Leicester v Chelsea: Can the Foxes pull off another shock at the King Power?
Holly Thackeray | 14 January 2017
Tempting Leicester v Chelsea odds for a Foxes shock
Is the fairytale truly over for the Foxes? Reigning Premier League champions Leicester City are now sat an uncomfortable 15th in the English top division, six points from the relegation places, having fumbled their title defence disappointingly.
Few expected Claudio Ranieri’s army to repeat their spectacular, history-making performance from 2016, but nor were the Foxes supposed to fold so emphatically.
That is the dominant narrative, anyway. But, is there still promise in Leicester’s campaign yet? And can that change come against Chelsea, the main pretenders to the Foxes’ throne?
Knowing what Ranieri’s troops are capable of and, with some great odds on offer for a characteristic Leicester shock, Coral writers look at the best bets and reasons for backing them on Saturday…
Vocal home backingLeicester’s fans were tremendous last term as their team stormed to unlikely success, and the Foxes’ fans still put on a show when visitors come to town.
It’s no wonder then that, despite an overall lacklustre season so far, the Leicestershire side have still been beaten just twice at the King Power Stadium in PL games.
So, the Foxes still have their fortress. Can the Blues (4/6 favourites) knock it down? Odds of 9/2 say that instead the East Midlands outfit will prevail.
Big-guns bring out the best in Ranieri and coA key part in Leicester’s magical run last term, was their ability to beat or stall the big-guns, making it a complete underdog tale.
The Foxes hadn’t been shy about spending money to stay in England’s top tier, but their riches fail to compare with the true elite.
Yet, on their triumphant surge to the title, the King Power club stormed to successes over all of Chelsea, Tottenham, Liverpool and Manchester City at least once, while also picking points off Manchester United.
Next guests the Blues did dominate Leicester at Stamford Bridge earlier this season, but failed on two attempts to get past them last term. A draw is 14/5 to come off.
Kante well known at King Power
It is a first return to the King Power for N’Golo Kante, aside from an EFL Cup clash in which he failed to get off the bench, since his summer switch to the blue team in London.
And, it goes without saying that the energetic midfielder is well known down Filbert Way and Ranieri will surely hope to silence his former protege on the pitch. If anyone knows how to keep a lid on the enforcer, it is the Italian tactician that helped propel him to such heights.
Ranieri spoke recently of Kante’s time at Stamford Bridge, stating: “I’m not surprised at how well he’s done at Chelsea, but he could play better with us.
“Here he was better suited. He was our battery.”
If the Roman can limit Kante, would still doesn’t boast a perfect partner at the Blues, there is room for a scrap in the middle of the park – and one that Leicester could win.
Chelsea formula found out?League One Peterborough United could do little to stem the tide as Chelsea hammered their FA Cup third round opponents midweek, but before that London rivals Spurs inflicted a deep wound as they beat the Blues on their own patch.
In that 2-0 result, Tottenham tactician Mauricio Pochettino nullified Antonio Conte’s wing backs and forwards and congested the middle of the pitch.
Once a system has been beaten, doubts and cracks can creep in. So, Ranieri will be aiming to match his Spurs counterpart by producing another trick from up his sleeve to stop Chelsea. It now appears a not-so daunting task, and there is a nifty 9/1 price for Leicester to win and both teams score.
FA Cup success could start somethingFinally, the Foxes tend to do best when underestimated, with their backs against the wall. As both Riyad Mahrez and Islam Slimani are bound for the Africa Cup of Nations, chances look stacked against them.
But, as they proved last time out in the FA Cup, as the Foxes fought back from 1-0 down to win 2-1 thanks to a brace from Ahmed Musa (14/5 to net again anytime) it is always wrong to underestimate them.
Chelsea are a different kettle of fish to the Toffees but, with speedster Jamie Vardy (13/5) back from a ban and undoubtedly seeking to expose the Blues’ backline with his pace, anything could happen.