International breaks are always nervous times for managers across Europe’s top leagues and they sweat over whether the players will be returning in their full fitness, fortunately there are no casualties for both Chelsea and Leicester City who lock horns here at the Stamford Bridge on Saturday. Having got the better of Chelsea last season winning the first fixture emphatically and sharing the honors in the second only after Leicester were crowned the champions. The fixture falls at a time when both teams are looking to shrug away the criticism and flak they have been drawing due to their recent performances in the Premier League. Midfielder N’golo Kante will face a visit from his former club and it will be interesting to see how he will fare against his old club having played under par so far this season but impressed in a 2-0 win over the Tigers last match.
For Leicester City they started this season to prove wrong they are more than a one season wonder and have so far have had a mixed bag of performances rather disappointing lately. Coming off from 4-1 drubbing in the hands of Manchester United and being ousted from the EFL cup by Chelsea who outclasses them in the extra time courtesy of a Fabregas brace, Ranieri will be looking to crank up things, induce a fresh energy into the team and start from a new mark. They sit third in the points table if the HOME games are accounted for and surprisingly last if AWAY games are accounted for, something they’ll be looking to improve on in the coming fixtures and a win at Stamford Bridge will certainly help – aggregate 12th in the league. “It is difficult to say why, in the first match we were unlucky as we created chances, the other two matches we deserved to lose, Liverpool and Manchester were better than us.” said Ranieri of their barren run.
Chelsea on the other hand too are in a spot of bother having won only 1 in their last 4 outings and rumors of Antonio Conte’s job in danger have emerged which have made the situation worse at the Bridge. Massive weak links in the back four in absence of John Terry and Kurt Zouma have cost them heavily and if they are to show up a decent performance, first they’ll have to sort out that back four. Speaking in an interview to a local channel Conte said “I feel completely secure in my position at the club and I’m sure I will be given all the time I need to start getting the results expected of me. People have this image of Roman as a shadowy short-tempered despot, but he wouldn’t hurt a fly.” Chelsea are sitting 7th in the points table already 5 points off the leaders.
John Terry is fit again for Chelsea and is expected to line up alongside Gary Cahill and David Luiz in a 3-man defence.
Willian will not play in the match, following the death of his mother.
Claudio Ranieri will take into account Tuesday night’s Champions League match against Copenhagen when selecting his side. Chelsea, on the other hand, does not have European football to worry about this season.
Nampalys Mendy remains out after suffering a recurrence of his ankle injury, meaning Daniel Amartey is likely to partner Danny Drinkwater in central midfield.
• Cesc Fabregas have netted three goals in the last two meetings with Leicester City across all formats.
• Leicester City have lost all of their 3 away games this season, last time when reigning top flight champions lost their opening 4 games of season were Blackburn in 1995-96.
• Jamie Vardy has averaged 281 minutes per goal in Premier League this season, a significant drop form last season where he managed 131 mins. Per goal.
• Since Diego Costa joined Chelsea only Sergio Aguero and Harry Kane have scored more goals than him.
• 8 of Chelsea’s last 13 top flight games at Stamford Bridge have ended in a draw.
• Excluding penalties, Chelsea are one of just two sides yet to score a goal from a set piece situation this season apart form Sunderland.