Defending Champions Chelsea head to the King Power Stadium, where they will face Craig Shakespeare’s Leicester City in the first of their seven games this month.
Chelsea, after a shock defeat at the hands of Burnley in their first game of the season at Stamford Bridge, bounced back and won two back-to-back games against Tottenham Hotspur away and Everton at home, quashing rumours of dressing room unrest and managerial trouble.
Leicester on the other hand, have had a mixed start to the season. A 4-3 loss to Arsenal was followed by back-to-back victories against Brighton and Sheffield Wednesday after which they lost to Manchester United at Old Trafford before the international break.
Craig Shakespeare will be without the services of Robert Huth and summer signing Vicente Iborra. Huth, despite recovering from his ankle injury, isn’t match fit while Iborra is still recovering from his groin injury. Shakespeare will however, will be boosted by the return of captain Wes Morgan.
The Foxes used a 4-2-3-1 formation against United last week and will likely stick to that same formation this time around given their available personnel and the attacking quality in the Chelsea ranks. They could however, switch to a 4-4-2 with Kelechi Iheanacho upfront alongside Jamie Vardy.
The Foxes are expected to lineup in the same formation, comprising of the same personnel that lost to Manchester United in their previous League fixture. Ndidi and James will be tasked with keeping Kante and Fabregas at bay, while Morgan and Maguire are sure to have their hands full with Alvaro Morata.
Predicted Starting XI: Kasper Schmeichel; Danny Simpson, Wes Morgan, Harry Maguire, Christian Fuchs; Matty James, Onyinye Ndidi; Riyad Mahrez, Shinji Okazaki, Marc Albrighton; Jamie Vardy
Antonio Conte will have a fully fit squad at his disposal, ready for selection. Eden Hazard has recovered from his injury and played for his national side during the break and it remains to be seen whether Antonio Conte chooses to use the Belgian from the very beginning.
Conte will however, be without the services of Captain Gary Cahill, who will be serving the last of his 3 match suspensions. Antonio Rudiger will likely take his place in the left side of their back three, but Andreas Christensen also in contention for a starting spot.
While Chelsea’s newest summer signings Davide Zappacosta and Danny Drinkwater are also available, it is unlikely they will be thrown into the starting XI. However, they will likely be handed their Chelsea debuts at some point over the course of the match.
Conte could still try to use a 3-5-2 formation and we may see the Blues experiment with it in the later stages of the game now that Bakayoko and Hazard have returned to full fitness, but he will likely start with the same 3-4-3 formation as their last game against Everton.
Predicted Starting XI: Thibaut Courtois; Cesar Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Rudiger; Victor Moses, Cesc Fabregas, N’golo Kante, Marcos Alonso; Willian, Alvaro Morata, Pedro
More Breaking News:
Antonio Conte believes Davide Zappacosta will quickly show Chelsea fans his quality because he possesses the right mentality to adapt to life in England.
Chelsea signed Zappacosta from Torino on transfer deadline day, with the 25-year-old’s arrival giving Conte extra back-up for the wing-back position normally occupied by Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso.
Conte knows Zappacosta well – having handed the Italian his first international cap during his time managing the Azzurri.
And Conte is confident the defender will repay his faith in his abilities despite having the pressure of playing for the Premier League champions.
Speaking to reporters at Cobham on Friday, Conte said: “Davide is a good player, a young player and, for this reason, he has a lot of space to improve.
“He makes good runs during the game, has good quality. He’s a wing-back and usually prefers to play on the right, but can play on the left. He is ready. You’ll see, very soon, his performance.
“For Davide it’s a great chance. He arrives in a great club. It’s important to go into this club with the right mentality. It’s not easy to play for a great club, above all when, previously, you didn’t play (for one).
“But don’t forget Torino are a good team with a great history, in the past. I know that, also, in Turin there is good pressure. But to play in another country, another type of football, it’s not easy for him.
“But he has the right characteristics to adapt very soon.”
Conte added: “Davide Zappacosta played the game against Israel with the national team and showed he’s in good physical condition. He worked with me in the national team. He knows very well which is my style of football, which is my idea.
“For this reason, it’s more simple for him to adapt himself to our style of football.”