Thursday, March 23, 2023

Former Champions Vs The Holders: 3 Key Battles When Chelsea Take On Leicester City

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Snehanjan Banerjee
Snehanjan used to a former columnist at The 4th Official. Fan of KK, Cricket and Liverpool (in no particular order).

Chelsea and Leicester City- the champions from the last couple of seasons will go head to head against each other on Saturday in the opening game of matchday eight in the Premier League. Both sides are struggling for form so far this season. After shocking the whole world by going all the way to win the title last time out, Leicester City’s start to the new campaign has been a massive letdown. On the other hand, Antonio Conte’s arrival at Stamford Bridge has been pretty underwhelming despite a solid start.

The Blues put an end to their run of three straight league matches without a win by beating Hull City before the international break. The two sides had locked horns against each other earlier this season when they played in the third round of the League Cup. Chelsea came out victorious in the dramatic game thanks to a late brace from Cesc Fabregas. Leicester City will be desperate for a revenge while Chelsea will be looking to gain momentum by brushing aside the Premier League holders.

Here are three key battles those could decide the outcome of the game when the two sides face each other.

Jamie Vardy Vs Gary Cahill

Both English internationals have been quite poor so far this season. Much bigger things were expected of Vardy this season after his 24-goal season in the Premier League last time out. The 29-year-old’s performance was one of the key reasons why Leicester City managed to win the title last season and his poor form is one of the biggest reasons for Leicester underperforming this campaign.

However, with his pace and direct gameplay, Vardy is always a big threat especially considering that he will be partnered by Islam Slimani who is a force in the air and is a deadly finisher.

Vardy operates on the left in Leicester City’s two-pronged attack and will be facing his compatriot Gary Cahill who is likely to start on the right of a three-man defence. Cahill has been underperforming big time this season but he has to pick up his game in order to deal with Vardy.

Leicester City's Italian manager Claudio Ranieri (L) gestures as he talks with Leicester City's English striker Jamie Vardy (R) on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Hull City and Leicester City at the KCOM Stadium in Kingston upon Hull, north east England on August 13, 2016. / AFP / Lindsey PARNABY / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo credit should read LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP/Getty Images)

N’Golo Kanté Vs Nampalys Mendy

One of the biggest reasons for Leicester City doing poor this season is a massive Kanté-sized hole in Leicester City midfield. Kante’s departure has hit the Foxes big time and further problems were raised by the injury to his direct replacement Nampalys Mendy. However, the summer signing from Nice is finally back from injury and is likely to start for the Foxes and will battle his compatriot Kanté.

Kanté and Mendy are pretty similar in style. Whoever comes out on top statistically when the two French midfield dynamos take on each other could be part of the team that gets the better result.

Diego Costa Vs Robert Huth

Diego Costa is in the form of his life at the moment having scored six goals and setting up two from eight games in all competitions this season. The Spanish international has been brilliant since Conte took over Chelsea and will be keen to keep up his form by finding the net against Leicester City. A clinical finisher and someone who works exceptionally hard to make opponent defenders’ lives hard, Costa will be looking to tear apart Leicester City’s struggling defence.

Ex-Chelsea defender Robert Huth will start against his former club and his job will be to stop the most in-form striker in the Premier League at the moment. Huth’s form has been quite disappointing this season just like the whole of the Leicester City defence but the German stopper must pick up his game in order to stop Costa.

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