A defiant 10-man Chelsea overcame the odds and defeated Leicester at Stamford Bridge back in the opening month of the Premier League season, but both teams have found wins hard to come by in 2023. We preview the game between Leicester City and Chelsea and reveal the pre-match Opta prediction.
The Quick Hits
- The Opta supercomputer gives Leicester City the edge in this match (36.2%) just ahead of Graham Potter’s Chelsea (35.1%).
- Chelsea are winless in their last 10 competitive away games – their worst run since January 2001.
- James Maddison the key for Leicester, with more goals, assists and chances created than any other player at the club in 2022-23.
Chelsea will be riding high following their impressive midweek UCL win against a Borussia Dortmund side that had started the year with 10 successive wins in all competitions. Their 2-0 victory on Tuesday night turned the tie around and saw them progress to the Champions League quarter-finals.
With their eyes now set on achieving their first Premier League double over Leicester since the 2016-17 campaign, the Foxes will undoubtedly be looking to improve upon their disappointing record against the Blues, having won only once in their last six home games against them (D2 L3).
Chelsea have only lost two of their last 10 away Premier League games against Leicester (W6 D2), but crucially both defeats saw the final games in charge for managers José Mourinho (2-1 in December 2015) and Frank Lampard (2-0 in January 2021). With Graham Potter already under some pressure following poor results in 2023 so far, a defeat here might extend that record. But Potter will be buoyed by the fact that he’s already secured a Premier League win over the Foxes in 2022-23, having won 5-2 against them in September with former club Brighton and Hove Albion.
In the other dugout, Brendan Rodgers will be hoping for more joy against Chelsea than in previous encounters. Having won just one of 16 previous Premier League meetings with the London club, his 6%-win ratio versus them is his lowest against any opponent in the competition.
Chelsea 2-1 Leicester: 27 August 2022 (Premier League)
Chelsea secured their first home win of the 2022-23 season with this 2-1 victory over Leicester at Stamford Bridge in August. Thomas Tuchel led them to victory after a shambolic 3-0 away defeat to Leeds United a week earlier.
It wasn’t looking great for the Blues when midfielder Conor Gallagher was sent off after only 28 minutes, but a brace for Raheem Sterling – his first for the club – saw Chelsea pick up all three points. A 66th-minute consolation from Harvey Barnes set up a nervy finish to the game, but Leicester were unable to take anything home at full-time.
Gallagher’s red card saw Chelsea have players dismissed in successive Premier League games for the first time in eight years, while it was the earliest that a Blues player had been dismissed in a Premier League game since the opening day of the 2017-18 season, when Gary Cahill was sent off versus Burnley.
This result meant that Leicester were still without a win four games into the Premier League season (D1 L3) and came only four days after a lucky escape in the EFL Cup at League Two club Stockport County, where they progressed following a penalty shootout. Leicester went on to stretch this winless run to eight Premier League games, before finally picking up their first win versus Nottingham Forest in October.
Leicester City come into this match on a four-game losing streak in all competitions, having suffered losses to Man Utd, Arsenal and Southampton in the league, as well as an FA Cup defeat at home to Championship club Blackburn Rovers. They haven’t lost five competitive games in succession since December 2014 under Nigel Pearson (six in a row).
Chelsea have won their last two competitive matches without conceding a goal, defeat Leeds United 1-0 in the Premier League last weekend before Tuesday night’s excellent 2-0 victory over Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League. They are looking to win three successive matches in all competitions for the first time since October, when Graham Potter started his reign at the club with five wins in a row.
Something will have to give in this game. With 24 goals scored and 25 goals conceded, Chelsea’s Premier League games have seen fewer goals than any other side this season (49). Meanwhile, only Man City’s (91), Arsenal’s (84) and Tottenham’s (82) games have seen more goals than Leicester’s (79 – F36 A43).
Leicester are slipping closer to the relegation zone, and last weekend’s defeat to Southampton won’t have eased worries of the drop. They have lost 15 Premier League games this season, behind only Southampton (16) in 2022-23, and their most in a single campaign since 2018-19 (16). Foxes boss Brendan Rodgers has never suffered more league defeats in a season in his managerial career (also 15 with Swansea in 2011-12).
Getting a shot on target would be a good start. The Foxes have failed to have a shot on target in their last two Premier League games, since James Maddison’s 90th minute effort against Manchester United. Since game-by-game Opta shot data is available (2003-04), no team has ever failed to land a shot on target in three consecutive Premier League games before.
It’s not all doom and gloom for Leicester ahead of this clash though, as goals have not been plentiful for Chelsea – they have won just four of 16 away games (D5 L7) and scored just 14 goals in this run. Comparatively, back between February and April of 2022, Chelsea achieved the same number of goals (16) in just four away games.
In fact, Chelsea haven’t been this poor away from home in over 20 years. They are without a win in their last 10 away games in all competitions (D3 L7), their longest winless streak on their travels since going 17 without a victory between April 2000 and January 2001. The Blues have scored just four goals in this 10-match period, their fewest over a run of 10 away games since August to December 1993 (also four).
Players to Watch
Leicester City: James Maddison
One man seems to be the key for Leicester this season and in the upcoming fixture, James Maddison. He has scored more goals (nine), provided more assists (five) and created more chances (42) than any other Leicester player in the Premier League this season. He’s one of only two players to lead all three categories for a club this season, along with Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah.
Maddison has been involved in four goals in eight Premier League appearances against Chelsea (two goals, two assists), scoring in his last appearance against them in May 2022 in a 1-1 draw.
He’ll be looking to move the Foxes further from the clutches of relegation as they sit just two points higher than Sean Dyche’s Everton, who currently sit in 18th place.
Chelsea: Raheem Sterling
Having scored a brace in the previous meeting between Chelsea and Leicester City in 2022-23, the Foxes will be fully aware of the threat that Raheem Sterling poses this weekend.
Of course, Brendan Rodgers knows Sterling well, having managed him at Liverpool across three seasons, where the England forward had a hand in 32 goals in 92 Premier League appearances (18 goals, 14 assists) as a youngster.
There’s little doubt that Sterling will be disappointed with how things have gone at Chelsea since his arrival from Man City in the summer, but a midweek goal in the win against Dortmund might be the kickstart needed. Overall, Sterling has been involved in just six goals in 19 appearances (four goals, two assists) this season, but four goals in his last two Premier League games against Leicester is a good base to build upon.
Across 831 Premier League minutes on the pitch under Potter, Sterling’s managed just two goal involvements. Under every manager he’s played under in the Premier League, this is the worst minutes per goal involvement average (416) – a fact that both Potter and Sterling will be looking to improve between now and the end of the season.
Leicester vs Chelsea Prediction
Somewhat surprisingly, Leicester City are being tipped to win this game against Chelsea on Saturday by the Opta supercomputer.
The Foxes are being given a very slight edge over their opponents, with their 36.2% chance of victory only 1.1% higher than Chelsea’s. In reality, this might make the draw a more likely outcome, with the two sides so hard to split.
Leicester City (0.88) have averaged a lower Premier League points-per-game average than Chelsea (1.00) so far in 2023, but just three of Chelsea’s 10 points have come away from home this year (W0 D3 L2).
Chelsea’s poor form away from home in recent months could be the main reason for the supercomputer’s doubts about their ability to win this game on Saturday, with Graham Potter hoping to win his first away game as Blues manager since 25 October in the UCL against RB Salzburg (2-1), thanks to goals from Kai Havertz and Mateo Kovacic.