Fresh off two consecutive goalless draws against Norwich City and Arsenal, Chelsea are by no stretch of imagination at their best, and Leicester should be looking to exploit that. After 14 matches in 46 days, the Blues are feeling the strain.
Chelsea were held to a 0-0 draw to Leicester City at Stamford Bridge. We suffered a lot in the first half and at the start of the second half.
"I think we played with a lot of top players against Arsenal, and then again today against a very good team".
When asked after the match about his decision to bring Hazard and Cesc Fabregas off, the Italian said, "I saw them and they were very exhausted".
It made for tense viewing for the Chelsea home support.
Having thrashed Stoke City 5-0 in the final game of 2017 without the services of rested talisman Eden Hazard, the portents looked good for the New Year. Jamie Vardy was brighter than Alvaro Morata, Riyad Mahrez more risky than Eden Hazard. The Brazilian is the second choice left wing-back at Chelsea behind Marcos Alonso.
With most of Leicester City's first choice players now fit and charged, Puel also has the luxury of fielding a fully fit side as opposed to Conte, who will have a relatively exhausted set of players to pick from.
They were soon given a major boost for the final 20 minutes as Leicester were reduced to 10-men, as the impressive Chilwell was given his marching orders for two yellow cards in the space of five minutes, his second for a late challenge on Victor Moses.
Conte was forced to make one change in the first half when Gary Cahill tweaked his hamstring during a foot race with Jamie Vardy.
In search of some inspiration and innovation, Conte switched to a 3-4-3 formation when he withdrew Fabregas and Hazard, sending wingers Pedro and Willian onto the field.
Puel could always see the player's ability when the pair were together at the Metropole. They play at home.
Chelsea have lost just one of their last 11 meetings with Leicester City in the Premier League (W9 D1 L1) - losing 1-2 in December 2015 at the King Power Stadium.
"For sure Vardy is a really good player and I don't like to speak about players of other teams", the Italian told reporters at a press conference.
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