On Saturday afternoon, Chelsea welcome Leicester City to Stamford Bridge as the Premier League resumes after its hiatus last weekend due to the FA Cup.
While it might not seem like it when you look at the table, the Chelsea supporters could really use a nice, calm weekend with no fuss and a comfortable Chelsea win.
The Blues currently sit third in the Premier League, but despite having lost just two matches in all competitions since October, something doesn’t feel quite right within the Chelsea ranks, and with two draws against Arsenal and a draw with Norwich in their last three matches, a straightforward win against a resurgent Leicester team could at very least give Chelsea a mental boost.
Leicester would seem the right opponent for Chelsea, given that Chelsea have won the last four meetings between the two sides, but Leicester have started to show signs of life after naming Claude Puel manager back in October.
Despite a bit of a rocky patch over the Christmas period, Puel’s Leicester side have climbed off the bottom of the Premier League and into eighth place. A win over Huddersfield in their last Premier League match ended a four-match winless run in the league, and Leicester will hope to get something from Stamford Bridge to continue gaining momentum.
But despite their managerial change, Leicester are still Leicester, and one of the things the Foxes have found difficult over the last few meetings with Chelsea is a way to crack their back three.
Stylistically, Leicester remain the same. They’re a team that is well-structured and like to use the pace of Jamie Vardy and the creativity of Riyad Mahrez on the counter attack. Against Chelsea lately, Vardy has had his moments, but it’s been far more difficult trying to run in behind a defence that has a spare man.
While Leicester will likely be up for a fight, Chelsea must match their level of play, especially given that the side has looked short of ideas and confidence in recent weeks. The thrilling 2-2 draw at Arsenal aside, the Blues have looked as if they’ve just been going through the motions at times, leading to some rather uninspiring performances from a few players.
This match against Leicester has the potential to be a rather tricky fixture to navigate if the players don’t play to their potential on Saturday. Dropped points to Leicester could be vital as Liverpool, Arsenal, and Tottenham all have started to close the gap on Chelsea’s hold on third place.
Maintaining the gap to fourth place is necessary as the fixtures continue to pile up for the Blues over the next couple of months.