Saturday afternoon in London, the winners of three of the past eight Premier League titles, Chelsea and Leicester City (2015-16), square off in a battle of high-profile clubs looking to reverse disappointing starts to the 2022-23 season. Admittedly, those league do now seem a ways in the past, as Chelsea’s two triumphs came in 2014-15 and 2016-17, with Leicester’s miraculous 2015-16 campaign sandwiched in between.
Of course, in the intervening years Chelsea have managed a pair of top-three finishes and won the FA Cup (2018), Europa League (2019) and the Champions League (2021), while Leicester have reached the quarterfinals of the Champions League (2017), won the FA Cup (2021) and, just last season, reached the semifinals of the Europa Conference League. Though it’s still extremely early in the season, these sides must right the ship very quickly if they’re going to even come close to replicating those past successes.
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Chelsea vs Leicester City match stats
Chelsea’s current campaign started inauspiciously but decently enough, with an underwhelming 1-0 away win over Everton, followed by a very impressive performance the following week in their home opener against Tottenham, in which the Blues were clearly the superior side and came within mere seconds of having that reflected in the result, only to have a 96th-minute Harry Kane header level the score at 2-2 and send both sides home with a lone point. Though each of those first two results was less-than-ideal in its own way, neither suggested any need for genuine concern.
Things changed a bit last weekend at Elland Road, as Chelsea were trounced by Leeds United, who struck twice in the first half, added a third midway through the second, limited Chelsea to just three shots on target (despite 60% possession) en route to a 3-0 win. Despite the significant acquisitions Chelsea have made this offseason – namely Raheem Sterling, Kalidou Koulibaly and Marc Cucurella – in light of the disastrous result, combined with injuries to Mateo Kovačić and midfield anchor N’Golo Kanté, and he absence of Marcos Alonso (who’s presumably on his way to Barcelona), the club are hustling to add yet more reinforcements to the squad.
After missing out on ex-Leeds winger Raphinha (who chose Barcelona), Chelsea’s attention has shifted to forward Anthony Gordon, for whom Everton are reportedly demanding at least £60 million, AC Milan’s 23-year-old Portuguese forward Rafael Leao, the Barça duo of Frenkie de Jong (seemingly less likely than before) and ex-Premier League Golden Boot winner, Pierre Emerick Aubameyang (seemingly imminent), and Leicester defender Wesley Fofana.
While Chelsea will certainly be disappointed with just four points and a five-point deficit between them and top-of-the-table Arsenal after three season-opening matches, the Blues still sit 12th in the table, with more than enough talent on hand (and presumably more to come) to reinsert themselves into the title race. Leicester, meanwhile, can harbor no such illusions. This is a side in the throes of a disaster.
Through their first three matches, the Foxes have tallied a single point – from a Matchday 1 draw at home against Brentford, in which they squandered a 2-0 lead. They’ve since been hammered by Arsenal in a manner in which the 4-2 score line doesn’t fully reflect and, taking a 1-0 lead at home thanks to a James Maddison goal early in the second half, conceded twice in the final 22 minutes to fall 2-1 to Southampton.
Brendan Rodgers’ side has conceded is the most goals in the Premier League (8) thus far, and are sitting on a -3 goal difference that’s the worst among the league’s three one-point teams (Everton and Wolves are each -2), and are only separated from the foot of the table by point-less, goalless West Ham United.
As a result, Rodgers is now the bookies’ favorite to be the first manager sacked this season.
Chelsea vs Leicester City: Squawka Says
On the bright side for the Foxes, Chelsea have actually won just twice in their last seven home Premier League dating back to last season, and have conceded an average of two goals per game in that stretch. Also, Chelsea have only defeated Leicester once (in November 2021, in Leicester) in the sides’ last five meetings in the league, and last six in all competitions, as Leicester also defeated Chelsea 1-0 in the FA Cup Final at Wembley in May 2021.
Conversely, Chelsea is, quite emphatically, not an opponent that Brendan Rodgers equates with success as a senior coach. In 20 meetings with the Blues, Rodgers-led sides have managed nine draws, nine defeats and just two victories – neither of which came at Stamford Bridge.
Looking ahead here, despite the best efforts of Rogers and his Leicester squad (which should yield a goal against a less-than-assured Chelsea defense), the likeliest outcome here is a confirmation of Chelsea superior quality, spearheaded by an opening goal by Raheem Sterling.
May 19, 2022: Chelsea 1-1 Leicester City – Premier League
November 20, 2021: Leicester City 0-3 Chelsea – Premier League
May 18, 2021: Chelsea 2-1 Leicester City – Premier League
May 15, 2021: Chelsea 0-1 Leicester City – FA Cup
January 19, 2021: Leicester City 2-0 Chelsea – Premier League