Leicester v Chelsea: Upset likely as the Blues visit the King Power stadium without key player
Claudio Ranieri’s Leicester City hosts Chelsea at the King Power stadium on Saturday evening in Game week 21.
Diego Costa did not travel with the Chelsea team after a row with the coaching staff.
The striker has reportedly become ‘unsettled’ after he was the subject of a £30m-per-year offer from a club in the Chinese Super League and has not made the trip to the Midlands after a disagreement with Antonio Conte and two fitness coaches.
He will therefore not play a part as the Blues look to get their Premier League campaign back on a winning track, with the Italian manager – who won the Premier League Manager of the Month award for December targeting three points.
“It’s a big game. We started January with a loss against Tottenham, which was a pity because I think the game was well balanced,” Conte told the club website.
“But now we have a tough game at Leicester and it’s important to restart a good run in the Premier League, we must play with great concentration.”
Leicester face considerable better news as new signing Wilfred N’didi could make his second start for the club after making his debut in the FA Cup win over Everton last weekend, just days after completing his move from Genk.
He is now set to feature in the league for the first time, with Foxes manager Claudio Ranieri saying: “I’m sure he’ll get better because the more he plays, the more he will understand the team.”
Leicester’s victory at Goodison Park was their first domestic win away from home this season.
They start the weekend 15th on the table, 28 points behind Chelsea, who will be looking to bounce back from their defeat at Tottenham last time out.
While Ndidi is set to make his league debut for Leicester, Leonardo Ulloa is out with a muscular problem.
Andy King and Jamie Vardy are available after training this week, but Riyad Mahrez, Islam Slimani and Daniel Amartey are at the Africa Cup of Nations.
John Terry is suspended and Conte has some injury doubts for the trip to the King Power Stadium.
Terry was unsuccessful in an appeal over his dismissal against Peterborough in the FA Cup and his place on the substitutes’ bench could go to Nathan Ake, who has been recalled from his loan at Bournemouth.
Conte made nine changes for the FA Cup win over Peterborough and is likely to revert to his first-choice line up.
Key Opta stats:
Leicester have won just one of their last nine Premier League games against Chelsea, though it came in this exact fixture last season (D1 L7).
Indeed, Chelsea have won three of their last four visits in the Premier League to Leicester (L1), with two of those wins masterminded by Ranieri in 2002 and 2004.
Despite winning the league last season, Claudio Ranieri’s Premier League win percentage was better at Chelsea (52 percent) than it currently is at Leicester City (48 per cent).
Chelsea have made the fewest changes to their starting line-up overall this season (19), although 10 of these have come in the last five matches.
Chelsea won more Premier League games in December (six) than Leicester City have
done all season (five).
An upset looks likely here
PREDICTION: LEICESTER 2-1 CHELSEA