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Saturday, June 27, 2020

Leicester City v Chelsea: Foxes to suffer slow demise

Leicester City v Chelsea: Foxes to suffer slow demise

Chelsea are on a high after beating Manchester City, and Kevin Hatchard thinks they'll make it through to the FA Cup semi-finals by edging out Leicester City...

Leicester City v Chelsea
Sunday 28 June, 16:00
Live on BT Sport 1

Faltering Foxes in danger of falling short

Like a batsman in cricket who was racking up century after century in the early part of the season, Leicester City are now finding that they can't get anywhere near 50. Boss Brendan Rodgers admits his team is struggling for rhythm, and that was evident in the drab midweek draw against Brighton. The Foxes managed an Infogol Expected Goals figure of just 0.67, and had it not been for an excellent penalty save from Kasper Schmeichel, it could have been worse for the hosts.
Leicester have now won just two of their last 10 Premier League matches, and while they still have a six-point advantage over fifth-placed Manchester United in the race for the Champions League, things are getting tight for a team that has impressed so many for so long. Striker Jamie Vardy's form is usually a good measure of Leicester's footballing health, and he has found the net in just two of his last 15 matches in all competitions.
The form at the King Power is a particular concern. Leicester have won just four of their last 11 home matches in all competitions, and two of those successes were against Championship opposition in the FA Cup. At least they are proving to be defensively sound - Rodgers' team hasn't conceded multiple goals in a game since a 2-2 draw with Chelsea on the first of February.
Full-back Ricardo Pereira is still recovering from a knee injury, so will miss out here. Rodgers is expected to name his strongest available team, as the team is just two wins from a Wembley final.

Lampard's lustre boosted by City win

While everyone connected with Liverpool rejoiced on Thursday night, as a three-decade wait for a league title came to a joyous conclusion, something was understandably but undeniably obscured by the red-tinged maelstrom. Chelsea's 2-1 win over Manchester City meant they had beaten one of the best teams in Europe, and in doing so had taken a massive step towards Champions League qualification.
While Blues' boss Frank Lampard was always going to have a certain amount of capital because of his sparkling service to the club as a player, hiring him as manager after just one season as a coach was a bold step. The former England midfielder has carried himself superbly, exuding a quiet authority and effectively blending youth with experience. It hasn't been a perfect campaign - the West Londoners are after all 34 points off top spot, and nine points off second - but it has been a positive one.
The exciting Christian Pulisic is proving his doubters wrong, having scored in his last two games and having taken his season tally to seven Premier League goals. On average, the 21-year-old American averages a goal involvement every other game, which isn't a bad rate considering he had to overcome injury problems and some initial doubts on Lampard's part. Pulisic is 3.95 to score at any time. 22-year-old Tammy Abraham has scored 13 league goals this term, 21-year-old Mason Mount has six PL goals and four assists, while Billy Gilmour and Reece James deserve honourable mentions.
A ninth FA Cup would be a huge early fillip for Lampard as a manager, and Chelsea have been untroubled in the competition so far. Routine wins over Nottingham Forest and Hull City preceded a 2-0 over a weakened Liverpool in the last 16. Chelsea haven't lost an away game in the competition since 2017.
Chelsea have no fresh injury concerns or suspensions. Defender Fikayo Tomori is still out, while Callum Hudson-Odoi is short of full fitness.

Chelsea worthy favourites to grab semi spot

Chelsea are the 2.52 favourites here, and I even though they are below Leicester City in the PL standings, I think that's fair. Chelsea have the momentum, they played really well against Manchester City, and they are chasing a fifth straight victory in all competitions.
Leicester are running through treacle, and aren't posing the same attacking threat they did earlier in the season. I'll back Chelsea to edge a close one by using the Draw No Bet market at 1.82.

Chelsea's style could open things up

These two have played out 1-1 and 2-2 draws this season, and although the hosts are struggling to find top gear, I believe they will get chances against a Chelsea team that usually coughs up a few opportunities.
You can back Over 2.5 Goals here at 1.92, a bet that has landed in nine of Chelsea's last 11 competitive matches.

Half-time draw worth considering

Remarkably, seven of Leicester's last eight games in all competitions have been goalless at the break. That potentially opens up some opportunities - you could back 0-0 in the Half Time Correct Score market at 3.10, or perhaps back Draw/Chelsea in the HT/FT market at a hefty 6.80.
Alternatively, you could back 0-0 in the Correct Score market at 13.50, and perhaps use that as a trading opportunity.