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Leicester vs. Chelsea: ‘Bookmakers struggling to split third and fourth-placed sides’

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Leicester host Chelsea on Saturday (12:30 GMT) in what looks an evenly-matched contest.

The hosts look assured of a return to Champions League football for the first time since the 2016/17 season, when they were knocked out at the quarter-final stage by Atletico Madrid, with a 14-point lead over fifth-placed Manchester United.

LONDON, ENGLAND – MARCH 7 2019: Pedro of Chelsea celebrates scoring a goal during the Europa League match between Chelsea and Dynamo Kyiv at Stamford Bridge.

The visitors, though, are less certain of which European competition they will compete in next campaign, finding themselves sandwiched eight points behind Leicester and six points ahead of United.

With just 14 points in their last 12 league games, Frank Lampard’s side have stuttered of late and could really use a statement win at the King Power Stadium to boost their top four hopes.

Leicester, though, are marginal favourites at 6/4 to gain a win which would surely seal a top three finish for them.

The draw is 13/5, with a Chelsea win 17/10.

It remains to be seen whether Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham will be passed fit after an ankle injury, but Leicester’s top goalscorer and talisman Jamie Vardy is available to start having came on as a substitute in the 2-1 League Cup semi-final loss at Aston Villa in midweek.

Vardy is 11/10 to score anytime, with Kelechi Iheanacho 11/8, Ayoze Perez 12/5, James Maddison 10/3, and Harvey Barnes an appealing 5/1.

For the visitors, Abraham is 13/10, Michy Batshuayi 6/4, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Mason Mount are 3/1, with Willian 7/2. If you fancy Chelsea to win a penalty, Jorginho is 11/2.

With the wealth of attacking options on display, both teams to score seems extremely likely in this one. It has landed in nine of Chelsea’s 12 away games, and Leicester’s defence has looked more leaky in recent weeks with holding midfielder Wilfried Ndidi still recovering from meniscus surgery, so it is no surprise to see it as short as 6/10.

BTTS with a Leicester win or a draw are both 10/3, with a Chelsea win & BTTS 7/2.

Clearly, the bookmakers are finding it very difficult to split the two sides, and I don’t blame them.

Better value may well be found in the player card market: the aforementioned Jorginho is 3/1 to be shown a yellow card. He will have his hands full up against Maddison and, with 8 yellow cards in 19 starts this season, he’s always a likely candidate to be reprimanded by the referee.

I'm a freelance sports journalist who has worked for Goal & Bleacher Report amongst others. Get in touch, you're more than welcome to do so via Twitter.

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