Premier League title favorites Chelsea take on another newly promoted side this weekend, welcoming Leicester City to Stamford Bridge this Saturday hoping to repeat last week’s 3-1 dismantling of Burnley at Turf Moor. Leicester will be hoping to snatch at least a point off the title contenders, having rallied brilliantly (twice) against Everton last weekend to tie the game 2-2, but will know that Chelsea will be on a whole other level compared to the Toffees.
Chelsea defeated Leicester City in the 2011/12 FA Cup quarter-finals by a scoreline of 5-2 at Stamford Bridge. They went on to lift both the FA Cup and the Champions League trophies that season.
Midfielders Danny Drinkwater and Matty James will both be sidelined for the match against Chelsea, with Drinkwater sustaining a hamstring injury picked up during the Everton game. Matt Upson is still sidelined with his foot injury that will keep him out for an extended period of time. However, City have been boosted by the news that winger Marc Albrighton and striker Jamie Vardy are both back in contention for the trip to Stamford Bridge.
The 2013/14 season saw Leicester win their seventh second tier title, equalling the record for the most second tier titles set by Manchester City.
Along the way, they broke several club records including most points in a single season (102), most league wins in a single season (31), most league home wins in a single season (17), the most consecutive league wins (9), the most consecutive away league wins (5) and the longest unbeaten run away from home in the league (13) and the most consecutive league games scored in (31) (the latter two records continued on to the following season).
The teams first met in September 1905, with Chelsea winning the game 1-0.
Each of the last four PL title-winning teams has started their season on Monday night, as Chelsea did against Burnley last weekend.
Head-to-head: CHE:49 LEI:24 D:29
Chelsea – Cesc Fabregas
Cesc Fabregas had a near perfect start for Chelsea against Burnley last weekend, putting in a Man of the Match performance on his PL debut for the Blues that Arsenal fans everywhere would surely have hated to see. He played a part in all three Chelsea goals; a fantastic backheel for Branislav Ivanovic that allowed the full-back space to cross on the first goal, THAT pass to Andre Schürrle for their second, and a well-taken corner kick that was thumped home by Ivanovic to seal the three points for the Blues. He also made the most interceptions of any Chelsea player on the pitch (3) and had the best passing accuracy (88%) of anyone bar Eden Hazard, who finished the game with an astonishing 93% accuracy rate. It is unlikely that he’ll be able to operate at this level week in week out, but Jose Mourinho will need him to be on top of his game to unlock a resolute Leicester defense; indeed, it was against teams lower in the table that Chelsea struggled to get results against, and Mourinho will be hoping that won’t be the case this time around.
Leicester – Leonardo Ulloa
The former Brighton and Hove Albion striker opened his Premier League account with a 20th minute equalizer against the Toffees on Saturday, but he will have to be at his clinical best to finish any of the few chances that will come his way against a stingy Chelsea defense. The 28 year old Argentine ended the game with a 75% pass accuracy, but must be wary of giving the ball away against the Blues and their lightning quick counter attack. He will also have to be wary of being booked, having committed the most fouls (3) of anyone on the pitch last weekend. He is weak in the air, winning only 40% of his aerial duels against the Toffees (and 35.3% over the course of the 2013/14 season in the Championship), so it is likely he’ll hold the ball up and attempt to make runs behind the defense to crack the impervious Terry-Cahill central defense partnership.
Projected Starting XIs
Chelsea: 4-2-3-1: Courtois – Ivanovic,Cahill,Terry,Azpilicueta – Matic,Fabregas – Willian,Oscar,Hazard – Costa.
Leicester: 4-4-2: Schmeichel – Laet,Moore,Morgan,Konchesky – Mahrez,King,Hammond,Knockaert – Ulloa,Nugent
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Leicester may have taken a point off the Toffees but Chelsea are in a league of their own, and Mourinho will expect nothing less than 3 points from his expensively assembled squad.
Chelsea 3-0 Leicester City
All Stats courtesy Squawka.