Leicester City v Chelsea: Waiting for goals looks the way to go
The reigning Premier League champions play host to the current league leaders in a game which sees plenty of sub-plots come to the fore. Leicester City’s win over Chelsea in this fixture last season not only kept the Foxes on track for their maiden top flight title but it also signalled the end of Jose Mourinho’s time in charge. Again.
Add to that the intrigue of N’Golo Kante returning to his former club, plus the fact that it was the visitors who ultimately handed the Foxes their title victory last term with a draw against nearest challengers Tottenham, and there are plenty of talking points at the King Power.
Chelsea are unsurprisingly the favourites, despite a defeat to Spurs bringing their consecutive winning streak to a halt before they could break Arsenal’s record of 14, the away win is just 4/6 (1.67) with Paddy Power who go 9/2 (5.50) on the Foxes claiming a considerable scalp and the draw is 11/4 (3.75).
That 4/6 (1.67) is actually an industry best price at the time of writing and while Antonio Conte’s men are the most likely victors, there could be better spots to get involved rather than backing them at such a short price.
One thing this fixture usually brings is goals. Chelsea won 3-0 in the reverse game earlier this season while the two played out a pulsating EFL Cup clash on this ground a few months back which the Londoners eventually won 4-2 after extra time, having turned around a 2-0 deficit.
The last seven head-to-head meetings have seen 27 goals, an average of 3.85 per game and so over 2.5 goals here could be popular at 4/5 (1.80) but it’s the under 2.5 goals line at 10/11 (1.91) which is being backed in the run up to kick off.
That actually isn’t too surprising, Chelsea’s best attribute is their solid defence and although it’s been breached more regularly in recent weeks, they’re still a very solid outfit. Considering Claudio Ranieri is without both Islam Slimani and Riyad Mahrez who are on international duty, this could be a little cagier than usual.
The home side may also be about to switch from their favoured 4-4-2 formation to a 4-3-3, packing the centre of midfield with fit again Danny Drinkwater, summer signing Nampalys Mendy and recent acquisition Wilfred N’didi, who impressed in the FA Cup win over Everton a week ago where the team first tried out this new approach.
That could mean the home side are much more compact than they have been thus far and could lead us to a couple of worthwhile wagers. Chelsea have often taken their time to break sides down, especially on the road where the Blues haven’t scored a league goal before the 40th minute in any of their previous five games.
One angle could be to back the first goal to come after the 27th minute at 11/10 (2.10) with Paddy Power. Another possible punt looks to be the second half to be the highest scoring considering Leicester have netted 62.5% of their league goals after the interval and Chelsea’s stats are 61.9% this term. The recent history may suggest a high-scoring game but the changes in these two sides’ modus operandi could lead us to a profitable strategy opposing too much early action.