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Premier League: Chelsea vs Leicester City Preview

Another weekend of Premier League action is set to start after the international break. Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea will head to Leicester on Saturday to face the Foxes at the King Power Stadium. The Blues have had the perfect start to the season, keeping ahead of defending champions Manchester City in the race for the Premier League title. Brendan Rodgers’ side on the other hand have fallen from their glory – sitting in the bottom half of the table with just 15 points so far. 

Here’s our preview of Saturday’s Premier League fixture between Leicester City and Chelsea: 

 

LEICESTER CITY

Nothing seems to go right for the Foxes as they face troubles both at home and abroad. Starting the season with high expectations, they had a nightmarish start to the season after failing to defeat minnows like Burnley, Brighton and Crystal Palace. Brendan Rodgers’ side have not managed to spark in the games against the ‘big six’ clubs, with an emphatic 4-2 win over Manchester United being the lone exception. They succumbed to a 1-0 victory in the hands of Manchester City before being thoroughly dominated by Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal last month. 

After 11 games in the Premier League, they are yet to record a clean sheet – a sign of the inherent weaknesses in the defensive unit. Jonny Evans has been the sole performer at the back while Jannik Vestergaard, Daniel Amartey and Caglar Soyuncu have all struggled to click. Jamie Vardy has been leading the team from the front with 7 goals, but the rest of the attacking unit has failed to live up to its potential. The team has scored just three goals in their last three matches, and with an already weak defensive unit conceding goals at the back, there is increased pressure on Harvey Barnes and Youri Tielemans to perform. 

James Justin, Marc Albrighton and Wesley Fofana are still recovering from their injuries. Youri Tielemans has picked up a calf injury in the 1-1 draw against Leeds United, but he is likely to be available in time for the Chelsea fixture. Brendan Rodgers is likely to stick with the 4-3-3 setup, with Jamie Vardy being the key to scoring goals against the solid defence of Chelsea.

 

CHELSEA

Since Thomas Tuchel took charge at Stamford Bridge in January, the Blues have managed to execute a turnaround for the ages that saw them win the UEFA Champions League. Entering the season placed behind the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool in the race for the title, Thomas Tuchel and his men have now made themselves the favourites to win the trophy. Just one defeat in 11 fixtures so far combined with a Goal Difference of 23 have placed the Blues comfortably at the top of the table. Their only losses of the season have been against defending champions Manchester City and Juventus in the Champions League. Chelsea will enter the fixture on the back of a 1-1 draw against Burnley that saw their streak of four back-to-back wins come to an end. 

The absence of Romelu Lukaku has been the main concern for Thomas Tuchel, but the Belgian star has been seen training along with the rest of the team and might have some game time on Saturday. Mason Mount is the other major concern for Tuchel, but he is likely to be available in time for the fixture. In the absence of Lukaku, Kai Havertz has been performing the role of a false-nine for the Blues. It is by relying on their defensive unit that Chelsea have won their matches on – they have conceded just four goals in the season so far, the lowest in the league. Thiago Silva and Antonio Rudiger have their task cut out on Saturday – preventing the explosive Jamie Vardy from coming anywhere near the ball.  

 

HEAD TO HEAD

The rivalry between both sides has been picking up in intensity over the past few years with the rise of Leicester City as a top-tier club. Of the 120 fixtures played between both sides, Chelsea hold the upper hand with 58 wins, while levelling 34 matches. But the Foxes have managed to make up the difference in recent years – owing both to their growth as well as the fall of Chelsea from their glory days. Chelsea have managed to win just three of their last ten encounters against Leicester and had to contend with a defeat last season. The FA Cup final contested last year between both sides ended in a 1-0 victory for the Foxes, giving them their first-ever FA Cup title.

 

WHAT TO EXPECT

Despite entering the game with a spate of injuries, Thomas Tuchel’s squad are still a mighty unit. A rock-solid defensive unit combined with aggression upfront even in the absence of their two lead strikers makes them favourites to win the fixture. But Brendan Rodgers’ side are slowly discovering their rhythm – with just one loss in the last eight encounters, they are a tough side to crack. With the added incentive of a potential Manchester United signing in the offing, Brendan Rodgers is likely to bring out his best tactics for the game to sneak out a victory like the one against the Red Devils at home. 

Leicester City Predicted XI:  Kasper Schmeichel, Caglar Soyuncu, Jonny Evans, Daniel Amartey, Timothy Castagne, Boubakary Soumare, Youri Tielemans, James Maddison, Luke Thomas, Jamie Vardy, Kelechi Iheanacho

Chelsea Predicted XI:  Edouard Mendy, Thiago Silva, Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen, Ben Chilwell, N’Golo Kante, Jorginho, Recce James, Mason Mount; Kai Havertz, Callum Hudson-Odoi

When: Saturday, 20th November, 6:00 PM IST

Where: King Power Stadium, LeicesterWhere to Watch: All Premier League fixtures will be featured on Disney+ Hotstar. Select matches will be telecasted live on Star Sports and Star Sports Select Channels.

 

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