After surviving an early scare in their Premier League opener to a newly promoted club, Chelsea will try for a more controlled start in their home opener against another newcomer this afternoon (Saturday) at 3pm. Kickoff time is 3pm Nigerian time.
The Blues came from behind to beat Burnley 3-1 on Monday evening, and welcome Leicester City to Stamford Bridge today for the clubs’ first top-flight meeting in over a decade.
Two Chelsea off-season arrivals made an instant impact in Monday’s victory at Burnley to help the club to a comfortable result after an early scare.
Diego Costa leveled the scores in the 17th minute after the ball rebounded to him off the post, while Cesc Fabregas marked his return to the Premier League in creative fashion with a wonderful assist for Andre Schurrle in the 21st minute and another set-up for Branislav Ivanovic in the 34th.
“We have a lot of work to do, we can play better,” Schurrle told the club’s official website. “We played well but there’s always room for improvement.
“(The new signings) all played very well. Diego scored his first goal which was very important for him. We saw with Cesc he always wants the ball. He likes to produce passes, like he did for me with the goal.”
The Blues fell behind in the 14th minute when Scott Arfield’s vicious strike left goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois picking the ball out of the back of the net in the opening minutes of his English football career.
“When you play against a team who have come up from a lower division, they are used to winning games,” Courtois said. “With the home crowd, they put the pressure on and scored early but we had a good reaction and scored three goals.”
Chelsea (1-0-0) have won their last 11 Premier League home openers, but they’ll remember their last matches at the Bridge in the spring as a bit more trying. The Blues suffered Jose Mourinho’s only home league defeat in either of his two managing stints with the club in a 2-1 loss to Sunderland on April 19 before closing the home campaign with a scoreless draw against relegated Norwich City on May 4.
Success has been easier to come by against the Foxes with six straight victories across all competitions. Though the clubs last met in league play back in 2004, the Blues defeated Leicester 5-2 in a 2012 FA Cup quarterfinal at Stamford Bridge behind Fernando Torres’ brace.
Leicester (0-1-0) – the Championship’s best away club last season with 47 points in 23 matches and a 13-game unbeaten streak to end the campaign – opened with a promising 2-2 home draw with Everton on Saturday. Substitute Chris Wood scored in the 86th minute to earn the Foxes a point against a top-five 2013-14 club in their first Premier League match since 2004.
Nigel Pearson’s side also came from behind in the 22nd minute thanks to summer-signing Leonardo Ulloa’s goal, which came just two minutes after Everton opened the scoring.
“He has shown a lot of qualities,” Pearson told the club’s official website of the former Brighton striker. “His strength and work rate may surprise a few people today. He is a real team player. Our players have very quickly recognised his strengths.
“When you become a club’s record signing there is an added pressure which goes with that. He has handled that very well.”
The Foxes might not be able to bank on a late equalizer at the Bridge. Chelsea’s defence conceded 11 home goals in 2013-14, which matched Arsenal for the lowest total in the league.
Source: ScoreMobile FC