September 8, 2017

Leicester v. Chelsea Preview  (Sky Sports)

Danny Drinkwater and N'Golo KanteChelsea are set to call on Eden Hazard for the first time this season when they travel to Leicester, but Danny Drinkwater may have to settle for a watching brief against his former club.

Hazard returned from international duty unscathed having played both games for Belgium but while he is set to feature on Saturday, Antonio Conte admitted Drinkwater - a Deadline Day signing - may have to wait for his debut.

"We are working with him, we are trying to make him in the best physical condition," Conte said. "He's working well this week, he's improved his physical condition. He's in the squad but I don't know when he'll be ready to play."

Leicester's Marc Albrighton has warned his former team-mate there will be no room for any sentiment, should he make a swift return to action at the King Power Stadium.

"It will be strange for us, but it'll be stranger for him," Albrighton told Sky Sports News. "To play in front of the fans that he played for, for so many years, but once the whistle goes, it's business as usual.

"He might get stick for 90 minutes, but barring that I'm sure the Leicester fans will be fantastic with him!"

Team news

Leicester could include new signing Aleksandar Dragovic in their squad, following the completion of the 26-year-old defender's season-long loan from Bayer Leverkusen on Deadline Day.

But Adrien Silva - a player the Foxes thought they had signed in a £22m deal from Sporting Lisbon - can not yet even train with Craig Shakespeare's side after FIFA rejected his registration.

The paperwork is thought to have missed the deadline by just 14 seconds but while the parties work to try and find a resolution, Silva will have to watch from the stands.

Nampalys Mendy has departed along with Drinkwater and though Robert Huth (ankle) and Vicente Iborra (groin) are both back in training after injury, Saturday's match is set to come too soon.

With Hazard back in the ranks, Conte has a healthy squad at his disposal as he seeks to build on a 2-0 win over Everton before the international break.

New signing David Zappacosta trained for the first time with his new team-mates and could be involved.

Opta stats

Chelsea have won five of their last six away matches against the Foxes (L1), scoring at least three goals in all of those victories, including two last season (4-2 in the League Cup, 3-0 in the Premier League).

The Foxes have only kept one home Premier League clean sheet against Chelsea in 11 matches against them, with Pegguy Arphexad the goalkeeper to do so in February 1998.

Chelsea haven't won away from home in the month of September in any of the last four Premier League seasons (W0 D4 L3). Last season they drew 2-2 at Swansea before losing 0-3 at Arsenal in September 2016.

However, Antonio Conte's side have won 13 of their last 17 Premier League away games (W13 D2 L2) and have only failed to score in two of these trips.

Since August 2016, Leicester City have lost 10 of their 14 Premier League matches against 2016-17's top six sides and picked up only eight points out of a possible 42 (W2 D2 L10).

Danny Drinkwater has made more tackles in the Premier League than any other English player (190) since the start of the 2015-16 season.

Cesc Fabregas has been involved in six goals in four starts against Leicester for Chelsea in all competitions, scoring three and assisting three - against no side has he been involved in more goals for Chelsea.

Alvaro Morata has scored two goals and assisted two more in his three Premier League appearances so far. The players with the most goal involvements within their first four PL apps for Chelsea are Diego Costa (7), Cesc Fabregas (6) and Eden Hazard (5).

Jamie Vardy has scored 10 goals in 16 Premier League appearances since Craig Shakespeare first took charge of a Leicester City game on February 27th. In this period, only Harry Kane (12) and Romelu Lukaku (11) have more Premier League goals.

Merson's prediction

This is another good game. Leicester have started well this season. They had chances at Old Trafford, especially at 0-0 but their play in the final third was poor.

This will be a very good test for Chelsea. Antonio Conte's side did really well at the King Power last season, picking up a 3-0 win. That will stand them in good stead and I expect them to pick up all three points again, but it won't be as comprehensive a scoreline.

PAUL PREDICTS: 1-2 (15/2 with Sky Bet)

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