Chelsea take a break from playing Arsenal all the time and host the only other team to have won the Premier League in the last three seasons. Mayhap that could also mean that Chelsea take a break from drawing all the time and win a game, even.
Unbeaten in nine but winless in three, Chelsea could use a little boost before taking on more midweek Cup duties (Norwich FA Cup replay next; Arsenal League Cup semifinal second leg to follow a week after). Unlike his remarkably poor record against Arsenal, Conte is a perfect 4-for-4 against the Foxes, with 12 scored and 3 conceded in all competitions.
Let’s keep that going.
Date / Time: Saturday, January 13, 2018, 15:00 GMT; 10am EST; 8:30pm IST
Venue: Stamford Bridge, SW6
Referee: Mike Jones — first Chelsea game of the season for the 49-year-old, who was in charge of last season’s 3-0 win over Bournemouth on Boxing Day and the 2-0 win over Southampton at St.Mary’s.
Forecast: Cold, breezy
On TV: none (UK); NBCSN (USA); Star Sports Select HD1 (India); elsewhere
Streaming online: NBC Sports Live Extra, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo (USA); Hotstar (India)
Chelsea team news: Just 2 losses in the last 22 games in all competitions for Conte’s men, but the 4 draws in the last 6, including 3 on the bounce, have left a bit of a Hiddink-esque aftertaste around the place. On the plus side, outside of the two silly goals given up to Arsenal ten days ago, Chelsea have pretty much kept Courtois’s goal on lockdown. But goals at the other end have dried up as well, and Chelsea have managed back-to-back goalless draws for the first time in over five years. Meanwhile, Stamford Bridge has been turned back into a fortress, with the 1-0 loss to Manchester City 3.5 months ago the last time Chelsea didn’t collect at least a share of the spoils (14 wins, 3 draws).
Conte should have a full squad to call upon — pending his press conference, coming up shortly — though all the key first-choice players were involved on Wednesday, so perhaps Conte will be forced into a rotation or two.
Leicester City team news: Leicester had themselves a festive rough period with four losses in five games in the second half of December dropping them back a bit in the table. Still, they sit solidly in the middle, 8 wins, 8 losses, and a goal difference of +2. The 50-50 pattern continues across the home and away split, too, which will be something to pay great attention to, especially given their counter-attacking prowess.
A boost for them in that vein is the return to fitness of Jamie Vardy, who missed their FA Cup match last weekend with a minor groin injury and has a knack for scoring against the “big six” teams (including the last time he faced Chelsea). Claude Puel will be without right back Danny Simpson and center back Wes Morgan.
In an intriguing twist of fate, midfielder Adrien Silva is set to make his first start for Leicester — he is the player they signed to replace Chelsea-bound Danny Drinkwater but missed the FIFA registration deadline by minutes on transfer deadline day. Silva had to thus sit out for four months before being allowed to make his debut on New Year’s Day as a substitute.
View from the enemy: Fosse Posse
Previously: N’Golo Kanté scored what proved to be a winning goal and Eden Hazard made his first appearance of the season after recovering from a broken ankle back in early September as Chelsea won 2-1.