Leicester City vs Chelsea preview: How to watch, kick off time, team news, predicted lineups and ones to watch
(Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Thomas Tuchel's Blues head to Leicester City this weekend as two sides with differing starts to the season go up against one another in the Premier League at the King Power Stadium.

It's the first game back after an international break hiatus - the final one of 2021, to many fans' relief - but it also signals the start of the infamously hectic Christmas fixture period, through until the New Year.

Brendan Rodgers will hope that the break his side has had over the past two weeks will allow them to reset after what has been a subpar first eleven games, based on the standards they've set themselves over the past couple of years.

A goal difference of -2 doesn't paint the best picture however, and one thing that will definitely need to improve is the somewhat leaky defence which has plagued their performances thus far.

Meanwhile, the visitors Chelsea have the best goal difference in the league, with an impressive +23 amassed both due to high-scoring play going forwards and a stalwart defence which has only conceded four all season.

That said, they did have a slight slip-up at home to Burnley a fortnight ago, letting in their first open-play goal of the league campaign, so don't count on them keeping a clean sheet quite as easily.

Team News

Leicester City

Prior to the game, Brendan Rodgers said: 'We obviously had the issue with Youri [Tielemans] before he left, so that puts him out for a few weeks. Marc [Albrighton] has been back in training [...] JJ [James Justin] is looking really, really good in training but it's probably just a little too early for him.'

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It's not an entirely clean bill of health at the King Power but it's not a million miles away from it either, with the absences totalling four - Youri Tielemans' injury being perhaps the most significant.

Also out will be Marc Albrighton, James Justin and, having undergone surgery recently, Wesley Fofana is continuing to recover, with his progress said to be going well.

Chelsea

Meanwhile, Tuchel told the press: 'I can tell you Mateo [Kovacic] and Romelu [Lukaku] are out for the game in Leicester. Timo [Werner] is in team training since yesterday [...] let's see. We can only decide after his second training later.'

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There's been a mini-injury crisis in West London recently, but that looks to be coming to an end now, with Romelu Lukaku and Mateo Kovacic the only two that are definitely out for the game.

Mason Mount and Timo Werner both appear to be back in contention, though perhaps not for a full 90 minutes, and Thiago Silva and Christian Pulisic may need to be assessed after returning from their international duties.

Predicted Lineups

Leicester City (3-4-1-2):

Schmeichel; Amartey, Evans, Soyuncu; Pereira, Tielemans, Soumare, Thomas; Maddison; Iheanacho, Vardy

Chelsea (3-4-3):

Mendy; Christensen, Azpiliceuta, Rudiger; James, Kante, Jorginho, Chilwell; Mount, Havertz, Pulisic

Form Guide

Leicester head into this fixture 12th in the Premier League table - a position which, while not disastrous by any means, is certainly not where they seem as though they belong after their successive 5th place finishes in the last two seasons.

They drew their previous game away at Leeds United, losing to Arsenal in their last domestic game prior to that, though they have also had Europa League fixtures to contend with, in which they currently sit in 3rd, behind Legia Warsaw and Napoli.

Chelsea

As for the away side, they come into this fixture leading the English top flight by three points, ahead of the likes of title rivals Manchester City and Liverpool, which will delight Blues' fans.

While they did drop points against Sean Dyche's Burnley last time out, they remain unbeaten since September in all competitions, a record they will seek to keep intact on the road in the early kick off.

Ones To Watch

Jamie Vardy

If you were to pick one player who you could be most sure would bring some entertainment to whatever game he was involved in, regardless of the competition or the opponent, it is highly likely that Jamie Vardy would be near the top of the list of contenders.

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Now 34 years old, he is showing no signs of slowing down whatsoever, and maintains his infamously cheeky digs at rivals whenever celebrating against them (see the wolf cry against Wolverhampton Wanderers earlier this season).

He's already notched seven goals in the league this season, though has blanked for the last three fixtures - not that he will lose any confidence from that statistic -  so it will be interesting to see how he gets on against a usually solid Chelsea back line.

Reece James

Speaking of the Chelsea defence, the player to watch from their side is none other than England international who has made the right wing-back position his own since the German boss arrived in London back in January.

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Not only has he been part of the best defence in the league, but he has also been contributing to the attack too, impressively enough being the joint-top scorer in all competitions alongside Lukaku and Kai Havertz.

It's not only a goal threat that he provides either, as the 21-year-old has directly set up four goals via an assist, contributing to many more via his pinpoint crosses which he regularly fires into the box every game - something Leicester will need to look out for.

Previous Five Meetings

Despite what their current league position may suggest regarding recent meetings, these two sides have been neck and neck when it comes to the most recent matchups, with them each winning two and drawing another.

That stalemate came back in February 2020, at the venue for this upcoming game, with Leicester playing hosts to a Chelsea side that still had Frank Lampard at the helm.

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He watched on as his side, and more specifically Antonio Rüdiger, twice pegged the Foxes back, first after going 1-0 down and then 2-1 behind, eventually finishing the match with a point each and 2-2 draw.

A few months alter, in the strange post-lockdown period of football, it was an FA Cup tie on the table, again with Chelsea the visitors, at the quarter final stage of the cup.

The Blues won the game 1-0 courtesy of a smart Ross Barkley finish, but would go on to lose at Wembley Stadium in the final to London rivals Arsenal just over a month later.

In early 2021, Rodgers effectively delivered the final blow in a series of brutal blows against Lampard's leadership as head coach, with him going on to be sacked less than a week after a torrid Tuesday night in the Midlands.

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The Foxes came out 2-0 winners, but that doesn't reflect on the dominance of the performance, and more significantly the ineptitude of Chelsea's, as there defensive problems were laid out for all to see.

Perhaps the most important of the last five games came just a few months ago, again in the FA Cup but this time in the final - and it was an historic day for Leicester as they won the competition for the first time ever.

A Tielemans wonderstrike secured the win despite a nail-biting finish in which Tuchel's team thought they'd snatched a last-minute winner before being denied by VAR, leading to Leicester lifting the trophy.

Finally, just three days after that Wembley showdown, a league meeting was in the offing, this time at Stamford Bridge, in what was another high-stakes game, though it was in the context of the top four positions.

In what could be considered mini-revenge, Chelsea won the game 2-1, with fans also allowed back in for Premier League games for the first time in months during the 90 minutes. 

How To Watch

For those watching from the UK, this will be broadcast on BT Sport, with coverage getting underway from an hour before kick off.

The match itself is scheduled to begin at 12:30pm GMT, and for viewers around the world, it should be being shown on regular Premier League TV sports channels.

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