After narrowly missing out on the chance to win a trophy in Istanbul, Frank Lampard’s new-look Chelsea are back in action in the Premier League this weekend.
The Blues lost 4-0 at Old Trafford in the opening matchweek, and lost the UEFA Super Cup game on penalties to Liverpool on Wednesday. But in both games, the effect Lampard has had on the squad has been visible.
Chelsea will look to bounce back this weekend when they welcome Leicester City at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
The Foxes were involved in a 0-0 draw at home against Wolves on the opening day. Brendan Rodgers’ men have an exciting squad, and remain the last team to beat Chelsea at the Bridge.
Rodgers has every reason to believe that his side can get something from this game, but the Blues will be desperate to get off the mark with a win.
There are a number of quality players in both squads, which will make for an exciting watch. But here are three key battles that could decide the outcome:
Chelsea vs Leicester City – 3 Key Battles
Christian Pulisic vs Ricardo Pereira
The American international failed to make an impact off the bench in Chelsea’s game against Manchester United. But he started the game against Liverpool in Turkey and was unstoppable at times.
He set up the goal for Olivier Giroud, kept Joel Matip busy all game and troubled Joe Gomez, who was finally taken off.
Pulisic’s movement with and without the ball made Chelsea a more exciting side, but this weekend, the 20-year-old will face one of the best full-backs in the league in Pereira.
The Portuguese international was one of the best players for the Foxes against Wolves, and will relish this chance against one of the most exciting wingers in Europe. This battle has the potential to decide the outcome of the game.
Kurt Zouma vs Jamie Vardy
Arguably the most underrated striker in the Premier League at the moment, Vardy is a consistent goal scorer for Leicester City. He found the back of the net on his last visit to The Bridge, and looked in decent touch at King Power last weekend.
Vardy loves to score against the top 6 sides, and will be up against Kurt Zouma, who had a forgettable evening at Old Trafford.
The French defender did well against Liverpool, but against a natural striker like Vardy, he could be easily exposed. Keeping the English international away from goal will be crucial for Chelsea’s chances in this game, and Zouma cannot afford to have an average game against a striker of Vardy’s quality.
N’Golo Kante vs Youri Tielemans
The Belgian midfielder seems to be a perfect fit for Rodgers’ system at Leicester. He ran the show in the middle of the park against Wolves, and registered more key passes than any other player in that game.
Tielemans is tricky and hard to mark, but Chelsea have the perfect player to negate him in N’Golo Kante. The French midfielder was Chelsea’s best player in the Super Cup. He carried the ball out of the midfield, reducing pressure on his backline but in this game, he will have to make sure that Tielemans is not afforded space or time on the ball in the midfield.
Kante is easily the best defensive midfielder in the game, but he will have his work cut out against the Leicester City midfielder, who is in fine form.