Leicester vs Chelsea preview, betting tips and prediction: Both teams to score in tight clash with away win favouredPublished September 06, 2017
Draw HT/Chelsea FT @ 7/2 with SkyBet
Exactly three goals in the game @ 3/1 with SkyBet
Chelsea to win and BTTS @ 5/2 with SkyBet
Chelsea head to Leicester on Saturday with the possibility of selecting the Foxes’ Premier League title winning midfield after Danny Drinkwater joined N’Golo Kante at Stamford Bridge on Transfer Deadline Day.
Craig Shakespeare acted quickly to ensure he wasn’t left short by signing the talented Portuguese midfielder Adrien Silva from Sporting Lisbon. Both he and Drinkwater could be in line to make their debuts in this game, and although Chelsea have recovered their form after such a disastrous start to the season with defeat at home to Burnley, Leicester have a lot of quality that can hurt them. Form would suggest an away win, because the Foxes have lost to both Arsenal and Manchester United so far this season. But they were well in the game on both occasions, particularly at Arsenal where they led 3-2 before eventually falling to a 4-3 loss, and perhaps home advantage could swing matters in their favour.
But Leicester set up to hit teams on the counter attack, and there is a reason Chelsea have signed both Kante and Drinkwater in the last year, because they fit into Antonio Conte’s system too. They provided a base, winning the ball and distributing it between them and allowing the likes of Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy to hit teams quickly in the available space. Chelsea will look to hold that same shape, only with the likes of Pedro, Willian and Alvaro Morata up ahead. It will be very hard for Leicester to get a foothold if they cannot get in behind, though they can play off Kelechi Iheanacho up front, and the young Nigerian will be able to bring players into play behind the midfield.
If both teams play the same system, that will likely end up in a stalemate for long periods. Our primary betting tip reflects this, backing Chelsea to win in the second half. As the goes on it will get more stretched, and the visitors’ higher levels of quality in the final third will prove the difference. But as already mentioned in the likes of Vardy, Mahrez and Iheanacho, Leicester will have enough firepower to snatch it themselves and that is why backing both teams to score could offer such good value.
Key battle: Riyad Mahrez vs Willian
Given the huge midfield battle that is likely to ensue, this game could really be won in the wide areas. Mahrez made no secret of his desire to leave Leicester on deadline day, but he remains at the King Power Stadium and could be a huge asset this season. He and Willian are slightly different players in that he can go on the outside and cut in, whereas the Brazilian prefers the latter, but they are both their team’s best hope of getting past the midfield. If they can get a run on the fullback, or wing-back in Mahrez’s case, they could have a lot of joy.
There will be space in behind Marcos Alonso, for example, and that could be Leicester’s key to getting out of Chelsea’s hold. But Willian was man of the match against Everton last time out in the place of the injured Eden Hazard, and he will look to make a similar impact here.