Chelsea vs Leicester Betting Preview

October 14, 2016 •

Saturday 15th October 12:30 GMT

chelsea leicesterThis column finds itself in the minority of football fans who actually enjoys the international break and lets out a bit of a sigh when the domestic leagues start again but, as Freddie Mercury once observed, the show must go on and first up this weekend we have the champions of the previous two seasons duking it out.

Chelsea have had a somewhat shaky start to their season under new manager, Antonio Conte. The Italian arrived with a near impeccable pedigree given his stints with Juventus and the Italian national team. At Juve, his success was built from the back, on the quite brilliant shoulders of Buffon, Chiellini, Barzagli and Bonucci. His current charges offer him nothing like those men in terms of skill and ability. Instead he must make use of a comedic troupe consisting of John Terry, David Luiz, Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic.

Back to the future

Terry has spent the last few weeks on the treatment table so Cahill and Luiz were paired at centre back with predictably calamitous results – in the three matches played following his injury, Chelsea failed to keep a clean sheet and conceded seven goals in games which included losses to both Liverpool and Arsenal. Enough was seemingly enough and for their last league match against Hull, Conte went back to what he knows best and played a three man defense with Ivanovic jettisoned in favour of Cesar Azpilicueta. Lo! and behold, Chelsea took the three points and kept a clean sheet. Blueprint for the future?

Leicester, too, have had a topsy-turvy season with most of their good days coming by way of their maiden voyage in the Champions League. The league table sees them level with Bournemouth and Watford on eight points after seven games. Weirdly for them, given last season’s heroics, they have a negative goal difference which points to issues at both ends of the pitch.

New priorities

None of this is terribly surprising, least of all, one suspects, to their manager, Claudio Ranieri. The chances of them surpassing their achievements of last season were probably a longer price than was initially given for them to be champions in the first place. Ranieri comes across as affable and easy-going but he is no fool and his magical journey with this team is leading them into the virgin territory of the CL, not an attempted replay of last season.

Chelsea have no CL football this season and qualification for it next season is the very least expected of Conte and his players. The Chelsea manager will feel the glowering presence of the club owner at his back and knows that his reputation will matter for little if his team doesn’t begin to perform as expected.

Conclusion

Chelsea’s need is more urgent, a win vital to keep them in touch with the leading pack. Anything less than three points will only add to the pressure on manager and players. Leicester are far from a busted shot and will test Chelsea’s new formation with the speed of Jamie Vardy and the power Islam Slimani but the bookies make Chelsea odds on favourites with MarathonBet offering the best price at 8/13. We’d normally leave it there but the draw at 17/5 from BetVictor and a Leicester win at 11/2 from Coral might tickle your fancy.

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