Defending Champions Chelsea head to the King Power Stadium, where they will face Craig Shakespeare’s Leicester City in the first of their seven games this month.
Chelsea, after a shock defeat at the hands of Burnley in their first game of the season at Stamford Bridge, bounced back and won two back-to-back games against Tottenham Hotspur away and Everton at home, quashing rumours of dressing room unrest and managerial trouble.
Leicester on the other hand, have had a mixed start to the season. A 4-3 loss to Arsenal was followed by back-to-back victories against Brighton and Sheffield Wednesday after which they lost to Manchester United at Old Trafford before the international break.
Craig Shakespeare will be without the services of Robert Huth and summer signing Vicente Iborra. Huth, despite recovering from his ankle injury, isn’t match fit while Iborra is still recovering from his groin injury. Shakespeare will however, will be boosted by the return of captain Wes Morgan.
The Foxes used a 4-2-3-1 formation against United last week and will likely stick to that same formation this time around given their available personnel and the attacking quality in the Chelsea ranks. They could however, switch to a 4-4-2 with Kelechi Iheanacho upfront alongside Jamie Vardy.
The Foxes are expected to lineup in the same formation, comprising of the same personnel that lost to Manchester United in their previous League fixture. Ndidi and James will be tasked with keeping Kante and Fabregas at bay, while Morgan and Maguire are sure to have their hands full with Alvaro Morata.
Predicted Starting XI: Kasper Schmeichel; Danny Simpson, Wes Morgan, Harry Maguire, Christian Fuchs; Matty James, Onyinye Ndidi; Riyad Mahrez, Shinji Okazaki, Marc Albrighton; Jamie Vardy
Antonio Conte will have a fully fit squad at his disposal, ready for selection. Eden Hazard has recovered from his injury and played for his national side during the break and it remains to be seen whether Antonio Conte chooses to use the Belgian from the very beginning.
Conte will however, be without the services of Captain Gary Cahill, who will be serving the last of his 3 match suspensions. Antonio Rudiger will likely take his place in the left side of their back three, but Andreas Christensen also in contention for a starting spot.
While Chelsea’s newest summer signings Davide Zappacosta and Danny Drinkwater are also available, it is unlikely they will be thrown into the starting XI. However, they will likely be handed their Chelsea debuts at some point over the course of the match.
Conte could still try to use a 3-5-2 formation and we may see the Blues experiment with it in the later stages of the game now that Bakayoko and Hazard have returned to full fitness, but he will likely start with the same 3-4-3 formation as their last game against Everton.
Predicted Starting XI: Thibaut Courtois; Cesar Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Rudiger; Victor Moses, Cesc Fabregas, N’golo Kante, Marcos Alonso; Willian, Alvaro Morata, Pedro
- Chelsea have not won a Premier League away fixture in September in the last four seasons.
- Leicester City are looking to win their first two top flight home fixtures for the first time since 1966.
- Chelsea have beaten Leicester City in 11 of their last 13 clashes across all competitions.
- Leicester City have lost 5 of their previous 6 home matches against Chelsea.
- Leicester City have won 19 points at home out of a possible 24 during Craig Shakespeare’s time as manager. Only Jurgen Klopp has a better record in that time.
1. Chelsea to win @ 1.80
1. Leicester 0-1 Chelsea @ 7.00
Leicester City 0-2 Chelsea
With a fully fit squad at his disposal which will be bolstered by new signings, Antonio Conte will have no shortage of quality to choose from. The Blues have a good record against the Foxes and it is only likely to get better when the two sides face each at the King Power.
Leicester will certainly look to make it difficult for them and have the likes of Vardy and Mahrez who can produce moments of magic, but the gulf of quality separating the two sides seems too great at this point and The Hard Tackle predicts a hard fought 2-0 victory for the defending champions.