Chelsea vs Leicester preview: Eden Hazard may remain as false No 9
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Last Updated: 22/12/18 7:46am
Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri is contemplating deploying Eden Hazard as a 'false nine' for a third straight Premier League game in order to "let him free".
The Blues play Leicester at Stamford Bridge on Saturday after beating Manchester City and Brighton without fielding a recognised striker.
Olivier Giroud played the full game as Chelsea beat Bournemouth 1-0 in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday, when Hazard came off the bench to score the decisive goal, while Alvaro Morata returned to training on Thursday following a knee injury.
"There isn't the best position for Hazard," Sarri said. "Hazard is a wonderful player, with a very high level of imagination. He needs to be let free on the pitch.
"I think there isn't the right position for him. We need to have a very high level of organisation based on his movements."
Meanwhile, Jamie Vardy is set to return for Leicester after he was rested for the Carabao Cup penalty-shootout defeat to Manchester City on Tuesday.
The striker had returned from a groin injury in last weekend's 1-0 defeat at Crystal Palace and Foxes boss Claude Puel did not want to rush him back into action again.
But the former England international and Leicester's five-goal top scorer should be available for the trip to west London.
"I hope [Vardy] can be fit for this match and can find his qualities," Puel said.
"With his quality and his aggressiveness, he is a very good player for us. We need Jamie - with his ability, capacity and character - to give his best.
"Of course, it has been difficult for him with injuries and suspensions this season, but he is a valuable player for us and we need Jamie to be at his best for us."
Other team news
Chelsea centre-back Andreas Christensen is out with a minor hamstring problem.
As for the visitors, left-back Ben Chilwell could also return following his knee injury after missing the last two games, but midfielder Wilfred Ndidi is struggling after suffering a knee injury against Manchester City.
- Chelsea have lost only once in their last 12 Premier League meetings with Leicester (W9 D2). That defeat came at the King Power Stadium in December 2015 while they were reigning champions, as the Foxes went on to lift the trophy that campaign
- Leicester have failed to win any of their last eight visits to face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in all competitions (D2 L6), last winning there in September 2000 (2-0)
- Only versus Man Utd and Arsenal (both 16) have Leicester lost more Premier League games than against Chelsea (14)
- Chelsea are unbeaten in 12 Premier League home games, keeping a clean sheet in each of the last three games at Stamford Bridge in the competition (W7 D5 L0)
- Leicester are looking to avoid three consecutive Premier League defeats for the first time since a run of five losses in February 2017
- Leicester are winless in their last 10 Premier League games in London (D4 L6) since a 3-2 win at West Ham United in March 2017
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What is Claude Puel doing against Manchester City? It's the quarter-final of the League Cup, they're not getting relegated, why is he resting players?
If I were a Leicester fan I'd be going ballistic. They're comfortable in the table, and if you beat them, you knock the favourites out and then you could be playing Burton for a place in the final. As a Leicester fan now, what's left? It's an absolute disgrace. Man City were there for the taking.
I can't see anything but a Chelsea win here; they've had some big results since that defeat at Wolves.
PAUL PREDICTS: 3-0 (15/2 with Sky Bet)