Chelsea - Leicester City Preview: Former champions set to welcome newly-crowned league winners

Emotions will be running high Sunday as Claudio Ranieri makes his return to Stamford Bridge with the new Premier League Champions.

Chelsea - Leicester City Preview: Former champions set to welcome newly-crowned league winners
Source: VAVEL UK

Back in August, many fans and pundits tipped the last game of the season between Chelsea and Leicester to be a stage set for the Blues to lift their second consecutive Premier League title.

Fast forward ten months later and it is a stage for a champion, but not Chelsea. The unlikeliest story in sports will culminate in last season’s champions, Chelsea, giving a guard of honour for this season’s winners, Leicester.

Just two weeks after Chelsea’s draw against Tottenham handed Leicester the title, the two sides will meet at Stamford Bridge to close out one of the most unbelievable campaigns in recent memory.

Team news

Chelsea - The Blues have a few injury concerns going into the last game of the campaign, with Willian and Branislav Ivanovic facing a race to get fit in time. Thibaut Courtois looks to have recovered from his illness and will likely return between the sticks for Chelsea.

Captain John Terry will miss out on a potential farewell at Stamford Bridge due to a red card. The Chelsea legend has been offered a new one year deal but will take his time to make the decision.

Loic Remy and Diego Costa are set to miss out on the penultimate match of the season with groin and hamstring injuries.

Projected XI: Courtois; Azpilicueta, Cahill, Ivanovic, Baba Rahman; Fabregas, Matic; Hazard, Loftus-Cheek, Pedro; Traore.

Leicester City - The most unthinkable champions get their guard of honour from Chelsea on Sunday, something that should delight Claudio Ranieri. The Italian’s name will almost certainly be sung by both sets of supporters in a joyous atmosphere.

The champions have no injury concerns and will welcome back Danny Drinkwater from his suspension. Former Chelsea man Robert Huth will unfortunately miss out on a meeting with his old side as he completes a ban of his own.

Projected XI: Schmeichel; Simpson, Morgan, Wasilewski, Fuchs; Drinkwater, Kante, King; Mahrez, Vardy, Albrighton.

Hazard wheels away after his fine solo goal against Liverpool in midweek. (Source: Rex Features)
Hazard wheels away after his fine solo goal against Liverpool in midweek. (Source: Rex Features)

Background

Leciester beat Chelsea during their title charge earlier this season, winning 2-1 thanks to goal from Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez. The match proved to be Jose Mourinho’s last game as Chelsea manager.

The Blues have lost to Leicester at Stamford Bridge, just once in their last 24 meetings.

Claudio Ranieri makes his first return to Stamford Bridge as a manager since leaving Chelsea in 2004.

Players to watch

Chelsea - Eden Hazard: The Belgian is back to his best, but it’s too little too late for this season. Hazard has four goals in his last four games and has been terrorizing defences for fun, including Liverpool’s in midweek to score a superb solo effort. Hazard will look to test the champions on Sunday and carry this form over to next season.

Leicester City - Jamie Vardy: The Englishman has had a fantastic season and could end the campaign as the Premier League’s top scorer. He’s just a goal behind Tottenham’s Harry Kane and could be in for a busy day with a shortage of available centre-backs at Chelsea. Vardy scored against the Blues once this season and he may be a good bet to do it again.