The 4:30pm kick-off in the Premier League on Sunday is Chelsea v Leicester, which will be Frank Lampard‘s first match in charge at home since he was appointed head coach.
The Chelsea legend is bound to get a rapturous reception.
Chelsea are looking to bounce back from a 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Man Utd last weekend, which was a baptism of fire into the managerial big-time for ‘Super Frank’.
The match is previewed here by Will Reilly.
After a bright start against Man Utd last week, Chelsea were ultimately on the receiving end of a 4-0 score. It doesn’t matter that they controlled chunks of the game because, as the song goes, ‘It ain’t where you start it’s where you finish’. Chelsea finished with their tail between their legs. They needed to bounce back quickly and that came with a very good performance against Liverpool in Wednesday’s UEFA Super Cup, losing out on penalties following a 2-2 draw after extra-time had been played.
Their performance in Istanbul was hugely encouraging, although Chelsea will now be keen to register their first win of the campaign.
Looking back and the fall-out with defender David Luiz, who moved to Arsenal on the deadline day in the transfer window, was curious. He clearly had a strong disagreement with Lampard, otherwise why would a player walk away from a club where he had only recently achieved good success, one he clearly loved, and, tellingly, from Champions League football? It doesn’t make sense.
When these things happen, you need to get results. As such, his replacement in defence, Kurt Zouma, came up short against United and the decision to show such faith in the very promising 20-year-old Mason Mount didn’t entirely pay off.
It is, however, early days in Chelsea’s transitional phase and talk of Lampard being under pressure is premature. Importantly, the Leicester game affords his team a chance to prove the doubters wrong.
As for Leicester, they were hit by the transfer of Harry Maguire to Man Utd in the build-up to the season starting, as they were by the departures of key players N’Golo Kanté and Riyad Mahrez in recent years.
In Brendan Rodgers, though, they have a canny coach, one that will look to stifle Chelsea, exploit the weaknesses they revealed at Old Trafford and be effective on the counter-attack. Key players in this respect will be playmaker James Maddison and strikers Jamie Vardy and Ayoze Pérez. How Chelsea cope with them will be important.
For all that Chelsea looked bright and were unlucky not to score at least two goals against Man Utd last Sunday, they ended up being on the wrong end of a 4-0 score-line. Ouch. They need to bounce back and, as mentioned earlier, will be greatly encouraged by their performance in the UEFA Super Cup on Wednesday.
The Foxes began their league campaign last week with a 0-0 home draw with Wolves. I feel that Wolves are going to have a good season so that result may not look so bad in a few weeks and, after all, Wolves, who were possibly unlucky not to win a match of few clear-cut chances, would have been fitter owing to their Europa League involvement.
For Leicester, Jamie Vardy is surely still going to be their main hope of goals this season, although Ayoze Pérez will also provide an attacking threat.
Willian and Antonio Rüdiger were not fit enough to start in the Super Cup on Wednesday but are not far away from first-team involvement. Kanté looked out of sorts against United when he came on as a sub but had a fine game against Liverpool. Tiémoué Bakayoko looks out of favour with the new boss and could well be loaned to Monaco. Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi are both recovering from Achilles injuries.
Chelsea’s team selection will depend in part, of course, on how well players have recovered from their UEFA Super Cup exertions.
Demarai Gray is fit, as he was for the Wolves game, and it’s just a question of whether Rodgers selects him. In fact, Brendan Rodgers has a full squad to pick from aside from Filip Benković (foot/ankle).
It is early in the season but this is a match that Chelsea certainly can’t afford to lose and really ought to win. The atmosphere at Stamford Bridge will be electric as Frank Lampard takes charge for his first home game of the season. Anything other than a confidence-restoring win is unthinkable.
I’ll go for Chelsea to win 3-1, with Olivier Giroud nominated as first scorer – although many press reports suggest that Tammy Abraham will start. For someone who is not generally recognised as a regular scorer, Giroud’s recent record counters that as he has scored 9 goals in his last 11 starts for Chelsea and 3 in his last 4 starts for France.
Chelsea to win – 8/11
Chelsea to win 3-1 – 12/1
Olivier Giroud first scorer – 9/2
CHELSEA v LEICESTER is a DOUBLE THE ODDS ON FIRST GOALSCORER BETS match with BAR ONE RACING