Analysis

FLIP’s Picks In-Play: Leicester vs Chelsea

Written by Sam Hopkinson

Having qualified for the knock out stages of the Champions League with a comfortable win over Porto, Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea side stumble on. There is no predicting this team—some weeks they look like improving, only to be completely undone the following match. After unlikely wins for Bournemouth and Newcastle this weekend, Chelsea arrive at the King Power Stadium just one point above the relegation zone. Let that sink in for a minute. Leicester are still absolutely flying off the back of a Riyad Mahrez hattrick against the Swans and will surely believe the Blues are there for the taking.

DEFENDER

Christian Fuchs

Although he missed the start of the season, Fuchs has been magnificent for Leicester ever since he came back into the side. He won MotM against Manchester United, so the likes of Hazard and co. will not faze the experienced Austrian. With just the one assist to his name, Fuchs is more of a defensive fullback—but he is an exceptionally good one. He excels at holding onto the ball and making that left hand side impassable. The problem Leicester face is that the central defenders aren’t quite so impenetrable—and Mourinho will be aware of it.

MIDFIELDER

Oscar

The Brazilian put in arguably his best performance of the season against Porto midweek—and considering he was sacrificed at half time against Bournemouth in the last league match, he’ll be feeling more confident. It’s impossible to put the blame for Chelsea’s malaise at the feet of any one player. Hazard has yet to score, for instance—but Oscar is a huge talent and needs to be playing better than he has been. Oddly, the Brazilian’s high points of the season have all occurred in the Champion’s league. Mourinho needs him to show up against Leicester if he’s trusted to play.

STRIKER

Jamie Vardy

The hugely satisfying run is over, but the record is broken and Vardy will be concentrating on doing his best for the team now. I wonder though if the Englishman isn’t due a drop in form now. Considering the number of goals he’s scored for the Foxes he probably deserves it! Players other than Vardy and Mahrez need to step up and keep the momentum going now—especially since Mourinho will probably park the bus on Monday night.

HONOURABLE MENTION

Riyad Mahrez

A league hattrick for Mahrez is exactly what the Algerian deserves after he graciously allowed Vardy to take a penalty and keep the goal-scoring run going last month. That kind of team spirit is almost impossible to manufacture (or buy), and Ranieri must be ecstatic with the atmosphere in the dressing room at the King Power. These players give it all for each other. Let’s hope Barcelona or Manchester United don’t poach Mahrez and begin the break up of this wonderful surprise package.

About the author

Sam Hopkinson

Sam has attended matches everywhere from Cambodia to Canada, and is a persistent Spurs fan. If he didn’t have football, he’d probably turn to a life of crime just to get that exhilarating fix. Superstitious enough to believe that picking a player for his fantasy team spells doom for the poor sod.