There won’t be an international break until 2022, which means the next period of Premier League football will make or break seasons for many teams. Chelsea will know that they must maintain their high standards in order to stay at the top of the division. Meanwhile, Leicester City will need to be much better over the coming weeks if they are to emerge as contenders for the top six again. Unlike their opposition this weekend, the Foxes have been plagued with inconsistency.
The ongoing speculation about the long term future of Brendan Rodgers is becoming a distraction at the King Power Stadium. This season, he has been linked to the jobs at Newcastle United, Manchester United and touted as a potential successor for Pep Guardiola at Manchester City. Throughout this period, there seems to be a hesitancy for the manager to come out and completely pledge his allegiance to the club. The ongoing speculation over the future of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could see Rodgers move to Old Trafford before the end of 2021. It will be interesting to see how his team performs this weekend.
Thomas Tuchel has had an excellent 2021 in charge of Chelsea and the German will be desperate to finish the calendar year at the top of the table. His Champions League triumph caught the eye, but he will want to prove that he can deliver a league winning season. This is a big fixture for him, as Leicester City are a very good side. They have the individual talent to beat any team in the league. However, if the Blues are going to win the league title, they need to be winning matches like this one. They have been very consistent in the big matches under Tuchel. This is another chance for the players to further emerge as title favourites.
- Leicester City haven’t kept a Premier League clean sheet since the opening day of the season.
- Chelsea could win their fourth successive Premier League away match on Saturday. This will be the first time they have done this since December 2008.
It is in the big matches that Jamie Vardy usually thrives. During his career, he has scored 46 goals against the top six clubs in 93 matches. This is roughly a goal every other game, which is exceptional considering he hasn’t been playing for one of those clubs. However, Chelsea are the opposition he scored the least against, with only four goals in 17 matches. This is a great opportunity for the striker to improve on that record, as his pace and movement still causes problems at this level. Chelsea are well organised at the back, as shown by their excellent defensive record. The Blues have only conceded four times in their first 11 matches. It will be challenging for Leicester City to get a positive result this weekend, but if they are, they will need their talisman to perform. Vardy has started the season in good form, with seven goals so far. Only Mohamed Salah has scored more.
The left back has had a very good last couple of months. After a disappointing European Championships and slow start to the campaign, Ben Chilwell is one of the first names on the team sheet for Thomas Tuchel. He offers a more balanced defensive option at wing-back than Marcos Alonso. This year, Chilwell is carrying a much bigger attacking threat, with his movement in the final third catching the eye. He continues to get into goal-scoring positions with regularity and displays striking instincts at times. During the international break, he continued his good form with two impressive performances for England. In his five Premier League appearances this season, he has scored three goals and carried a threat in every game. He is averaging two shots and 1.4 key passes per game. This weekend offers the England international an opportunity to go to his former club. He will be desperate to play well and help his current team get three points.
Youri Tielemans will be missing with a calf injury until December. Marc Albrighton could be passed fit to feature. Meanwhile, Ryan Bertrand, James Justin and Wesley Fofana remain long term absentees.
Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner are both nearing a return, but it is unclear whether they will feature this weekend. Marcos Alonso, Mason Mount and Mateo Kovacic are all expected to be available.
This is a tough match to call, as Leicester City are at home and they have the talent to cause an upset. The injury situations at both clubs does suggest Chelsea should be winning this weekend. The absence of Tielemans will be huge for Leicester, while the visitors are getting several key players back this weekend. Thomas Tuchel’s men have been professional in the league so far this season. They should have the quality to get the three points.
Leicester City 0-2 Chelsea