If you were wondering what could make the Foxes’ season even worse, removing their player of the season from last year and their top score from this campaign would have been a good start.
Riyad Mahrez and Islam Slimani have flown off to Gabon to play for Algeria at the Africa Cup of Nations. Also gone is Daniel Amartey, who has played more matches than any other Leicester midfielder.
Nampalys Mendy was the man touted to replace Kanté and has turned out to be a wet squib, but their new boy looks much more likely. Onyinye Ndidi called the shots against Everton in a surprise cup win for Leicester last weekend.
The midfielder is a lot more than a ball-winner though; he’s a very capable passer which will add a much-needed dash of creativity to a plodding central midfield.
Back them to Defend
By switching to a one-man attack Ranieri has shown that he doesn’t trust his defence much, and adding an extra body to central midfield should finally give Leicester’s backline some protection.
But three deep midfielders could be dangerous against a team like Chelsea, who are at their best on the counter, but are adept at keeping the ball and playing patiently too.
Most of all it’s hard to tip Leicester’s forwards to hurt Chelsea at the other end. The Foxes goals against Everton were via Ahmed Musa, who came on as a sub and doesn't quite fit into a three man attack.
Nor does Vardy, who may have to get used to playing on the left for the time being. With youngster Demarai Gray on the other wing and Ulloa down the middle it looks like the attack of a team threatened with relegation.
Is that all?
After a winning streak that nearly smashed Premier League records, Chelsea fans must be wondering how their lead at the top of the table can be so small. Just five points separates them from Liverpool in second, while none of Man City, Tottenham or Arsenal are too far behind.
A routine demolition of Peterborough in the FA Cup will have been a welcome distraction, but it’s going to be interesting to see how that first defeat since September affects Chelsea.
Leicester’s defence of their title has been terrible, but they seem to get hyped up for the big matches, as Man City found out last month.
When the news came through last weekend that Nathan Aké was about to be recalled from his loan at Bournemouth most Blues will have breathed a sigh of relief.
After nailing down a place on the left, Marcos Alonso has faded badly in the last few matches and had an awful time against Spurs. Aké is being tipped to replace the Spaniard, but can play at centre-half so will also keep the off-form Gary Cahill honest.
Back Line Bolstered
And Conte can freshen things up even more at the back now that Kurt Zouma is up and running again. The young defender’s breakthrough had been one of the few highlights of last season.
One of the worries about Chelsea’s staying power had been centred on their depth at the back, but in the space of a week the Blues look far better equipped without making a single signing.
Leicester vs Chelsea Prediction
It helps to keep in mind that Chelsea’s loss to Spurs came after a gruelling run of fixtures, and now after rotating last weekend and no midweek fixtures, Conte’s side should be refreshed and ready to cope with Leicester’s intense brand of football.
Leicester are also seriously depleted. We think Chelsea might be about to enter a rough patch, but for now they’ll return to winning ways against Ranieri's stuttering Foxes. We’re backing Chelsea to grab a trouble-free away win at 1.64.