After a clear defeat in their Premier League soccer opener, Chelsea will hope to get back on track at home to Leicester City at Stamford Bridge (11.30am ET Sunday).
Chelsea had their moments away to Manchester United last weekend but after going behind to an early penalty, they were unable to prevent their hosts breaking on them at pace as the game opened up after the break. Three more goals subjected them to a 0-4 defeat.
It was far from the start Frank Lampard would have wanted to make as Chelsea head coach. He was keen to make clear in his post-match press conference that he felt there were positives to take from the performance. He did, though, also move to ground expectations for the campaign within what he views as the reality of the club’s current situation.
Chelsea are not at as much of a disadvantage as Lampard is keen to paint it. It is true that a FIFA ban prevented the club from signing players this summer, although they did make Mateo Kovacic’s loan move permanent and bring January signing Christian Pulisic into the squad. They have also lost Eden Hazard, their key attacking contributor, to Real Madrid. But the group isn’t otherwise all that different from the one that finished third last season.
They certainly didn’t appear particularly cowed by Liverpool when the two teams met in the UEFA Super Cup on Wednesday. Olivier Giroud gave them a first-half lead, only for that to be equalized early into the second half. In extra time, Liverpool went ahead, but Chelsea pushed back and again levelled the scores through a Jorginho spot kick. Only penalties eventually separated the sides, with Liverpool winning out.
N’Golo Kante is now back from the injury that ruled him out of the league opener. Likewise Antonio Rudiger and Willian are recovered and in contention for minutes. So Lampard still has a team and squad at his disposal that should be capable of maintaining a challenge for a top-four finish. If they don’t, he is more likely to be to blame than his players.
Sunday’s opponents Leicester came away with a 1-0 victory from last year’s equivalent fixture and also took a point away at Stamford Bridge during the 2017-18 season. They will be eyeing up another positive result in West London this weekend.
Brendan Rodgers’ side began their campaign with a cagey 0-0 draw at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers. It was a match of few chances, in which Leicester struggled to turn possession in high areas into good opportunities on goal. Like Wolves, if they are to take a step forward this season and genuinely challenge for a top-six finish, they will have to become more adept at working their way through packed defences.
Leicester do, though, have the makings of a very good team, especially when you consider their age profile. Starters Ben Chilwell, James Maddison, Hamza Choudhury, Wilfred Ndidi and Youri Tielemans are all 22 or under, while 21-year-old forward Harvey Barnes is an active contributor off the bench. Summer signings Dennis Praet and Ayoze Perez are both in their mid-20s peak. The average age of the starting XI against Wolves was 25.27.
It is a potentially exciting project and one that Rodgers was happy to leave Celtic to become a part of. Leicester’s underlying numbers improved significantly, particularly in attack, during his 10-match run in charge at the end of last season. He has shown sufficient adaptability in previous roles to think he has a chance of really getting Leicester going.
An early scalp of a top-six side would provide a further boost to Leicester’s confidence. Under Rodgers, they defeated Arsenal, drew with Chelsea and suffered a narrow one-goal defeat to Manchester City last season, suggesting that they are capable of giving the bigger teams a run for their money.
Our Preview’s Chelsea vs Leicester Predictions & Betting Picks Verdict
Chelsea were made to look a little naive by Man Utd. Leicester will almost certainly find themselves with more opportunities to attack against an unset defence than they were provided by Wolves last weekend. The end result may very well be a repeat of last season’s win away at Stamford Bridge. So, having looked at all odds with the USA sports betting sites, this is the advised prediction for this Chelsea vs Leicester preview:
- Bet on Leicester to win @ easily the best odds of +425 with Bovada.