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PL Preview: Chelsea vs. Leicester City

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  • Chelsea has beaten Leicester in 12 of their last 14 meetings
  • Leicester City has lost five straight road games vs. Top 6
  • Marcos Alonso‘s 12 PL goals over the last 2 seasons are more than any defender

The battle for second place is on, and Chelsea will want to hold serve at home as they host Leicester City at 10:00 a.m. ET at Stamford Bridge live on NBCSN or live online at NBCSports.com.

Antonio Conte has fallen under some fire this season with Chelsea back in third place in the Premier League, but they’ve closed the gap on Manchester United and sit just a point behind the second spot. Still, with the Blues having drawn three straight matches, they will look to get back to winning ways.

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Meanwhile, Leicester City is struggling mightily, with a 3-0 victory over Huddersfield Town their only three points since December 13th. They failed to find the back of the net against League One side Fleetwood Town during their midweek FA Cup matchup, although the side fielded was a relatively weak one without the likes of Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez. The former should be ready for this match after sitting out for a week with a groin problem, while Wes Morgan and Danny Simpson continue to sit with hamstring problems, part of the reason why the club has coughed up nine goals in its last five matches, and has just two clean sheets since late October.

INJURIES: Chelsea — QUESTIONABLE: Ross Barkley | Leicester City — OUT: Wes Morgan (hamstring), Danny Simpson (hamstring). QUESTIONABLE: Robert Huth (ankle), Jamie Vardy (groin).


What they’re saying

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte on not pursuing Jamie Vardy: “We didn’t speak about him, but I repeat we are talking about a really good player. For sure Vardy is a really good player and I don’t like to speak about players of other teams, but in this case we are not talking about transfer market.”

Leicester City manager Claude Puel on playing big clubs: “I think in our games against the great teams, we have always had good situations and good possibilities – like against Manchester United and Tottenham. The ambition is not just for us to score but to continue to play after scoring and to always keep good ambition in our play.”

Prediction

How about this for a nugget? Antonio Conte has won 25 of his first 30 home games in charge of Chelsea, a joint club record with Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti. Both of those managers lost their 31st game (thanks Opta!). Just on that alone, Leicester City wins 2-1, and Jamie Vardy scores the winner. Conte is berated for his tactics, but in reality, the club’s lack of midfield depth is to blame, as Tiemoue Bakayoko is still learning the Premier League ropes.

West Ham 1-1 Leicester: Hammers marginally improved

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  • Albrighton opens scoring in 8′
  • Kouyate brings Hammers back in 45′
  • Moyes’ first point as West Ham boss

The tangible takeaway was small — a single point — but the overall sentiment appeared my larger for West Ham United, as David Moyes‘ side came from behind to secure a 1-1 draw with Leicester City at the London Stadium on Friday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

It didn’t take long for the Hammers’ boo birds to re-emerge and for the spotlight to return squarely — and blisteringly hotly — onto the club’s (already, after two games) beleaguered manager. Jamie Vardy broke down the left side of the penalty area, cut a left-footed cross back toward the penalty spot, and Marc Albrighton arrived at the right time to redirect the ball through traffic with an outstretched right foot.

Kasper Schmichael was forced to make one spectacular save during the first half, in the 25th minute. Manuel Lanzini‘s free kick floated to Angelo Ogbonna at the back post, where the Italian headed downward and inside the post. Schmichael quickly scrambled across the face of goal and pushed the ball away with two hands.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Then, the strangest event occurred: for just the sixth time in 25 games since relocation in the summer of 2016, West Ham scored a first-half goal — with only seconds to spare. Again, it was a set piece from which the Hammers posed their greatest threat. Lanzini lofted another beautiful ball to the top of Schmichael’s six-yard box, this time from a corner kick, where Cheikhou Kouyate rose above the rest and headed the ball off the back of Danny Simpson and into the back of the net.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

With the two sides seemingly pleased to split the points, the second half featured very little notable action — in terms of scoring chances, that is.

Riyad Mahrez, who spent all summer trying to engineer a move away from Leicester, was subbed out by manager Claude Puel in the 70th minute. The Algerian international and 2015-16 Player of the Year appeared to be far from pleased, as he and Puel made no eye contact nor gave any acknowledgement of one another when Mahrez walked past Puel and made his way to the bench. Rekindled rumors are right around the corner.

The draw leaves West Ham (10 points), who are now six games without a win, 18th in the league table, now level on points with West Bromwich Albion who currently sit just outside the relegation zone. Leicester (14 points), meanwhile, leapfrogged Newcastle United for 11th.

Bournemouth 0-0 Leicester City: Early struggles continue

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  • Cherries out-attempt 19-6
  • Early PK appeal denied
  • Okazaki misses sitter

Bournemouth’s finishing denied it a deserved victory as the Cherries drew Leicester City 0-0 at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday.

The draw gives 19th place Bournemouth four points, while Leicester sits 17th with five points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Bournemouth would’ve felt aggrieved when Jermain Defoe hit the post and a rebound shot struck Danny Simpson on the arm, with nothing to show for either opportunity.

And Joshua King felt he’d drawn a penalty kick around the quarter hour mark, but Harry Maguire was kept off the hook.

Marc Pugh set King up for a chance around the 20 minute mark, but the ex-Manchester United prospect mishit it.

Vicente Iborra gave the ball away to Pugh soon after subbing into the match, but the Spaniard reclaimed the ball before the Bournemouth man could test Kasper Schmeichel.

A rare chance came to Leicester when in-form Shinji Okazaki found the ball well inside the 18 but betrayed his recent performances with a poor miss.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Manchester United 2-0 Leicester City: Mourinho’s men do it again

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  • Schmeichel stars for LCFC
  • Lukaku has PK saved
  • Rashford, Fellaini score
  • United now 3-0

No one marked Marcus Rashford on a 70th minute corner, and the substitute gave Manchester United its first goal in a 2-0 win over Leicester City at Old Trafford on Saturday.

The win puts United alone atop the Premier League for the time being, with 10 goals scored and not a single concession.

[ MORE: Mourinho’s reaction ]

Leicester has lost two of three to start the season, albeit to Arsenal and Man Utd.

Romelu Lukaku had a penalty saved by Kasper Schmeichel, who was well off his line to stop the well-hit left-footed effort. According to Opta, Kasper now has more penalty saves at Old Trafford than his father, legendary United keeper Peter Schmeichel.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Juan Mata thought he’d made it 1-0 after some bullish work from Romelu Lukaku, and Mata looked onside when he scored the rebound despite a call from the linesman.

Anthony Martial then started a lightning bit of possession that came within a yard of a goal when Paul Pogba‘s sliding attempt at the back post missed the mark.

Kasper Schmeichel made an outstanding save on Mata in the 20th minute, and Leicester very much could’ve been down three if not for its backstop.

Leicester finally found a chance through Shinji Okazaki after a lay-off from Jamie Vardy, but David De Gea was comfortable in collecting the low shot.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

After a trio of penalty shouts in the early stages of the second half, Danny Simpson handled a cross for what some viewed as a controversial penalty.

It was given, and Lukaku’s effort was strong but stopped by Schmeichel.

Leicester had a promising break to Demarai Gray and Riyad Mahrez cut-out by Phil Jones.

United found its goal off a corner kick as no one marked Rashford, and Fellaini looked a bit offside when he redirected a Jesse Lingard shot beyond the reach of Schmeichel.

Demarai Gray cued Andy King up for a doorstep chance at ruining United’s season clean sheet, but De Gea knocked the offering away.

Leicester 2-0 Stoke: Foxes win fourth-straight

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  • Goals from Ndidi, Vardy
  • Leicester win fifth-straight game in all comps
  • Shakespeare has five-straight wins 
  • Stoke winless in three

Leicester beat Stoke 2-0 at the King Power Stadium on Saturday as Craig Shakespeare became the first-ever British manager to win his first four games in the Premier League.

A stunner from Wilfred Ndidi got Leicester going and then Jamie Vardy hammered home a volley early in the second half to put the game beyond doubt.

With their fourth-straight win in the PL since Claudio Ranieri was fired, Leicester move on to 33 points and are three points behind Stoke City with a top 10 finish in their sights.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays

Leicester started brightly and Riyad Mahrez was at the center of everything good about the Foxes.

Yohan Benalouane went close to giving Leicester the lead as he squirmed an effort just wide.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

The Foxes continued to press with Demarai Gray drilling a low shot just wide and then Ndidi smashed home an unstoppable effort to make it 1-0 to the home side. Fantastic strike.

Shinji Okazaki sent a bicycle kick over as Leicester piled on the pressure and then Stoke launched a rapid counter which saw Saido Berahino force Kasper Schmeichel into a stop.

Mahrez then had a wonderful effort from 25 yards out saved well down low by Lee Grant as Leicester deserved their half time lead.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Two minutes after the break Danny Simpson clipped in a delightful ball and Vardy hammered home an unstoppable strike to make it 2-0 and score his fourth goal in his last four games.

Stoke looked completely out of ideas in the second half with Leicester hunting in packs and looking comfortable.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Mahrez went close for Leicester but Grant once again denied the Foxes as the one-way traffic continued and the Algerian dragged another effort just wide as the Foxes had to settle for a two-goal win.