.5 Goals hit-rate when viewing their respective home/away fixtures this season.
Goal trends for either side dip when taking on elite opposition - the Blues managing a sole goal in five fixtures with top-six rivals, for example - and so it could pay to keep the Foxes onside in a relatively-low scoring showdown.
Leicester Double Chance and Under 4.5 Goals pays 1.758/11 on the Same Game Multi and has proven a regular profit-maker in Chelsea's away trips, as well as their clashes with the division's leading lights.
Mark's 2020/21 Profit/Loss
Staked: 80.00 pts
Returned: 81.39 pts
P/L: +1.39 pts