As the last two champions of the Premier League, the clash between Chelsea and Leicester promises ninety minutes of high quality football.
Following the international break, it’s West London where the action resumes, as Conte’s seventh placed Chelsea welcome Leicester City where a win and three points for either side will be really crucial ahead of what is generally a crucial month for building momentum. Chelsea have accrued 13 points from a possible 21 so far following that comfortable 2-0 win at Hull, definitely a less calamitous start than last season under Mourinho. Having already beat Ranieri’s side in the league cup a few weeks ago, it is hard to imagine why they cannot do the same at home.
Leicester City have found it difficult to hit the levels they did for most part of the last campaign. They have endured some difficult results along the way – shipping four goals each at Anfield and Old Trafford. The Foxes are struggling to find their rhythm in the Premier League although they have arguably been the best English team in the Champions League, which suggests they can beat anyone on their day, something that Claudio Ranieri has always insisted on, since he took over the reins at Leicester. With 8 points from 7 games including their most recent 0-0 draw against Southampton in the league, it will be fascinating to see if they can get their season up and running after this momentary blip.
The week after the international break is always tricky but Chelsea have no fresh injury concerns meaning Conte can field his best 11 for the early kick off on Saturday.
Ranieri, has hinted at some squad rotation after admitting his squad had been overworked in the last three weeks which saw them involve in 7 games. Okazaki and Ben Chilwell have been deemed fit but he has confirmed that midfielder Mendy who is suffering from the recurrence of the knee injury, will not be involved on Saturday.
- Chelsea are unbeaten in their last 6 home games against Leicester in all competitions, with 5 wins and a solitary draw.
- The last 4 meetings between these two sides in all competitions have seen both teams scoring at least a goal.
- Leicester City earned a 1-1 draw when they visited Stamford Bridge last season, while they won the home fixture by a 2-1 margin. While Chelsea were victorious in each of the previous 6 Premier League clashes against Leicester.
Diego Costa – Chelsea
Despite the pre-season musings about the Spaniard wanting a return to his previous team Atletico Madrid, the 28-year old has been in scintillating form in front of goal netting 6 goals so far topping the goalscoring table. Without European football, Chelsea have the minor advantage of extra preparation and rest before games and a better prepared and fitter Diego Costa can only propel them to wherever they want to reach.
Riyad Mahrez – Leicester City
Voted as the best player in the league last campaign, Mahrez is yet to influence games for the Premier League champions in a way he did so consistently last season. A player that is ‘good enough to play for Barcelona’ according to Xavi Hernandez, can be as good as any in the league on his day and the game at Stamford Bridge is probably the best time for him to announce the rest of the Premier League that he is back to his best again.
It should be a tight game with Leicester trying to keep their defensive shape and counter attack when an opportunity presented itself. So, a score-draw for me with plenty of half chances for both sides.
Chelsea 1-1 Leicester City