Chelsea have their first home game of the season against Leicester on Saturday, their second consecutive game against a promoted team so far.
The Blues have got their season off to a great start with a 3-1 win over Burnley, which included a debut goal for Diego Costa and a man of the match performance from fellow debutant Cesc Fabregas. Despite falling behind early on, the Blues turned it around and managed to go top of the fledging Premier League table.
They’ll be hoping for a repeat performance in the game against Leicester, as they look to continue their perfect start to the season. They’ll certainly be hoping that this game will be better than their last Premier League home game, a dour 0-0 draw with Norwich which saw the Blues’ slim title chances dashed.
Those kinds of games cost Chelsea the title last season, so it’s good practice for them to open up against teams who will “park the bus”. Mourinho said they’ve been working on breaking down defences in training, and that showed in Andre Schurrle’s goal at Burnley, a great passing move that carved the Clarets open. There were a few defensive mistakes from the Foxes in the Everton game, something that Fabregas and co could well take advantage of.
Leicester will come in to this game on a high from their opening day draw with the Toffees, and they’ll be geared up to compete here. That defeat by Sunderland at Stamford Bridge last season means teams will come to Chelsea believing they can win, and the Blues will have to work hard to restore their aura of invincibility.
Mourinho should have a fully fit squad to choose from, with Ramires now back from suspension and ready to play. He may not get that chance, however, with Nemanja Matic, Fabregas and Oscar operating in a nice midfield three at Turf Moor. Thibaut Courtois is set to make his home league debut after getting the nod over Petr Cech last time out, making an impressive save and looking solid in goal.
The rest of the team is unlikely to be changed, although Filipe Luis, who was benched against Burnley because he wasn’t up to match fitness, could force his way in to the team if he is now ready. It’s widely considered to be Schurrle against Willian to join Eden Hazard and Oscar in the attacking midfield positions, and the World Cup winner should have done enough in the opener to keep his place.
The Blues face a tough game here with Leicester coming south with confidence and very little to lose. It will be interesting to see how they approach the game, and they’ll be looking to Fabregas to cut through the defence again. After spending half of the season last year making chances and missing them, then switching to a more defensive set up, we’re not quite sure what Mourinho is expecting from his men this campaign.
One thing he will be looking for is more interplay between Fabregas and Hazard. The Belgian was quiet on Monday night, and is prone to having ineffective games. Chelsea need more from him this year, and him at his best alongside Fabregas is an incredible prospect.
LCN Verdict: Chelsea to win 2-0