LEICESTER host Chelsea on Saturday afternoon at the KP. We asked Tom Love (@TomLove_18) to source the best bets from the Premier League encounter.
Leicester v Chelsea | Saturday 1st February 2020, 12:30 | BT Sport
Two top-four challengers meet in the Midlands for the early kick-off on Saturday as Leicester host Chelsea.
The Foxes have had a brilliant season so far and their well-rounded team are now as short as 1/16 to occupy a Champions League qualification place come the end of the season – it’s testament to Brendan Rodgers, the structure of the club and of course the quality of their roster.
In their first 16 league matches the 2016 champions boasted a remarkable W12-D2-L2 record, however since a disappointing home draw to Norwich at the start of December, the hosts have picked up just three wins in eight, which means their initial 6/4 quotes to win this look about fair.
Admittedly, two of those recent defeats were at the hands of the two sides above them in Manchester City and Liverpool but it’s a bit of a trait of theirs to struggle slightly against the league’s elite. Rodgers has seen his charges pick up just the single win against the top seven, a narrow victory at home to a then out-of-form Spurs side who had a terrible away record.
Leicester also surprisingly lost their League Cup semi-final clash against Aston Villa despite dominating both games. That may have knocked their confidence and it also means they’re likely to be more fatigued than Chelsea who had a clean slate this week.
The Blues have been decent enough on the road this season, winning 10 of their 16 away trips. Goals have tended to be a feature for them too, averaging 2.00 goals per-game when playing as visitors. It’s not been as fruitful for them of late, Frank Lampard just can’t seem to get a consistent tune out of his squad with their last back-to-back league wins coming all the way back in October.
Throw in Christian Pulisic being on the treatment table and doubts over the fitness of Reece James and Tammy Abraham and it’s also hard to get Chelsea onside at shorter than 2/1.
With the outright markets failing to appeal I’m more than happy to dip into the goals market as it does promise to be an entertaining clash and I think both sides will fancy their chances of winning here. We can back Both Teams To Score at 10/11 with Bet365 and that looks a good thing.
Overs has landed in the last seven Leicester games and their usual defensive resolve hasn’t quite been their in the past couple of months, keeping just the one clean sheet in nine and that was against shot-shy Newcastle. Overs has also copped in 9/12 Chelsea away games, and even with key attacking players out the likes of Callum Hudson-Odoi and Michy Batshuayi always seem to come in and contribute. BTTS has also paid out in 9/12 of the Blues road games.
If we hark back to the reverse fixture back in August it was one of the most watchable affairs of the season with both sides attempting at least 12 shots. It turned into a real end-to-end encounter in the second half and with better decision making in the final third for both teams it could’ve ended 3-3. I wouldn’t be surprised if we got a similar game here, especially if there is an early goal.
Profit from the passing market
I’m also happy to dip into the passing market for this one as I think there’s quite generous lines on Leicester players. Under Rodgers they have been a much more possession dominant side and teams give them a lot of respect. They rank fourth for possession and although Chelsea rank slightly higher than them, as the away team I feel they may concede possession, and play more on the break with Hudson-Odoi and Willian, in a similar fashion to how Aston Villa set up against them.
Obviously game state plays a massive part in passing markets, if Chelsea score first this bet looks really promising but if Leicester score early they may play without the ball a bit more. If it’s even for a while I’d expect the hosts to have the lions share of possession.
With that in mind, I’m happy to double up the two Leicester centre halves, Caglar Soyuncu and Johnny Evans to attempt 50+ passes each which gives us a nice 19/20 quote when using Coral’s BuildYourBet feature.
Soyuncu averages 69 passes in the league whereas Evans averages 64, they go up to 72 and 67 respectively when they’re at home. Soyuncu has attempted 50+ passes in 20/23 league games this season whereas Evans has done so in 21/24 league games this season. What’s more this bet would’ve landed in the reverse fixture at the bridge.
I wouldn’t be surprised if this price goes very quickly, if it does I still think both to have 55+ would be backable around even-money given the stats.