… As Man City, Arsenal, Tottenham seek to consolidate
BY PAUL EREWUBA
It would be another weekend of exciting football in the English Premier League (EPL) after last week’s World Cup qualifiers, with English teams going for each others’ jugular for the maximum three points at stake.
Current table toppers, Manchester City will face rejuvenated Everton, while Tottenham Hotspur who have not lost any match so far will be away to West Brom in a winner takes all encounter.
Arsenal will be home to Swansea, while the Stamford Bridge would quake again as Antonio Conte’s Chelsea confront ‘wonded’ reigning champions, Leicester City.
Chelsea’s game today against Leicester would no doubt be a kind of test for their Premier League title aspirations, because Leicester City, who have just eight points to show for their efforts after seven matches, would literally want to bring down Stamford Bridge to ensure they go home with the three points.
So, having been unable to win the title during his four seasons as Chelsea boss, Claudio Ranieri will return to the west London as a champion to show that Leicester’s incredible 2015/16 triumph as outsiders is not a fluke.
But, this remains to be seen in today’s epic encounter, as the Foxes have indeed, been disappointing so far.
First, they made a disappointing start – including a thrilling 4-2 EFL Cup defeat against Chelsea.
And with just eight points from seven league matches, which contrasts with their excellent Champions League form, Ranieri’s men will have to push up their game to be able to defeat Chelsea.
Indeed, Chelsea are confident that captain John Terry is on course to return from an ankle injury for today’s match.
Terry hasn’t played for Chelsea since he suffered ligament damage against Swansea a month ago, and may slot into Conte’s new-look 3-4-3 formation that helped to secure a 2-0 win at Swansea.
N’Golo Kante is set to face his former team after completing a £32million summer move from King Power Stadium to west London and is likely to line up alongside Nemanja Matic in midfield, while Diego Costa will want to keep his impressive goalscoring run going against the champions.
The odds are less on Chelsea because they do not have Champions League or Europa League to worry about.
However, they must look after their defence, as they are already five points off league leaders, Manchester City, and this leaves today’s encounter a very key match for both Ranieri’s Leicester and Antonio Conte’s Blues.