Premier League Preview: Chelsea vs. Leicester City

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  • Blues haven’t lost back-to-back home matches since 2011
  • Leicester has allowed 10 road goals this season (most in PL)
  • Ranieri, Conte last met in 2012 when managing Inter, Juventus

Chelsea hosts Leicester City on Saturday (Watch live, 7:45 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBC Sports) at Stamford Bridge in a battle of the Premier League’s two most recent title holders.

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While the Blues only sit a mere five points off the lead set by Manchester City thus far, the Londoners have had controversy as of late with the rumors surrounding a potential Antonio Conte exit. Although it seems unlikely the Italian would leave the club after such a short span of time, the idea that bookmakers suspended betting on his stay at Stamford Bridge certainly raises some red flags.

As for Chelsea’s on-field troubles, Conte and co. will have to cope without Willian and likely miss Victor Moses against the Foxes, although captain John Terry could return to the lineup after recovering from an ankle injury.

Ten points already separate the Foxes from the top of the PL table through seven matches. It was always unlikely that Claudio Ranieri‘s side would repeat as champions, however, the start to 2016 has a lot of Leicester fans scratching their heads. Danny Drinkwater and Nampalys Mendy are among the notables expected to be out of action on Saturday, leaving Ranieri with some questions in the midfield.

What they’re saying

Conte on bookmakers suspending betting: “I’m trying to find out who put the money on. It’s very difficult to talk about this situation because I am focused on my work and to improve the team. I have good communication and a good relationship with the club. Nothing, nothing. I take this with a smile. We are working very hard to change the situation of the last season and trying to build something important for the future. It takes time but it’s important to be focused in our targets, now.’

Ranieri on his attacking core: “In the training sessions, I often put the three together to manage better and better in every situation. Then I believe in these three guys. There are special sessions, and also when we play matches they stay always together so they can link every time better, to get a better understanding. There is a very good link between the three and I think this is a strength of our future.”

Prediction

Neither side is where they want to be at the moment, but the Blues are certainly in a better position at the moment, even without several key figures. The Foxes look to avoid being the first defending champion to lose its opening four road matches of the season since 1995/96 when Blackburn replicated the feat. Chelsea 2-1 Leicester