Chelsea will host Champions Leicester City at the Stamford Bridge on Saturday as they play out another crucial game for the season. The Blues are currently 7th in the Premier League table with 13 points and Leicester are down by a further 5 places in 12th with 8 points from their first 7 games.
It is a big match for both teams as both of them have failed to perform according to expectations so far already having a bit of catching up to do. Leicester City, in particular, have looked very ordinary and exposed this year having conceded 10 goals away from home, which is the worst record in the top flight.
The Foxes are also desperate to get something out of the tie as a loss would mean that they would become the first reigning top-flight champions to lose their opening four away games of the season since Blackburn in 1995-96.
Chelsea, on the other hand, will try to avoid back-to-back home league defeats for the first time since 2011, when they were beaten by Arsenal in October and Liverpool in November.
Chelsea will be without Cesc Fabregas, Branislav Ivanovic and John Obi Mikel who are not match fit. Willian has been granted a compassionate leave till 23rd October after the insurmountable loss of his mother, who lost her battle against cancer. The other absentees for the hosts include Van Ginkel and Kurt Zouma, with both the players suffering from their knee problems set to return in November. However, veteran defender John Terry is back after having recovered from his ankle injury but is doubtful as he lacks match practice.
Leicester City also have Nampalys Mendy and Matty James out due to ankle injuries while the duo of Danny Drinkwater and Shinji Okazaki are doubtful with their groin and ankle problems respectively.
Chelsea (3-5-2): Courtois; Azpilicueta, Cahill, Luiz; Pedro, Moses, Matic, Kanté, Alonso; Hazard, Costa.
Leicester (4-4-2): Schmeichel; Simpson, Huth, Morgan, Fuchs; Mahrez, Amartey, Drinkwater, Albrighton; Slimani, Vardy.
N’Golo Kanté will be the key player for Chelsea as the Frenchman would be required to provide the cover in the middle of the pitch in the 3 man backline of Chelsea to ward off the central attacks of the visitors. It would be interesting to see how he fares against his former employers after having guided them to an excellent title last term.
For Leicester, the key man is Jamie Vardy, who is going through a rough patch currently being without a goal in the last 6 games. Vardy had a shocker against Southampton and Chelsea would be a big test of his character. With the defenders not being at the top of their confidence levels the direct running of the England international would be important in creating spaces for the others to run into or to exploit in the attacking phase.
Chelsea are 4/7 favourites to win the tie as Leicester are rated at 9/2 for an away win. A draw is prices at 16/5 (SkyBet)