Graham Potter leads his Chelsea team to the King Power Stadium on Saturday to take on a Leicester City team that is lacking confidence after just recording the biggest victory of his Chelsea tenure thus far.
In the Champions League round of 16, Chelsea defeated Borussia Dortmund 2-1 overall midweek, while Brendan Rodgers’ team lost to Southampton 1-0 the previous time out.
On the other hand, Leicester was stifled by the Saints at St. Mary’s, failing to convert 65% possession into anything significant as they crashed to another humiliating loss at a venue where they memorably defeated Southampton by nine only three and a half years prior.
The only goal of the game came from Carlos Alcaraz in the 35th minute, handing the Foxes their fourth straight loss, including three straight losses in the Premier League amid their most recent demoralizing run of form.
In addition to seeing his team miss the goal or even the target, Rodgers heard chants from the crowd asking for his dismissal as Leicester remained in 15th place in the Premier League standings, only two points above the relegation zone and another ten off the pace for a top-half slot.
Few people would criticize Leicester for losing to Arsenal and Manchester United, but losing to Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup and then squandering several opportunities against Southampton is concerning. The Foxes may potentially set a Premier League record by going three games without having a shot on goal.
The future of Graham Potter’s position as Blues manager has also been a heated subject in the Premier League, but the Englishman has undoubtedly won over some of the club’s angry supporters by orchestrating a well-earned victory against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League.
The ball appeared destined not to cross the goal line at Stamford Bridge, an all-too-familiar sight for Blues supporters, but Raheem Sterling’s goal and a retaken Kai Havertz penalty allowed Chelsea to overturn a 1-0 deficit from the first leg and advance to the quarterfinals.
After last week’s top-flight victory against Leeds United, Potter is currently enjoying the success of back-to-back victories and may be beginning to justify the board’s decision to retain him. Nonetheless, Wesley Fofana’s game-winning header against the Whites had little impact on Chelsea’s position in the Premier League standings, which is 10th.
Going for success in the Champions League is undoubtedly the Blues’ best route back into European competition next year, and their away fortunes still make for totally terrible reading. The Blues have an 11-point deficit to close with fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur, who have played one more game.
Chelsea’s Premier League form: D D D L L W
Leicester’s Premier League form: D W W L L L
WHEN & WHERE?
Where: King Power Stadium, Leicester.
When: Saturday, 11th March 2023.
Time: 8:30 PM IST / 3:00 PM GMT
Referee: Andre Marriner.
Assistants: Simon Long, Natalie Aspinall.
Fourth official: Jarred Gillett.
VAR: Graham Scott.
Assistant VAR: Timothy Wood.
Harvey Barnes’ injury, which required him to be substituted at halftime due to a twisted ankle, added to Leicester’s agony at Southampton. Despite this, it is not believed that Barnes had any significant injuries, and he might return before the international break.
Barnes’ game on Saturday is anticipated to be too soon, as will be the same for James Justin, Youri Tielemans, and Victor Kristiansen, while Ryan Bertrand and Jonny Evans continue to be questionable as they increase their individual levels of fitness.
Although Rodgers has jumped to the Nigerian’s defense and should continue to have trust in him from the opening whistle in this game, Kelechi Iheanacho was guilty of blowing multiple opportunities against Southampton.
Similarly, Thiago Silva, Armando Broja, and Edouard Mendy are three confirmed absentees for Chelsea, while N’Golo Kante may not be selected to face his former team since Potter advises prudence over his fitness.
Wwing to a suspension, Mason Mount was unable to participate in the victory over Dortmund. He will also need to be evaluated because he missed the previous weekend’s game against Leeds owing to an abdominal problem. Cesar Azpilicueta could be given a little more time to heal from the horrifying head injury he suffered against Southampton.
Marc Cucurella’s return from the sidelines by Potter in midweek was deserved, but Benoit Badiashile, who was ineligible for that match along with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, will anticipate a swift comeback to the backline tonight.
Players to watch
Chelsea: Kai Havertz
After the previous two outcomes, Chelsea could be making progress. And a huge part of it may be attributed to a player who, despite having a fairly forgettable season, may be regaining his touch. We’re referring to Kai Havertz, whose late penalty gave Chelsea the victory.
Real Madrid has recently started to take notice of the German international. As a result, he will believe he must be doing something right despite his frequently criticized flaws. And Havertz will want to deliver the goods for Chelsea by concentrating on the positives. And as the Blues work to turn their fortunes around, he will stay focused on the task at hand.
Leicester City: James Maddison
The midfielder is an important player for Leicester, who have had trouble scoring goals this season, with 9 goals and 5 assists to his credit. Maddison will undoubtedly be largely depended upon to provide the required offensive momentum when they take on Chelsea, given the team’s struggles in creating and finishing chances.
Chelsea’s predicted starting lineup: Kepa; Badiashile, Koulibaly, Fofana; Chalobah, Kovacic, Fernandez, Chilwell; Sterling, Havertz, Felix.
Leicester’s predicted starting lineup: Ward; Pereira, Souttar, Faes, Castagne; Tete, Ndidi, Dewsbury-Hall, Maddison; Daka, Iheanacho.