Premier League Preview and Prediction: Chelsea vs Leicester City

Competition: Premier League – Chelsea FC vs. Leicester City FC

Venue: Stamford Bridge – Saturday, October 15 – 12:30 BST (07:30 ET) 

Match Odds: Chelsea 4/7 – Draw 16/5 – Leicester 9/2

Match Preview

Chelsea welcome champions Leicester to Stamford Bridge on Saturday in the opening game of the Premier League fixtures this weekend.

The Blues are clearly still in a rebuilding phase after last season. They have looked inconsistent and vulnerable in a number of games already.

Antonio Conte’s side won 2-0 away at Hull in their last Premier League outing, three points they desperately needed, having lost their previous two games.

Chelsea are already a way off the pace in the title race. They’re sitting 7th, five points off the top and three outside of the top four.

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Leicester City are also in a run of unfavourable form. They have won just two of their seven games this season and are just four points above the relegation zone.

The Foxes have struggled against the so-called ‘big sides’ this season and have failed to pick up points in games they seemed to breeze through in their title-winning campaign.

Claudio Ranieri’s side come into this one having drawn 0-0 against Southampton. Although Leicester are performing well in the Champions League, they are struggling to relay that form domestically.

Leicester have to see this as a tie they can pick up a positive result in. Chelsea conceded twice in their last league game at Stamford Bridge and have looked shaky defensively.

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Team News

Chelsea are expected to be handed a defensive boost with the return of their captain John Terry. Kurt Zouma and John Obi Mikel are both expected to be out, while Victor Moses is a doubt. Willian is unavailable for selection due the passing of his mother this week.

Leicester City’s squad is in good shape for this tie. They are only expecting to be without Matthew James, so Claudio Ranieri has the luxury of a strong bench regardless of what starting XI he selects.

Key Points

Chelsea’s last five: W/D/L/L/W

Leicester’s last five: W/L/W/L/D

Key Stat: These two sides have been inconsistent in their last five games, picking up the same amount of points (7).

Key Player: Diego Costa – The Premier League’s leading goal scorer this season has been in fine form. Costa has netted six times

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Score Prediction

Chelsea 1-1 Leicester – Chelsea to come unstuck at home once again. They are looking far better than last season but defensive problems are there for all to see. Leicester need to begin picking up points to avoid being drawn into a rut of form. This would be a good result for Ranieri’s side, who posses the ability to damage Chelsea on the counter attack.

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Premier League Preview and Prediction: Hull City vs Leicester City

Competition: Premier League – Hull City AFC vs. Leicester City FC

Venue: KCOM Stadium – Saturday, August 13 – 12:30 BST (07:30 ET)

Match Odds: Hull 3/1 – Draw 12/5 – Leicester 19/20

Match Preview

Hull City welcome reigning champions Leicester City to KCOM Stadium on Saturday afternoon as the 2016/17 Premier League season flies into action after a break of almost three months.

It’s been a busy summer of international action and transfer dealings but all eyes will focus back onto what matters most on Saturday – the on-field action.

Hull are back in the top flight after bouncing straight back up from the Championship last term. However, they enter the opening game without a manager, any new signings and several injury worries.

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Caretaker manager Mike Phelan has a tough job on his hands to get anything from Saturday’s game but the Tigers’ fans will be buzzing at the prospect of seeing their side back in the bigtime, so a great atmosphere is expected.

Leicester begin their most unlikely title defence as heavy favourites on Saturday, with Claudio Ranieri’s men the first league champions to open the new season.

It’s been a mixed preseason for the Foxes, who enjoyed wins over minnows Oxford United and Nuneaton Town before heavy losses to PSG and Barcelona.

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They lost last weekend’s FA Community Shield 2-1 to Manchester United but will now be fully focused on proving to everyone that last season’s league success was no one-off.

This will be just the third time these sides have ever met in the Premier League. They faced off twice in the 2014/15 campaign, with Leicester winning 1-0 at Hull thanks to a Riyad Mahrez goal, before they then drew 0-0 at the King Power Stadium.

Claudio Ranieri will earn his 100th Premier League win as a manager if the Foxes can seal the victory on Saturday in a game they are expected to dominate.

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Team News

Hull City are facing a bit of a crisis before a ball has even been kicked. They are without a permanent manager and have a host of first-team stars sidelined through injury. Defenders Michael Dawson, Moses Odubajo and Alex Bruce are all ruled out, along with goalkeeper Alan McGregor. Harry Maguire is a doubt and looks set to miss this one, while Shaun Maloney has a higher chance of playing but may also fall short of a place in the starting lineup.

Leicester will begin life without N’Golo Kante here and it will be intriguing to see how much the Frenchman’s departure affects them on Saturday. Claudio Ranieri has no injury worries, however Robert Huth will miss the game through suspension, so new signing Luis Hernandez is expected to fill the void at the back alongside Wes Morgan. Ahmed Musa will be hoping to make his Premier League debut but faces a battle with Shinji Okazaki for a starting berth.

Key Points

Hull City’s last five: N/A

Leicester’s last five: N/A

Key Stat: This is the first time the Premier League Champions have ever kicked off the new season. The reigning victors have never lost on the opening weekend in 23 years (W19 D4).

Key Player: Jamie Vardy – The Foxes star striker took the league by storm last season and will be looking to hit the ground running this term as Leicester set out to show last year’s feats were no fluke. Vardy bagged a goal in the Community Shield last weekend and looks primed to hurt the Tigers’ defence on Saturday.

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Score Prediction

Hull 0-2 Leicester – The Foxes should prove to have more bite than the Tigers on Saturday, with a host of injuries doing Hull little in the way of help ahead of what was already a really tricky opener. Leicester proved tough to break down last term and will hope to start the new season with a clean sheet and a fairly comfortable away win to set the tone for their title-chasing rivals.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Leicester vs West Ham

Competition: Major League Soccer – Leicester City vs. West Ham United

Venue: King Power Stadium – Sunday, April 17 – 13:30 BST (08:30 ET)

Match Odds: Leicester 17/20 – Draw 13/5 – West Ham 16/5

Match Preview

Leicester welcome West Ham to the King Power Stadium on Sunday afternoon as the Foxes look to take another huge stride towards an astonishing Premier League title.

Claudio Ranieri’s men picked up a fifth-straight league win by beating Sunderland 2-0 last weekend and remain seven points clear of Tottenham with five games to play. The Foxes need three more wins to claim the title.

Leicester will be confident heading into Sunday’s game. They have not only won five in a row, but have kept five consecutive clean sheets too – all while playing under intense pressure at the top of the table.

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Their turnaround this season has been simply magical and another win on Sunday would move them ten points clear off Spurs, who don’t play until Monday night.

West Ham will travel to Leicester looking to do London rivals Tottenham a huge favour. However, they are still fighting for their own objective, with a top four place far from out of the question.

The Hammers crashed out of the FA Cup in their quarterfinal replay against Manchester United on Wednesday night but will now look to bounce back with what would be a highly impressive victory should they pull it off.

Slaven Bilic’s men are just five points behind Manchester City in fourth place heading into the weekend and cannot give up on their Champions League dream just yet.

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Leicester won the reverse fixture 2-1 back in August before beating the Hammers by the same scoreline after extra time at home in the third round of the League Cup in September.

West Ham have not beaten the Foxes away from home in the Premier League since 2000, so a win here would come as a major surprise.

Team News

Leicester have no injury concerns heading into another huge game for them as they close in on a historic Premier League title. However, Matthew James is unlikely to make the squad as he is short of match fitness. Shinji Okazaki will hope to continue to start in place of Leonardo Ulloa alongside Jamie Vardy in attack.

West Ham have no fresh injury concerns ahead of Sunday’s game. Sam Byram is still out, so Michail Antonio will likely continue at right-back, while Diafra Sakho is a doubt and is unlikely to feature. Andy Carroll should continue to spearhead the attack after netting a hat-trick in his last league outing.

Key Points

Leicester’s last five: W/W/W/W/W

West Ham’s last five: W/W/D/D/D

Key Stat: Leicester have kept a clean sheet in seven of their last eight home games in the Premier League and come into the game off the back of five-straight shutouts.

Key Player: Dimitri Payet – While Leicester are favourites to win this game, West Ham have one of the league’s most dangerous players at their disposal. Payet has contributed to seven goals in his last seven appearances and has now created 94 chances for teammates this season – an average of 3.8 per game.

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Score Prediction

Leicester 1-1 West Ham – Leicester have been flying of late and look unstoppable. However, West Ham have enjoyed a wonderful season of their own and will arrive at the King Power Stadium looking to spoil the party, while enhancing their own hopes of Champions League qualification. This could be a hard-fought battle and West Ham could well end Leicester’s five-game win streak, adding excitement to the title race before Spurs play on Monday night.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Watford vs Leicester City

Competition: Premier League – Watford FC Vs. Leicester City FC

Venue: Vicarage Road – Saturday, March 5 – 17:30 GMT (12:30 ET)

Match Odds: Watford 2/1 – Draw 23/10 – Leicester City 7/5

Match Preview

Watford host Premier League leaders Leicester City on Saturday evening, in a crucial fixture for the visitors at the top of the table.

Leicester could be behind Tottenham by the time this one kicks off, so the Foxes will be looking for all three points in what looks a tough game.

Watford have struggled in recent weeks, having picked up just one league win in their last five, and have fallen out of the top half as a result. But they are a tough side to break down and are only three points from getting back into the top ten, which is testament to how solid they’ve been this season.

Quique Sanchez Flores’s side come into this one off the back of the 1-0 defeat at Manchester United on Wednesday night. They were unlucky to lose that match late on but home comforts will increase their chances of success this time around.

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Striking duo Odion Ighalo and Troy Deeney have mustered up just one goal at home since the turn of the year. So they need to find their feet if Watford are to recapture their form during the final stretch of the campaign.

Leicester City played out a 2-2 draw with West Brom on Tuesday night, which at the time didn’t seem great, but results on Wednesday suggest the point was certainly a valuable one, as their title rivals failed to deliver. Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester City all lost and so the Foxes remain at the top of the table heading into the weekend.

Leicester are able to solely focus on the league as they are out of the FA Cup and have no European commitments. They have five more games to play away from home, with tricky trips to Chelsea and Manchester United still to come.

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They do, however, have the best away record in the top flight and will hope to keep that intact with three points on Saturday.

Jamie Vardy is still the league’s top scorer and would love to find the net against Watford again just as in did in the corresponding fixture, which saw the Foxes win 2-1 at the King Power Stadium in November.

Team News

Watford look set to be without Jose Manuel Jurado, Joel Ekstrand and Tommy Hoban as all three are injured. Nathan Ake will hope to return at left-back after missing the defeat at United on Wednesday.

Leicester City will continue to be without key midfielder N’Golo Kante, who suffered a hamstring injury against Arsenal three weeks ago. Andy King is expected to deputise as he did against West Brom. Matty James is also out. Shinji Okazaki will hope to start ahead of Leonardo Ulloa once more.

Key Points

Watford’s last five:  D/L/W/D/L

Leicester City’s last five: W/W/L/W/D

Key Stat: Watford have only lost at home to Leicester once in seven games at Vicarage Road.

Key Player: Troy Deeney – The Hornets captain will be out to inflict damage on a title-chasing Leicester side here. He scored the vital goal in the incredible 2013 playoff semifinal clash between the two and would love to be the man to hurt the Foxes again. Deeney could even get himself into the England national team picture with Wayne Rooney injured.

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Score Prediction 

Watford 1-1 Leicester City – This will be a tough game for title-chasing Leicester as Watford are a tough nut to crack and often shut out opponents very well. The Foxes might need a moment of magic to seal three points but it’s too tight to call, so a score draw is the most likely result.

2014/15 Premier League Season Review: Leicester City

Premier League Final Position: 14th

Review

Leicester City produced arguably the greatest escape in Premier League history this season as they avoided relegation despite being seven points behind 17th placed Sunderland after 29 games, having also recorded just four wins at the time. The astonishing run of seven wins from their last nine games (D1, L1) will live long in the memory of Leicester fans and football fans alike as an emotional rollercoaster of a journey eventually concluded with them winning in fine style on the last day of the season to see them finish six points clear of the drop.

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Podcast Review

Best Moment

The 3-2 win away at West Brom. The Foxes came into that after recording their first win in nine games at home to West Ham a week earlier and knew that they had to back it up with a positive result at The Hawthorns if they were to stand a chance of survival. Trailing 2-1 with ten minutes to go, it looked as though their season was all but over. But then a Robert Huth goal to draw it level, followed by an injury time winner from Jamie Vardy sent the away end into raptures. That was the moment that Leicester started to truly believe survival was a genuine possibility.

Worst Moment

Nigel Pearson holding Crystal Palace’s James McArthur by the throat during the 1-0 defeat at home to the Eagles. McArthur tangled in a challenge with Marc Albrighton on the touchline before accidentally falling onto Pearson and knocking the Leicester manager over. Pearson then proceeded to grab McArthur by the throat in a bizarre incident which led to speculation over his job and caused the club to be subjected to unnecessary negative media attention at a time when they needed it least.

Player of the Year

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Leonardo Ulloa – There were question marks over whether or not Ulloa could cut it in the Premier League after his move from Championship side Brighton in the summer, but he certainly delivered the goods with 11 goals and three assists from his 37 appearances.

Biggest Win

Leicester City 5-1 Queens Park Rangers (May 24, 2015)

Biggest Defeat

Chelsea 2-0 Leicester City (Aug 23, 2014)

Crystal Palace 2-0 Leicester City (Sep 27, 2014)

Swansea City 2-0 Leicester City (Oct 25, 2014)

Southampton 2-0 Leicester City (Nov 8, 2014)

Leicester City 1-3 Liverpool (Dec 2, 2014)

West Ham United 2-0 Leicester City (Dec 20, 2014)

Manchester United 3-1 Leicester City (Jan 31, 2015)

Manchester City 2-0 Leicester City (Mar 4, 2015)

Leicester City 1-3 Chelsea (29 Apr, 2015)

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What to improve for the 2015/16 season…

While Leicester’s survival will be rightly heralded as a huge success, relegation was a major concern throughout the course of the whole season and that was obviously down to lack of successful results. Pearson made it cleat that he believed they were putting in the performances but not getting the results and bemoaned the luck of his side. But you have to make your own luck in football and four wins from the first 29 games cannot be blamed entirely on luck. The Foxes cannot afford to do the same next time around as relying on an incredible end-of-season run to retain Premier League status is a dangerous game to play and it’s unlikely they’d be able to pull it off again.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Leicester vs Newcastle

Competition: Premier League – Leicester City vs. Newcastle United

Venue: King Power Stadium – Saturday, May 2nd – 12:45 BST (07:45 ET)

Match Odds: Leicester 10/11 – Draw 12/5 – Newcastle 3/1

Match Preview

Leicester face Newcastle in a crucial Premier League game at the King Power Stadium on Saturday lunchtime as both sides look to avoid relegation.

Before the 3-1 midweek defeat at home to Chelsea, the Foxes had been on an incredible four-game winning streak which has lifted them out of the relegation zone and could potentially be the run that saves their season.

Nigel Pearson has apologised for his strange behaviour towards a journalist in the post-match press conference following the Chelsea game, but he must immediately focus all attention back to the on-field matters to ensure his side return to winning ways.

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Leicester have scored 12 goals in their last six games, totalling one third of their entire goals tally in the Premier League this season. They come into this game in 17th place and one point above Sunderland in 18th who have a game in hand, so they will be desperate for victory to open up a four point gap.

Newcastle would’ve felt they were all but safe after a 1-0 win over Aston Villa at the end of February but two months and seven straight defeats later and they now find themselves in amongst the frantic end of season dog fight to steer clear of the drop.

The Magpies are a club very much in disarray with thousands of fans boycotting the game against Tottenham two weeks ago, as well as further protests towards club owner Mike Ashley dominating the headlines following the 3-2 defeat at home to Swansea last time out.

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An away fixture could well provide a welcome break from all the negativity surrounding the club, although they couldn’t have picked much harder opposition than Leicester right now – only Arsenal, Everton and Chelsea have picked up more points than the Foxes in the last five matches.

John Carver has managed just two wins from 15 (D3, L10) Premier League games in charge of the club and the Toon Army have been in freefall for a while now, leaving them in 14th position, just five points above the relegation zone.

Newcastle won the reverse fixture 1-0 at St James’ Park back in October, although Leicester gained revenge with a 1-0 victory of their own in the FA Cup third round over the Magpies in the most recent meeting between the two.

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Team News

Robert Huth and Andy King are both doubts for Leicester after they both left the field with injuries in midweek, while David Nugent remains out. Jeff Schlupp is available once again following a calf problem.

Newcastle will still be without top goalscorer Papiss Cisse as he serves the last match of his lengthy ban. Steven Taylor, Cheick Tiote, Massaido Haidara, Rolando Aarons and Rob Elliott are all out with injury. Moussa Sissoko will be available once again after missing the last two games through suspension, while Paul Dummett could return and Daryl Janmaat is trying to shake off an illness.

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Key Points

Leicester’s last five: W/W/W/W/L

Newcastle’s last five: L/L/L/L/L

Key Stat: Newcastle’s current run of seven straight losses is their worst run of consecutive league defeats since 1977 when they lost a club record of 10 games in a row between August and October.

Key Player: Jamie Vardy – The Englishman has scored some vital goals for the Foxes this season and is always an exciting player to watch. With Newcastle’s current defensive frailties, he could cause chaos.

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Score Prediction

Leicester City 2-1 Newcastle United – Leicester have been playing well recently and defeat to the champions-elect in midweek won’t be enough to disrupt the high confidence in the camp at the moment. They should edge one step closer to Premier League safety and heap further pressure on Newcastle who are flirting dangerously with the bottom of the table.