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Premier League

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Easy job for Chelsea at King Power Stadium, where the Blues win 3-0 over Leicester without any particular stress.

The game immediately goes onto the right path with Marcos Alonso scoring his first goal at 7′, after Pedro missed a chance on an Azpilicueta cross from the right: Eden Hazard gets the rebound and assists the Spanish full-back, who scores with a great shot from the left of the box.

Chelsea dominate in the first fifteen minutes of the first half, then Leicester try to react looking for the equaliser, being dangerous with Chilwell and Vardy, but Courtois manages to keep his goal clear.

Pedro gets close to score 2-0 in the end of the first part missing an incredible chance after David Luiz and Hazard perfectly carry out a tactic on a free kick.

Six minutes into the second half and Alonso find the goal who seal his personal brace and the game: a shot from the box limit on a Willian’s free-kick from the right that his deflected by Foxes’ captain Wes Morgan with his knee, Schmeichel cannot reach it, 2-0.

Still 39 minutes to go Antonio Conte’s guys find themselves in comfortable position, with Leicester trying to react but showing a poor organisation and not the same spirit that let them win the title last year.

A fact that became even clearer in the 3-0 goal scored by Pedro at 71′ after a poor clear from the Foxes defense, with Willian trying a lob on Schmeichel coming out and Pedro finishing it with a header.

This is the moment where the match ends, with still twenty minutes to go: Chelsea controls it until referee Andre Marriner blows the triple whistle and maintain their gap from Spurs, second with 45, to seven points, with Liverpool ( now fourth with 44) still having one game in hand, the one to be played tomorrow at 4 pm at Old Trafford against Manchester United.

It could seem ironic, but it could Blues former boss José Mourinho to do a big favour to his ex team beating the Reds tomorrow and keeping them in the same place as they are tonight, letting Chelsea seven points above their first chasers.

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Chelsea are leading 1-0 over Leicester City at half time at King Power Stadium, thanks to a goal by Marcos Alonso at 7′, assisted by Eden Hazard after that a good play by Azpilicueta was ending with a missing chance by Pedro.

The game was balanced, with the Foxes trying to equalise but with no success, thanks also to a couple of Thibaut Courtois’ decisive saves.

The Blues still have 45′ to complete their chase to increase the advantage over the other teams in the title race.

 

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LEICESTER CITY – Schmeichel, Chilwell, Morgan (c), Huth, Fuchs, Ndidi, Drinkwater, Mendy, Albrighton, Musa, Vardy.

Subs: Zieler, Simpson, Wasilewski, Kapustka, King, Gray, Okazaki

Manager: Claudio Ranieri

 

CHELSEA – Courtois; Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Cahill (c); Moses, Kante, Matic, Alonso; Willian, Hazard, Pedro

Subs: Begovic, Ivanovic, Zouma, Chalobah, Loftus-Cheek, Fabregas, Batshuayi.

Manager: Antonio Conte

 

Referee: Andre Marriner

Kick Off: 5.30 pm GMT

Venue: King Power Stadium, Leicester, UK

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Team News

LEICESTER CITY 

– Striker Leonardo Ulloa is out for thigh injury

– The foxes will miss three players out for Africa Cup of Nations: Islam Slimani and Riyad Mahrez, Algeria is and Daniel Amartey, Ghana.

Jamie Vardy is available after the birth of his son having also missed the FA Cup win at Everton because of illness

- Andy King is fit after being struck down by illness as well

Provisional Squad: Schmeichel, Zieler, Hamer, Simpson, Morgan, Huth, Wasilewski, Hernandez, Fuchs, Chilwell, King, Drinkwater, Ndidi, James, Mendy, Albrighton, Kapustka, Gray, Musa, Okazaki, Vardy.

 

 

CHELSEA 

Diego Costa was dropped from squad list after bust-up with Antonio Conte and fitness coach

John Terry is suspended after red card in FA Cup

Provisional Squad: Courtois, Begovic, Ivanovic, Alonso, Fabregas, Zouma, Kante, Hazard, Loftus-Cheek, Moses, Pedro, Matic, Willian, Batshuayi, Cahill, Azpilicueta, Chalobah, Luiz, Eduardo, Aina, Ake.

 

Possible Line-Ups

LEICESTER CITY – Schmeichel; Simpson, Morgan, Huth, Chilwell; Albrighton, Mendy, Ndidi, Drinkwater, Musa; Vardy.

Manager: Claudio Ranieri

 

CHELSEA - Courtois; Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Cahill; Moses, Matic, Kante, Marcos Alonso; Willian, Pedro, Hazard.

Manager: Antonio Conte

 

Referee: Andre Mariner

Kick Off: 5.30 pm GMT

Venue: King Power Stadium

 

 

 

 

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Nathan Ake and Charly Musonda were called back as Chelsea needed a couple of backups in their squad and manager Antonio Conte gave his thoughts on both the youngsters, speaking at press conference yesterday.

About former Bournemouth star Ake: “He has improved a lot in the last one-and-a-half years and I felt it was right for him to come back. Also, in January, the market is not easy, so I took the opportunity for us to bring him back”.

While, about 20-year-old former Betis Seville youngster: “Musonda is a bit different from Ake because he wasn’t playing much at Real Betis”,

“He was a player who, in pre-season, I would have liked to see. Now he stays with us, he has good prospects, he can improve a lot and he’s very young”.

“I think if he stays with us to work, to improve physically, technically and tactically, it will be very important for him and for me because for the next few months I can have a good option”.

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Chelsea manager Antonio Conte spoke at press conference yesterday, ahead of next Premier League clash against Leicester.

Midfielder N’Golo Kante is expected to feature regularly against his former club today when Chelsea are set to face Claudio Ranieri’s team.

“It can happen that when you change and you go from one team to another, with totally different expectations and different pressures, you can suffer and then you don’t have good performances at the start of the season, – Conte said speaking about the Frenchman – But N’Golo went into the team very well. I remember when he arrived in pre-season. It was later than the other players because he finished his holidays after them, but he’s started his path at Chelsea very well”.

 

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The news broke tonight and it’s sensational: Diego Costa has not been selected by Chelsea boss Antonio Conte for Leicester City away clash and behind this there could be a transfer market reason.

It’s understood that the Spanish striker did not train fully with the rest of the squad during the week, claiming himself he was going through low back pain.

But, apparently, this could just ax excuse, because the real reason for Costa’s behaviour would be a monster offer from a Chinese Super League side that the player and his entourage are taking into consideration in these days.

Sources from England and Italy are claiming that part of the Brazilian-born-striker staff are in China to discuss another record move with Tianjin Quanjian, that are ready to place a £80m bid on the Spaniard and to offer a £ 30m-per-year-deal to the player.

It’s also reported that Conte and Costa frequently argued during past week over the matter, with the Italian manager yelling to Diego during a bust-up ” Go to China!” as Sky Sport Italia reports.

The ex Juventus boss also didn’t like the fact that Costa apparently faked an injury to not take part to group trainings during the past week, where Costa trained most of the time alone, this is the reason why also a fitness coach was involved in the bust-up, since the coach was claiming Costa had no back issues.

Chelsea refused to comment the news.

 

 

 

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Chelsea manager Antonio Conte won the 3rd Premier League Manager of the Month in a row today.

The Italian manager, speaking at press conference ahead of next clash against Leicester, told journalists he is a great admirer of Claudio Ranieri, who’s ‘a really great manager, a great man’.

“I am proud to know him and sometimes to call him to speak. He did a great job last season and not only then” Conte added.

“I knew him when he was coach in Italy, at Chelsea, at Valencia. He’s a great coach and he deserves this award. He did a great job. I’m pleased for him”.

Leicester are currently struggling in Premier League despite passing through the next stage in Champions League, where they are set to face Spanish side Seville.

“I am not surprised because this league is very tough. I consider them a really good team with good players, strong players, players with talent and technique, a good mix. They have a great manager. It can happen in this league. Don’t forget Chelsea last season”.

“The Leicester game is very important for us to restart to win. Leicester are the champions from last season, they have a lot of good players with good quality, they have impressed me”.

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Chelsea manager Antonio Conte spoke at press conference today ahead of next clash against Leicester City.

Defensive midfielder Nathan Ake was recently called back from his season-long loan at Bournemouth.

“I’m very pleased for him to stay with us. In this one-year-and-a-half he has improved a lot – Conte told the club’s official website – This shows that it’s important for a young player born in the Academy to go and play on loan, and then, when they are ready, come back and play with us”.

“Ake is a really good example. He is a good player, very young but with a good personality. He can play as a central defender, in the middle or on the left, he could play as a wing-back. It’s important now to work with us. He’s trained with us only a few days”.

“It’s important for him to have a bit of time to go into our idea of football and adapt, and then be under consideration”.

“In these days I tried him as a central defender; it’s important for me to have a bit of time with him to know him better, and to try to find out the best position for him. He can play in different roles and it’s very important for us he is able to do that”.

“This makes me more calm in the January market. The first impressions are a lot of positives. He has good personality and he’s mature. It’s not a gift for him. I don’t like to give gifts. Somebody must deserve to come back.”

 

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Chelsea winger Willian is aware of the importance of keeping the leadership as ‘teams are trying even harder to beat us’.

“In the Premier League you never know what can happen in the future - the Brazilian star said – In one month, in two games even. Everything can change and that’s why we have to stay at the same level we have been”.

“Teams are trying even harder to beat us, which is why now especially, we are in a moment where we have to prepare ourselves for that”.

Chelsea are set to face Premier League champions Leicester at King Power Stadium on matchday 21

“The sides coming against us want to stop us and maybe they will play like West Brom did, with eight players behind the ball, staying back and wanting to play on the counter attack”.

“We have to stay focussed because it’s difficult to beat those teams sometimes. In those kind of games when you have one, two or three chances, you have to score when those chances come.”

“The team is playing well and I was prepared to wait for my opportunity. I had to continue to work hard every day and when I came into the team I had to bring something different.

Willian did not play every Premier League game this season so far also due to the great performances showed by his teammate Pedro, who cover the same position on the pitch.

“The players that start on the bench have to be concentrated from the start of the game because when we come on, we have to make a difference.”

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