LEICESTER 2-0 CHELSEA
- Goals: Wilfred Ndidi (£4.8m), James Maddison (£7.1m)
- Assists: Harvey Barnes (£6.8m), Marc Albrighton (£5.3m)
- Bonus points: Ndidi x3, Kasper Schmeichel x2 (£5.5m), Jonny Evans x1 (£5.5m), Wesley Fofana (£5.0m)
Owners of Jamie Vardy (£10.1m) are likely suffering from cold feet even as appealing fixtures approach for Leicester City.
The striker’s blank against Chelsea ensured just a four-point score in Double Gameweek 19, a total more than doubled by Harry Kane (£11.1m) in just one match.
And what has made Vardy’s disappointing Fantasy Premier League returns more frustrating for his 28.9% backing is the fact that the Foxes are hardly in bad form.
Their recent 2-0 win over Chelsea, a fourth victory in the last six, has taken them to the summit of the Premier League table at the time of writing.
Vardy’s direct contribution to that achievement has been relatively minor, without a goal since Gameweek 14 and producing just 2.5 points per game over the last four matches.
By comparison, James Maddison (£7.1m) and Harvey Barnes (£6.8m) have put up 7.8 and 6.3 points per game in that time and look the prime candidates to benefit from upcoming meetings with Everton (away), Leeds (home) and Fulham (away).
Maddison has been in particularly exciting form, netting in three successive Premier League matches for the first time this season.
And, after producing three attacking returns in the opening 10 Gameweeks of 2020/21, the former Norwich City man has seven in his last nine outings – and struck the bar against Chelsea.
Barnes is in similar form, putting up four of his eight goal involvements this season over the last five matches.
KING OF THE ROAD
Still, there are crumbs of comfort for Vardy owners as we head into Gameweek 20.
For the second match in a row, the Leicester forward was quiet but, as ever, always ready to pounce on any loose balls behind defenders.
He got one-on-one with Edouard Mendy (£5.1m) from an awkward in the first half on Tuesday night, his chip batted away partially and requiring a defensive clearance to stop it ending up in the back of the net.
Vardy was also fouled as Marc Albrighton (£5.3m) played a ball into the penalty box, which Maddison duly converted. Had his colleague not scored, Leicester might have had a penalty, which Vardy surely would have taken.
The forward was then denied an assist in the second half when he played Youri Tielemans (£6.4m) through on goal, denied by a good piece of goalkeeping by Mendy and, shortly after, he was just inches from collecting the ball in a race towards goal in his trademark style before Chelsea’s shot-stopper got there first.
It is a well-documented fact that Vardy has struggled to find himself in such situations at home this season. His goal conversion at the King Power Stadium is as low as 8% so far this season.
But he has experienced this problem a lot less often away from home, where he has boasted a goal conversion of 42.9% in 2020/21.
More importantly, three of Leicester’s next four fixtures take place on the road, against Everton, Fulham and Wolves.
Uncertainty about Leicester full-backs is slowly rising among Fantasy managers following Ricardo Pereira‘s (£5.9m) return to Premier League action after 10 months.
His comeback is timed rather awkwardly for anyone hoping to predict Leicester’s back-four for upcoming matches considering the form of James Justin (£5.0m) and Timothy Castagne (£5.7m) this season.
The former has played every minute of the Premier League campaign thus far, an impressive feat in this exceptional season, and has produced 3.9 points per match in that time.
Meanwhile, Castagne has shown plenty of the same marauding spirit we have come to know of Pereira in 2020/21, exemplified in two key moments against Chelsea.
It was the Belgian who teed up Maddison for his cross-bar shot while he would have been afforded the assist for his long ball forward had Vardy collected possession and slotted past Mendy.
So, where does Pereira fit into the equation? Well, Brendan Rodgers certainly teased Fantasy managers on Tuesday night by deploying him on the right-hand flank of the attacking midfield in the place of Albrighton for the final 15 minutes.
The Portuguese full-back was always going to be someone to monitor upon his return to full fitness, not least because of sustained interest in Justin and Castange.
But if there is a chance of Pereira playing in a more attacking role, then keeping an eye on him just became even more important.
The task of predicting a Chelsea team has become harder in recent weeks and their form has not helped Frank Lampard in that respect either.
The Blues, who have now lost three of their last five Premier League matches, put in an abject display at the King Power Stadium.
Meanwhile, Kurt Zouma‘s (£5.8m) stock has taken another dip as he failed to register so much as one minute on the pitch in two Double Gameweek 19 matches.
As things stand, only three defenders are selected by more managers than Zouma but the third start in four for Antonio Rüdiger (£4.5m) alongside Thiago Silva (£5.6m) is sure to trigger a fire-sale in the build-up to Gameweek 20.
Lampard also made changes to his attack against Leicester, putting Callum Hudson-Odoi (£5.7m) in for Hakim Ziyech (£8.1m), although it is worth pointing out the Englishman has more attacking returns since Gameweek 15 than any other Chelsea asset (two).
Hudson-Odoi was one of the few visiting players to go close on Tuesday night, rippling the side-netting from close range when played through by Christian Pulisic (£8.2m).
Substitute Timo Werner (£9.2m) put the ball in the back of the net but his goal was ruled out for offside after a VAR check.
Leicester City XI (4-1-4-1): Schmeichel; Justin, Evans, Fofana, Castagne; Ndidi; H Barnes, Maddison (Pérez 76′), Tielemans, Albrighton (R Pereira 76′); Vardy (Iheanacho 88′).
Chelsea XI (4-2-3-1): E Mendy; Chilwell, T Silva, Rüdiger, R James; Kovacic, Mount; Pulisic, Havertz (Ziyech 67′), Hudson-Odoi (Werner 68′); Abraham.
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