Chelsea-Leicester City Preview

National Sports

Thomas Tuchel accepts that the onus is on Chelsea to prove they are worthy of winning the Premier League title by maintaining a high level of consistency.

The Blues travel to Leicester City in Saturday’s early kick-off aiming to bounce back for a surprise 1-1 home draw with Burnley prior to the international break.

That was just the third time in 11 matches Chelsea have dropped points this season and they remain three points clear of the chasing pack at the summit.

Ahead of his side’s trip to the King Power Stadium, Tuchel reiterated that being top in November counts for little unless Chelsea can continue to outperform their title rivals.

“Nobody expects the title race to be decided in November. It is good news that we are in the middle of the title race but it is November,” Tuchel said.

“There is a long way to go and it will not help if we speak too much about it. We have to show consistency, like Liverpool and Man City proved over the last years.

“It is on us now to prove we are capable of doing the same thing. We want to be in the middle of the race.”

Mid-table Leicester followed up back-to-back wins with a defeat to Arsenal and a draw with Leeds United in their most recent matches before the two-week hiatus.

It has been a rather inconsistent season for the Foxes, but Brendan Rodgers’ impressive work over the past three years has not gone unnoticed elsewhere.

Despite recent links with the Manchester United job, however, Rodgers insists he is 100 per cent focused on helping Leicester to achieve their own targets.

“I am here as the Leicester manager, proud to be here, privileged to be here and fully committed,” he said.

“I can’t comment on the speculation because it is not something that is real. All the other noise around that is something we can’t control.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Leicester City – James Maddison

Maddison returned to form with an assist and a goal for Leicester in their recent wins over Spartak Moscow and Brentford in the Europa League and Premier League respectively. Having had two weeks to recover from a knock, the attacking midfielder will be eager to hit the ground running and could pose a major threat to Chelsea’s defence.

Chelsea – Kai Havertz

Romelu Lukaku has been ruled out of Saturday’s contest, which will likely mean Havertz – fitness depending – being used as a false nine once again. The Germany international has led the line in Chelsea’s last five games to mixed success. The Blues’ profligacy cost them against Burnley and Tuchel will not want a repeat here.

KEY OPTA FACTS

– Leicester are unbeaten in their last three home Premier League matches against Chelsea (W1 D2), last having a longer unbeaten run on home soil against the Blues in the top-flight between February 1985 and May 1995 at Filbert Street (four draws).

– Chelsea have only lost three of their last 18 Premier League games against Leicester (W10 D5), though one of those was at the King Power last season, a 2-0 defeat in Frank Lampard’s last league game in charge in January.

– In all competitions, Leicester have won two matches against Chelsea in 2021, winning in the Premier League in January and the FA Cup final in May. In the last 10 years, only one team has beaten the Blues three times in a single calendar year (Manchester United in 2019).

– City have lost 14 of their last 16 Premier League games against the league leaders (D2), with their last such victory coming in January 1998 – a 1-0 win against Man Utd at Old Trafford thanks to a Tony Cottee strike.

– Chelsea have won their last three Premier League away games by an aggregate score of 7-0. They have not won four in a row on the road without conceding since December 2008 (a run of six under Felipe Scolari).

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