Written by Alex
Chelsea face the reigning champions of England at home on Saturday in the early kickoff. Chelsea are likely to have John Terry back, while Kurt Zouma isn’t fully fit yet. Chelsea come fresh from an away win at Hull last Saturday, while in their most recent match, Leicester drew 0-0 at home to a Southampton side that is responding to their doubters on the pitch with a good run of recent performances and results.
Chelsea Preview – My Line Up
As for the formation, I have kept with the 3-4-2-1 that Conte played last time out at Hull. The only changes are Terry in for Moses with Azpilicueta shifting to Right Back, and Fabregas in for Matic. The system is a slight variation formation of the 3-5-2 which Conte has almost made his own formation. On paper, it sounds quite defensive but the Wing Backs push very far forward as they have 4 defensive players behind them including N’Golo Kante. Marcos Alonso is almost the ideal wing back as the Spaniard has experience playing left midfield and Azpillicueta I imagine should suit this role just fine.
Although not being in the good books of most Blues fans, including myself, Courtois is still our best No.1. Cahill, Terry and David Luiz are the best three centre-backs at the club as Kurt Zouma is still injured. Once he returns, I would play him over Gary Cahill. Azpilicueta is a natural Right Back and Ivanovic is not the player he once was, so playing Azpilicueta and Alonso as wing backs is a no-brainer.
Fabregas next to Kante is also a no-brainer in my opinion. One of the many reasons for Leicester’s incredible season last year was the midfield partnership between Kante and Drinkwater. Fabregas being a similar player to Danny Drinkwater, is the main reason I would be starting him over the defensive minded, Nemanja Matic. Very often last season for Leicester, Kante would win the ball back which he has an incredible reputation for, and immediately play the simple short pass to Drinkwater who would use his incredible long-range passing, to play in the speedster up front in Jamie Vardy. That combination would come into effect last season away at Sunderland when Vardy latched onto a perfectly weighted long pass from Drinkwater, which Vardy made no mistake in slotting it past the keeper to secure Champions League Football for Leicester.
Although I am not a fan whatsoever of Hazard’s work ethic, he is still incredibly talented and deserves to be in the team. He has the pace and dribbling ability of Willian, and the technical ability of Oscar. Although I have chosen Willian as my other attacking midfielder, a strong case could be made for Oscar. I’ve chosen Willian as the role he would be playing would involve drifting wide, and playing like a winger. Willian’s pace on the wings will be a key asset to Chelsea given Marc Albrighton and Christian Fuchs aren’t the quickest of wide players. If Willian doesn’t feature given the recent passing of his mother, I would have Victor Moses starting ahead of Oscar as Moses is a similar player to Willian as for this role, I think the faster and the more agile winger is necessary.
Diego Costa has silenced his critics from last season with some fine performances. Costa, who In my opinion was quite ordinary in the first three games of the season, has been in brilliant form since. His pace, strength and finishing combination is almost unrivalled for a Centre Forward in the Premier League. The only real argument for Batshuayi to start is the fact that Costa is on four yellow cards and one more would see him miss the crucial clash against Man United the following week.
credit Peter Woodentop
What Leicester have to offer
Leicester will very likely play on the counter attack, with Fuchs, Mahrez and Drinkwater all brilliant passers of the ball. One of Leicester’s threats from these killer passes will be the pace of Vardy and/or Musa if Ranieri decides on either of those two which is very likely. Both have lightning pace as they have shown on numerous occasions over the past season. Another major threat of Leicester’s will be the height of record singing Islam Slimani. Slimani has scored three goals since his deadline day arrival. The Algerian is brilliant in the air, and all three of his goals have come from his head so far. Gary Cahill and John Terry are both brilliant headers of the ball so I’m not too worried about either of those two, but if he manages to get in an aerial duel with David Luiz, I would be seriously worried.
Preferred and predicted 11’s
My preferred 11: Courtois, Luiz, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta, Kante, Fabregas, Alonso, Willian, Hazard, Costa (3-4-2-1)
Predicted Leicester 11: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan, Huth, Fuchs, Mahrez, Drinkwater, Amartey, Albrighton, Slimani, Vardy (4-4-2)
Come on Chelsea!
Chelsea fans, what is the sides best formation to play with at the moment? Who will be key for the game? Let us know in the comments below!
featured image by Ben Sutherland