The odds favour Conte for hat-trick over Ranieri

Thu Jan 12, 2017 8:50am GMT

By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - Several bookmakers had suspended betting on Antonio Conte being sacked as Chelsea manager the last time the Italian's side played compatriot Claudio Ranieri's Leicester City in the Premier League.

The run-up to that October clash at Stamford Bridge now sounds like an echo from another era for both managers as they prepare for what should be another lively evening at the King Power Stadium on Saturday.

Then, Chelsea were only seventh in the table with 13 points from four wins, a draw and two defeats and their boss found himself on the defensive, trying to make light of all the speculation.

A supportive Ranieri ventured to suggest that Chelsea, the side he once managed, were still likely to finish in the top four.

Now, Conte arrives at what was once a fortress for the Foxes cushioned by a five point lead over Liverpool at the top of the table and a run of 13 league wins in a row ended only this month by Tottenham Hotspur.

Conte, whose side hammered Leicester 3-0 in that Oct. 15 battle of the last two champions after also beating them 4-2 in the League Cup third round in September, is now up for a hat-trick of wins over Ranieri's struggling side.

Chelsea are also clear favourites to reclaim the title taken from them last season.

Leicester, who were 12th in October with just two wins from seven league games, are now 15th and six points off the drop zone with only three more victories to their credit over the intervening three months.   Continued...

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte  Reuters / Stefan Wermuth Livepic
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