Chelsea finish out a busy week even by winter scheduling standards with a home match against the champions of three seasons ago. It will be the third match in seven days, although only three players, goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga and defenders Antonio Rüdiger and César Azpilicueta have played the full 180 minutes. The rotation is working!
Liverpool already won this weekend (2-0 at Wolves on Friday night) and confirmed themselves as Premier League Christmas No.1s. Chelsea’s main aim remains on finishing in the top four.
“I’ve never seen Chelsea like a contender for the title. I always said that at the moment there are two teams a step ahead of us.”
-Maurizio Sarri; source: BBC
With three points today, we would at least temporarily move into third, one point ahead of Tottenham, who play away at Everton on Sunday.
Date / Time: Saturday, December 22, 2018, 15:00 GMT; 10am EST; 8:30pm IST
Venue: Stamford Bridge, SW6
Referee: Lee Probert — this will be just the second Chelsea match for Lee Probert since 2014. The other? Last year’s 3-0 home defeat at the hands of AFC Bournemouth.
Forecast: Mild with a bit of a breeze ... and possible sunshine? WHAT??
On TV: none (UK); CNBC (USA); Star Sports Select HD2 (India); elsewhere
Streaming online: NBC Sports Live (USA); Hotstar (India); Chelsea TV (audio commentary only — int’l); Fubo TV (affiliate link — USA only)
Chelsea team news: Andreas Christensen was added to the steadily busy rotation in the treatment room, joining Álvaro Morata, Mateo Kovačić, and Eden Hazard among its recent customers. While the latter two are probably good to go for solid minutes, Morata may only be fit for the bench, if that, and that only if Sarri does not decide to use Hazard as a center forward once, just as he has in the last two Premier League matches (both wins, against Manchester City, 2-0, and Brighton, 2-1).
After a bit of up-and-down form silliness, Chelsea seem to have steadied the ship a bit and are now four unbeaten, starting with that most excellent 2-0 win over City. It would be imperative for our top-four hopes to keep that form going with four Premier League games coming up in a row (in just 12 days) as we head into the second half of the season.
Leicester City team news: The Foxes have shown steady mid-table form in the first-half of the season, though things certainly could’ve gone better. And with just one win in six, the pressure is “starting to mount”, as pressure often tends to do when it gets bored with not doing anything.
But they showed great resiliency in taking Manchester City to penalty kicks in the League Cup on Tuesday, and if James Maddison and Jamie Vardy are on song (and not hurt in the case of the latter), they can be dangerous indeed.
Chelsea haven’t lost to Leicester since José Mourinho’s second sacking just a little over three years ago, but this fixture last year ended in 0-0 disappointment, and that should be
View from the enemy: Fosse Posse
Previously: After the aforementioned 0-0, Chelsea met Leicester in the FA Cup, with Pedro scoring the extra-time winner to send the Blues to the semifinals.